Technological advancements are adding to the capabilities of asset management performance, with the digital representation of physical assets taking a central role in reducing maintenance and operating costs, an expert from Bentley Systems told Construction Week.

According to the US software firm, owners and operators in asset-centric industries, such as real estate must look at maximising the performance of existing stock and extending its life through digitisation.

Advances in technology, such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), have a key role to the play in this regard.

IIoT uses embedded sensors to monitor the performance of infrastructure assets in real time, which in turn provides the big data that sophisticated machine learning algorithms and operational analytics can turn into recommendations for proactive and predictive maintenance.

These “connected assets” promise to significantly increase efficiency, which can in turn keep costs low, Brian Robins, vice president of product and industry marketing at Bentley Systems, said.

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Robins added: “Investing in data collection and building the models is essential, as is having the operational analytics to support accurate decision-making.”

With this in the mind, Robins outlined five things that “every executive and board should know” about asset maintenance through technology.

Firstly, Robins explained, owners and operators working with engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) firms on new projects should establish the central importance of the digital asset and the ownership, governance, and responsibilities in relation to the development.

He also advised firms to start collecting asset information from the outset – “the earlier the better”, Robins said.

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A continuous flow of information from the early stages of design through construction and handover into operations and maintenance will ensure asset life-cycle information is correct.

Moreover, Robins urged the digitisation of project information for better life-cycle management.

“The connected data environment enables going digital by helping to ensure that project information can seamlessly move from the construction phase into operations,” he continued, adding it is also important for firms to design with reliability in mind by involving engineers early on during the project's development.