Stakeholder interview: Sofie Narinx, Associate Partner at IBM

SH Sofie Narinx

Sofie Narinx is Associate Partner at IBM in the Industrial Sector and Engineering, Construction and Operations Industry. She is an expert in digital transformation, design thinking, Internet of Things and cognitive solutions to enable business transformation.

‘The digital transformation will allow new business models’

What is the most important catalyst for further digitalisation in construction? 

‘The Internet of Things (IoT) and emerging technologies like Cognitive Computing (CC) will be the primary drivers of the digital transformation which the construction industry will undergo in the coming years, creating a self-learning environment which will drive digital disruption in the physical world. This digital transformation will allow new business models to emerge and enables changes in work processes, productivity improvements, cost containment and enhanced client experiences.

The exploding amount of IoT data requires a new approach to gather, analyze and make sense out of all that data. Cognitive IoT is such an approach. Programmable systems thrive on prescribed scenarios using predictable data and their rigidity can limit their usefulness when addressing the ambiguity and uncertainty of IoT data. Cognitive systems, however, are not explicitly programmed. Rather, they learn from interactions with people and from experiences with their environment. In doing so, they become able to keep pace with the complexity of the IoT, identifying data correlations that would otherwise go unnoticed.’

How do we ensure digitalisation will continue to be a theme – and what role does digitalisation and innovation play?  

‘The number of IoT devices in the built environment is rapidly increasing along with new requirements for flexible and sustainable operations. Cognitive buildings will be able to autonomously integrate IoT devices and learn system and user behaviour to optimise performance, thereby unleashing new levels of productivity, increasing environmental efficiency and sustainability, enabling new business models and improving end user well-being. 

The emerging challenge for organisations is how to take advantage of these new possibilities. I believe the IoT and cognitive platforms, with artificial intelligence and cognitive learning, will create the possibility to develop innovative new services for engaging with building users, radically reduce costs through automation and optimisation of operations and improve end user satisfaction from personalised, cognitive client service.’