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ICE Strategy Sessions: Systems-thinking: re-envisioning infrastructure as a platform for human flourishing?

  • Watch online
  • 12 May 2020
  • 12:00 - 13:30
ICE Strategy Sessions: Systems-thinking: re-envisioning infrastructure as a platform for human flourishing?

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This event is the latest in the ICE Strategy Session series. It will advocate a people-focussed, system-based view of infrastructure providing a platform for human flourishing.

With the ongoing digital transformation of the infrastructure industry, civil engineers have the opportunity of delivering huge benefit for the ultimate customers – the people for whom infrastructure exists – and £7bn/year to the UK economy alone. There is an opportunity to address not just the transformation of the way we deliver new assets, but also the way we operate, maintain and use existing assets to deliver better outcomes for the end-users.

In this event Infrastructure Client Group Digital Transformation Task Group chair Mark Enzer will set out the vision, describing how bringing digital and physical assets together creates cyber-physical systems – smart infrastructure. v

Enzer will set out how making better use of asset and system data is central to this vision because better decisions, based on better analysis of better data, lead to better outcomes. As part of this, we must recognise digital assets, such as data, information, algorithms and digital twins, as genuine ‘assets’, which entails valuing and managing them effectively.

Complex interconnected systems require a competent tool set to help manage them. Digital twins have been used successfully in the manufacturing industry for this purpose and they promise to release similar value in infrastructure. Likewise, the UK’s National Digital Twin, envisaged as an ecosystem of connected digital twins, has the potential not just to mirror, but also to help manage the system of systems that is our national infrastructure.

The City of Helsinki is already advanced on this journey. It has a stated intention of being a leading digitalisation city in the world and has made digital twin models of the Kalasatama area, where the City offers high-quality 3D models as open data to all operators and collaboration partners. The City’s wish is that these city model platforms would further the diverse product development, research, education and innovation activities in the field and contribute to increasing the understanding of the great potential of digitalisation in city development.

In this event we will hear from project manager Jarmo Suomisto who believes that if similar figures to the 10% cost savings found in other industry sectors through use of digital twins can be exploited by urban developers, then cities could be built for 250 million people “for free” using the savings.

We will then hear from Sensat founder James Dean who will describe how intelligent use of data is being used to massively streamline project delivery for Highways England and even assist with investment prioritisation by identifying accident blackspots.

Finally, Michele Furlan, Machine Learning Engineer at Qualis Flow, will explore the power of AI and encourage delegates to consider where smart use of data can unleash the creative power of civil engineers.


Mark Enzer

Mark Enzer

Chair of Digital Transformation Task Group; Head of National Digital Twin Programme; CTO

Mark is a keen champion of innovation in the context of collaborative delivery models and he is particularly interested in transformational change in the infrastructure industry.

As Mott MacDonald’s Chief Technical Officer, he is accountable to the Executive Board for technical excellence across the Group. As the Chair of CDBB’s Digital Framework Task Group, Mark is contributing to the leadership of the National Digital Twin Programme.

Mark was the Digital Transformation workstream lead on “Project 13” for the Infrastructure Client Group, which represents the UK’s major infrastructure client organisations and he was the Lead Author of the Infrastructure Carbon Review, published by HM Treasury.

James Dean

James Dean


James is a technology entrepreneur fascinated by the way the world works. He founded SenSat to enable the greatest step change since the internet; the digitisation of the physical world. SenSat allows computers to interact with the real world in their own language, making important information accessible to everyone.

James received a BSc from King’s College London in Geography and a minor in Astrophysics from The University of California, Irvine. His speciality lies in Satellite Sensing and Earth monitoring where he worked with NASA’s LandSAT and MODIS satellites.

Jarmo Suomisto

Jarmo Suomisto

Project Manager

Jarmo is manager of the Helsinki 3D+ project, responsible of creating, maintaining and developing new 3D-spatial data infrastructure and new generation city models to Helsinki. Jarmo has over 20 year experience of working with and producing 3D-models.

With a background in architectural planning, city planning and CAD/GIS production management he sees great potential of new city model platforms in developing applications both to Helsinki´s own services and also as open data to third parties.

Michele Furlan

Michele Furlan

Machine Learning Engineer

Michele is the lead Machine Learning Engineer at Qflow, where he leverages Artificial Intelligence to model and reduce the socioenvironmental impacts of construction projects. After working as a neuroscientist for more than a decade, he decided to move out of academia in order to tackle real world problems. He is fascinated by emerging technologies and their innovative power when applied to the construction industry.

Michele received a degree in Psychology and a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience. During his academic career he built up a solid expertise in mathematical modelling, statistical methods and Machine Learning.

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