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Technology Enhanced Infrastructure: A New Paradigm

Technology Enhanced Infrastructure or TEI will rule the world.

The concept of TEI focuses on the dynamics and interrelationship between Event Detection, Data Management, Analytics, and Asset Management as they relate to the lifecycle of any infrastructure asset. This interrelationship is depicted in Figure 1. In this context, “technology enhanced” refers, in part, to the deployment of digital devices into virtually every component and processes of an infrastructure asset, that in the past operated either without monitoring or depended on analog-based monitoring and maintenance.

Digital sensors can be embedded, attached, or positioned remote to an asset. Sensors not only monitor but, allow humans to control and manage the temperature, pressure, vibration, humidity, air quality and movement on an increasingly diverse array of physical objects and the processes to install, repair and replace them. In the event of a data or protocol anomaly, digital sensors will signal out electronically to alert occupants, owners, and operators of possible system intrusion or impending component failure. The potential value proposition to industry and society is incalculable at this time.

Sensors are becoming smaller, cheaper, with significantly lower energy requirements, while providing higher capabilities (e.g. local, instantaneous, automated decision-making) at the infrastructure edge. As a foundation to this new world of distributed intelligence, IoT-enabled microchip sensors are being embedded into factory robots, electric substation transformers, shipping port container movers, street lighting systems, commuter train speedometers, home appliances, HVAC systems, slabs of freshly poured concrete, radiant floors, thermal walls, pollutant free ceilings, and safety windows, each providing sensory data and visibility into virtually any distributed endpoint and infrastructure component imaginable. A panelist at the summit described IoT chips as “placing a whole PC motherboard onto intelligent, sensing devices.”

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