Why it’s time for IT to notice the $114B spent on Canada’s infrastructure projects

This year, the impressive collection of Canada’s top 100 infrastructure projects total an astounding $114 billion investment (18% more than last year!). Only five years ago, a list as impressive as this one would have gone unnoticed by companies in the IT industry. Our industry would have simply dismissed it as just concrete, big cranes and increased traffic congestion.

On their side, the companies involved in the largest projects would have not given IT much thought either. Traditionally, IT components in construction would have comprised as low as 0.25% (civil) to as high as 3% (commercial) of the total project budget – probably not more than $400 million of the $114 billion investment. IT would have been a rounding error, an afterthought.

Times have changed. IT is increasingly becoming required and even mission critical for the development of future infrastructure projects. The driving force will come from a need for connectivity; connected lighting controls and HVAC in buildings; transportation systems (e.g. automated toll systems); sensors; wireless devices in vehicles and on persons, and so forth. Everything is becoming connected and interdependent. The underlying networks will need to be built or updated to support the massive increase of traffic (bits and bytes) and activity (transactions).

Additionally, the required compute power for the “analytics” that help enable optimal performance of our infrastructure (utilization, economics, energy) is calling for data centres and the secure availability of the cloud.

Not long from now, I suspect that we will find IT as a significant component of some of the infrastructure projects in the top 100 as provinces, municipalities and businesses develop this mission critical infrastructure. IT will be more than a rounding error and will become, like concrete, the foundation for a smart and connected world.

About Rick Huijbregts

As Vice President, Smart Connected Communities, Rick Huijbregts leads the development of Cisco Canada’s Smart Connected Communities practice including Smart Connected Real Estate. Huijbregts is responsible for accelerating the growth of this industry in Canada. Huijbregts holds a bachelor’s degree in construction management from the Tilburg Polytechnical University in the Netherlands, a master’s degree in real estate development and project management from Delft University in the Netherlands, and a doctorate from Harvard University with a specialization in real estate technology and investment management. En tant que vice-président, Communautés Smart+Connected, Rick Huijbregts est chargé de l’expansion de Communautés Smart+Connected de Cisco Canada, y compris de Smart+Connected Real Estate. À ce titre, il lui incombe de stimuler la croissance de cette industrie au Canada. M. Huijbregts détient un baccalauréat en gestion de construction de l´université polytechnique de Tilburg, aux Pays-Bas, une maîtrise en aménagement immobilier et en gestion de projet de l´université de Delft, aux Pays-Bas, ainsi qu´un doctorat de l´université Harvard avec spécialisation en technologie immobilière et en gestion de placements.
This entry was posted in Canada Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s