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Event Organiser: ICE

Digital Breakfast: Are we ready for digital acceleration? webinar

  • Webinar
  • 14 May 2020
  • 08:00 - 09:30
Digital Breakfast: Are we ready for digital acceleration? webinar

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The coronavirus emergency has put digital technology firmly at the forefront of the lives of civil engineers across the UK. But as we come to rely on digital connectivity during the crisis, questions are being asked about whether civil engineers are making the most of digital transformation.

Join this online panel discussion to explore the challenges and opportunities for civil engineers in keeping pace as the digital revolution accelerates. Has the industry fallen behind or embraced change? How should we be using data to work smarter and revolutionise the design and delivery of infrastructure? What impact will the coronavirus pandemic have on changing attitudes to digital technology in engineering? And how well-equipped are the civil engineers of today to meet the challenge?

This breakfast event is free to attend and questions to the panel are actively encouraged.

To join the event please click on the link that will be included in your booking confirmation email.

Discussion topics:

Paul Sheffield - Digital as the new normal

Civil engineers throughout history have been innovators and pioneers, but how will they push forward from this point in time? What impact will the COVID-19 pandemic have on the way we work? What skills will civil engineers need to adapt and capitalise on digital technologies? How is ICE supporting members to succeed as the digital revolution accelerates?

Dr Katharine Willis - Smart Cities

What does research tell us about benefits of Smart Cities? How important are civil engineers to delivering successful Smart Cities? What are the key technologies they will need to master to contribute to urban infrastructure design of the future? What might change on the path to Smart Cities following the coronavirus pandemic?

Irfan Soneji – Data is king

How can the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry use data to work “smarter”? What is the new language we need to familiarise ourselves with? What are the reasons for the slow uptake of digital technology in the AEC industry? And, what examples do we have of using data smarter?

Luke Bonnett - Digital technologies in aerospace

Aerospace is already embracing digital technologies to drive down design and manufacturing costs, but problems with competition, protection of Intellectual Property (IP) and ‘black-boxing’ of technology means the benefits of truly digital design could still be a generation away. What lessons should we learn from the aerospace industry? What have been the successes and failures? How can civil engineering leapfrog the challenges?

The discussion will be chaired by Christopher Ackland, a civil engineer with WSP in Bristol and ICE South West Chair’s Apprentice.


Paul Sheffield CBE BSc CEng FICE

ICE President

Paul Sheffield

Paul spent 31 years with Kier Group, including as CEO from 2010 to 2014. He later joined Laing O’Rourke to head their UK and Middle East construction business with close involvement in projects such as Thames Tideway Tunnels and Hinkley Point C. Paul is currently a non-executive Director of Southern Water Services and is on the Supervisory Board of the Dutch Construction Group BAM. He became ICE President in November 2019.

Dr Katharine Willis

Associate Professor (Reader), School of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Plymouth

Katharine Willis

An architect by training, Katharine’s research expertise includes smart cities and villages, digital technologies and the role of space and place. She is co-author of two key Routledge volumes on Smart Cities and has published over 50 publications in the field. Her research explores the application of technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Internet of Things (IoT), wearables and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for engagement and design of the built environment. She is programme lead for the new MA in Smart Urban Futures.

Irfan Soneji

Head of Digital Services, Buro Happold

Irfan Soneji

After extensive experience leading large-scale smart city projects globally, Irfan is currently leading Buro Happold’s digital services strategy. Working with organisations such as Accenture (Partner), British Telecom (Head of APAC) and as the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) for a middle east telecoms operator, Irfan is responsible for establishing Buro Happold’s footprint in the digital technology space. He’s also Digital Rep for the ICE South West Regional Committee.

Luke Bonnett

Aerospace Engineer, Frazer-Nash Consultancy Ltd

Luke Bonnett

Luke is an experienced aerospace engineer with a track record of delivering effective technology and services to the commercial and defence aerospace industries. His work has ranged from conducting explosives demolitions in Helmand Province to advising tech start-ups on how to take their Industry 4.0 technology into the aerospace mainstream. Luke is the Business Manager for Frazer-Nash Consultancy, responsible for the company’s support to aerospace manufacturers. He lives in Bristol with his family.

Christopher Ackland

Engineer, WSP

Christopher Ackland

Christopher joined WSP’s Water Specialisms team in 2016, following completion of a Civil and Coastal Engineering Degree. He has consultancy and site-based experience, having worked in rail and general civils sectors before graduating. Chris now helps to manage and deliver multidisciplinary Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) projects. Most notably, he was involved in permanently diverting part of the River Taw, an ICE South West Award-winning project. Chris actively promotes Early Career and Future Ready initiatives within WSP and externally and is one of two ICE South West Chair’s Apprentices.

Event venue

United Kingdom

For more information please contact:

Barbara Sweet

e: [email protected]