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Digital technology is a vital enabler

Digital technology is a vital enabler

Author: Simon Ellison, Highways Sector Director and SSL Integration Director

For most of the last two centuries, the solution to infrastructure reaching capacity or becoming life expired was to build more of it: more roads, more railway lines, more water treatment works and power stations. But in recent decades it has become clear that we can’t always build our way out of our most complex challenges.

There will always be the need for large nationally significant infrastructure projects, like Crossrail, High Speed 2 and the Thames Tideway Tunnel. But these are the exceptions; what society demands from us now is to get more efficiency out of our existing assets.

Increasingly our customers are asking us to provide more intelligent infrastructure solutions that will enable them to deliver smarter and more efficient services – whether they are in energy, water or transportation. They want to understand exactly how their existing assets are operating, how those assets can be used more efficiently, and how they can maximise capacity.

The best way to achieve this is by integrating engineering and programme management skills with digital technology capabilities. Until now, Costain has been able to offer an end-to-end service on the engineering side. But with the acquisition earlier this month of digital technology company Simulation Systems Limited (SSL), we have now added the technology side.

As a result of the acquisition, we can now offer comprehensive technology services that include advice and design, software applications, hardware solutions and complex integration services, together with full installation and aftercare support. But, importantly, we have 150 years of civil engineering knowledge and experience to support technology implementation.

The acquisition is a massive milestone for Costain in terms of growing our technology capability and accelerating the transformation to being a fully integrated end-to-end engineering and technology solution provider.

"Electronics design and technology integration have never been more important to our industry in terms of providing better value and enhanced customer service."

Digital technology is a vital enabler to meeting the rapidly changing demands of our customers. They want to be able to make informed decisions based on accurate data that tells them how their assets are being used. And they need a range of digital tools in order to use those assets in the smartest way they can – from something as simple as smart metering in the water or energy sectors to entire stretches of smart motorway and integrated journey planning systems.

Some of these digital technologies are already familiar, but in order for customers to get the most benefit from them, we need innovative, new ways of thinking. By combining end-to-end technology and engineering capabilities, we are in a better position to innovate and to challenge conventional thinking.


To discuss any aspect of this blog email Simon Ellison today.