SOUTHEAST ASIA CONSTRUCTION28 Nov 2019
GI Hub launches global contest for infrastructure digital solutions
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The Global Infrastructure Hub (GI Hub), a G20 initiative, has launched the first international competition designed to disrupt the infrastructure industry through new digitally-driven solutions.

InfraChallenge invites applicants from around the world and across sectors to pitch big ideas that will drive digital transformation in a sector that has not been widely disrupted by digitisation. The competition is calling for digital innovations that can be applied to solve economic or social infrastructure issues and build momentum towards better infrastructure - such as how cities can embrace smart technology solutions to improve quality of life, managing environmental risks with Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the potential for digitisation to improve electricity networks.

“With global megatrends like urbanisation, population growth, the impacts of climate change and digitisation, the time is ripe for infrastructure to be disrupted. Infrastructure is a critical component of economic and social growth and plays a vital role in the quality of life across the world,” said Marie Lam-Frendo, CEO of Global Infrastructure Hub.

“We’re excited to announce this global competition that will create real and scalable solutions and drive change for the infrastructure industry. We’re looking for teams to apply who are experiencing issues, perhaps in their community, and who think they have a digital-driven idea that can solve them.

“Whether it’s how 5G or the Internet of Things (IoT) will fundamentally change how we live in our cities, or the greater availability of data and big data analytics for informed decision making, InfraChallenge is about unlocking digital ideas, solving big infrastructure issues, and bringing disruption to the industry to better prepare us for the future.”

Entries are now open and will close on 24 February 2020, with a winner chosen in June 2020. The winning entry team will receive support from InfraChallenge partners MIT Solve, an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to scale their digital solution. The winner will also receive exposure to the G20’s Infrastructure Working Group, ongoing support from the GI Hub and partners, and funding to the value of A$50,000 to develop their solution to the next stage.

Matthew Minor, director of International Programmes at MIT Solve said, “As rapid urbanisation continues to move our world’s population towards cities, it is vital that we create new and sustainable ways to build and grow.

“At Solve, we find global tech entrepreneurs who are addressing some of the world’s most intractable problems, and support them by brokering partnerships across our community, with the aim of scaling their work and driving transformational change. We are excited to bring our expertise in sustainability and Solve’s open innovation platform and methodology to the InfraChallenge – and to work with the Global Infrastructure Hub to identify innovative solutions and disruptive technologies that will help shape the future of urban infrastructure.”

Transforming Asia

The InfraChallenge has clear potential to address infrastructure challenges in the region. The Asian market, driven by China’s growth, is slated to represent nearly 60% of global infrastructure spending by 2025. In Southeast Asia, growing urbanisation in emerging markets such as Philippines and Indonesia should boost spending for vital infrastructure sectors such as water, power, and transportation. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates that US$1.7 trillion is needed per year if the region is to maintain its growth momentum, eradicate poverty, and respond to climate change.

Singapore can play a big role in this transformation by harnessing Asia’s collective expertise and collaborations between the private and public sectors that will allow the region to overcome potential development hurdles and infrastructure needs. Infrastructure Asia, led by Enterprise Singapore and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), was launched in October 2018 to serve as a one-stop platform to facilitate regional infrastructure collaboration.

At the national level, on Singapore’s 2019 Budget, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat stressed that “we are not done building Singapore”, committing further spending on infrastructure developments focusing on public spaces, homes and connectivity, enabled by technology to future-proof the country.

The competition is open to all sectors anywhere - and teams with a digital solution are invited to apply through the InfraChallenge website: https://infrachallenge.gihub.org