/ Trends / May – June 2016 TRENDS

May – June 2016 TRENDS

Matt Ball on May 31, 2016 - in Trends

No Normal Is the New Normal

In KPMG’s annual Emerging Trends in Infrastructure report, all indications are for growing momentum in the infrastructure sector. The report points to new sources of capital, governments that are focused on the economic and social benefits of infrastructure investment and improved asset-management procedures that are providing a step change in the way owners and operators manage assets.

Although this development is positive, the report also points to political and regulatory uncertainty for infrastructure investors and the fact that “no normal” is the new normal. Among the drivers uncertainty are unpredictable election results, rising protectionist sentiments, disruptive technologies, and social and geopolitical upheaval.

KPMG suggests that investors will need to get comfortable with uncertainty as well as properly price for new and emerging risks. Read the full report online at bit.ly/24ZXPNk.

 

Drones for Infrastructure

The application of drones is creating new business and operating models in a diverse number of industries by offering high-quality data in a cost-effective manner or by providing turnkey solutions to answer operational questions. A new study by PwC pinpoints infrastructure as the leading commercial application for drone technology.

Drones have been effectively integrated into the ongoing supervision of infrastructure investments as well as the maintenance of existing infrastructure. The overall market for business services for drones is pegged at $127 billion, with infrastructure making up approximately $45 billion of that amount.

 

A recent study by PwC indicates that infrastructure is the leading commercial application of drones. CREDIT: 3D Robotics

A recent study by PwC indicates that infrastructure is the leading commercial application of drones. CREDIT: 3D Robotics

J.D. Power Releases Water Utility Satisfaction Survey

Global marketing information services company J.D. Power, best known for its automobile satisfaction and reliability studies, released an inaugural Water Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study. The report measures customer satisfaction at 84 water utilities in four geographic regions on factors of delivery, price, billing, conservation communications and customer service.

Poorly maintained infrastructure resulting in delivery interruptions and/or water-quality problems such as bad taste and smell impacted satisfaction the most. Of those surveyed, 9 percent experienced problems with water taste, 6 percent experienced smell issues and more than 34 percent experienced some sort of water-delivery or quality issue within the last six months.

Communication about infrastructure investments and conservation efforts was instrumental in customer satisfaction. When customers are aware of a utility’s efforts to improve or replace infrastructure, their satisfaction level is at 734 out of 1,000 vs. 650 when not aware.

The study found that California Water Service, Illinois American Water, Miami-Dade County and Monroe County Water Authority ranked highest. In all cases, infrastructure investment was key to satisfaction.

Learn more about the research and download the report at bit.ly/25bcokN.

 

The J.D. Power Index quantifies the impact that factors and attributes within them have on customer satisfaction.

The J.D. Power Index quantifies the impact that factors and attributes within them have on customer satisfaction.

Transformational Technologies in Transportation

The Transportation Research Board recently released a circular that details the current status of multiple transformational technologies in the transportation sector, focusing on connected and automated vehicles, unmanned aerial systems (UASs), the Internet of Things (including Smart Cities and concerns about cybersecurity), 3D printing and Big Data.

The combination of personal technology and connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) is thought to present the most-important advancement for transforming the U.S. ground-transportation system. This topic will have repercussions in private and public sectors as well as urban and rural geographies. CAVs also have relevance for all the aforementioned technologies, as they form the ecosystem that makes this sector interesting.

According to the report, “Disruptive start-up companies like Uber have excelled in providing consumer-oriented ride services accessed and paid for through personal devices. The success of these companies, along with other sharing models like car sharing and ride sharing, has led the long-established automakers to move into the world of mobility services. Recent examples from GM include a major investment in Lyft and launch of the car-sharing service Maven.”

CAV technologies are poised to consolidate data-driven ideas to make transportation safer, easier and more reliable. Access the Transportation Research Circular Number E-C208 at bit.ly/1W2YR9K.

 

Report Notes Benefits of Embedding Digital Technologies in Infrastructure

A new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) details the need to transform physical infrastructure into digital infrastructure to create the next wave of economic opportunities that will create jobs and improve quality of life.

The report outlines the many benefits the United States can derive from deploying robust digital infrastructure, including the following:

  • Expanded capacity—through increased use of existing and new infrastructure
  • Time savings and convenience—through reduced congestion, simplified operations and better decision-making capability
  • Cost savings—through waste reduction, increased efficiency and more flexibility in providing key services
  • Improved reliability—with greater predictability and fewer interruptions in key services
  • Enhanced safety—through improved resiliency to threats and interruptions.

The report, released to coincide with Infrastructure Week, recommends several governmental actions to overcome barriers and speed deployment, including digital-friendly regulation, an increase in funding for digital infrastructure and addressing cybersecurity concerns early so they don’t slow deployment. Read the full report at bit.ly/1WEupmg.

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