Digitisation inevitable with rise in Saudi infrastructure and megaprojects, says Trimble regional director
The digitisation of Saudi Arabia’s construction sector is “inevitable” in light of the kingdom’s ongoing major infrastructure and mega-city development plans, a senior figure from California-headquartered software firm Trimble's Middle East team has told Construction Week.
With more than “5,000 projects worth trillions of [Saudi] riyals in the pipeline, the opportunities for non-oil revenues are growing in the kingdom”, said Paul Wallett, regional area director at Trimble Solutions, Middle East and India.
“There are quite a few ambitious and remarkable projects like Neom, The Red Sea Project, Jeddah Tower, [and] Riyadh Metro, where Trimble definitely sees a great potential to further strengthen its traction in [Saudi Arabia],” he added.
With this projects in mind, alongside the kingdom’s major infrastructure plans, such as the Riyadh Metro megaproject, Wallett said "digitisation is inevitable”, adding that it is “being seen as an essential delivery method that simply has to be adopted”.
According to data from intelligence platform ProTenders earlier this year, of the total $470bn-odd worth of ongoing projects in Saudi, 45% of them – or $208bn (SAR780.2bn) – are infrastructure schemes.
The kingdom’s $500bn Neom megaproject, Qiddiya entertainment city, and the Red Sea Project are also indicative of its drive to diversify its oil-driven economy as the country positions itself as a commercial and tourism hub under its Saudi Vision 2030 plan.
“Our organization continues to thrive in the region,” said Wallett. “[The Saudi] government is most certainly adopting more and more 'disruptive' building technologies, such as [building information modelling, augemented reality, and virtual reality], 3D design and printing, data sharing and communication, and artificial intelligence, to spur construction and modernize its infrastructure, under the Vision 2030 agenda."
With local offices in Jeddah and the Saudi capital Riyadh, California-headquartered Trimble has been present in the kingdom for more than six years.
“There still are quite a few organizations who need to embrace and give-in to this technological revolution,” Wallett added. “We are quickly reaching a point where technology is going to be a critical component of all construction projects.”