As part of Gleeds’ sponsorship of the Britain is GREAT programme in Qatar, our very own James Garner was invited to deliver an enlightening workshop on the digitalisation of the construction industry earlier this month. Speaking to a diverse audience which included diplomats and even a Qatari princess, James gave an interactive presentation which delved into what the future holds for the built environment in terms of artificial intelligence, the metaverse, data trusts, blockchain, and quantum computing.

He says, “The run up to the trip was pretty hectic. The 17th ProjectHack event was taking place just a few days prior – this is a competition which sees data professionals team up to create innovative digital solutions to a challenge – so time to prepare was limited, but the atmosphere when I arrived in Doha was fantastic and I’m so pleased I was able to get out there and experience a little of it for myself. The Garden of GREAT was an impressive backdrop for the event and the audience that came along were brilliant – they really engaged with the topic and I think everyone took a lot away from it."

With attendees from such varied backgrounds, James opened by setting the scene and discussing why it’s so important that the industry reinvents itself as far as its use of technology goes. He gave the assembled crowd an introduction to some of the market’s big players and ran through some of the game changing solutions shaping the sector.

James says, “I’m so used to talking about the ways project data analytics can provide invaluable insights into performance across multiple schemes, how AI-powered solutions can transform construction by driving efficiencies, and how generative design and digital twins can optimise an organisation’s operation that I sometimes forget there are those who don’t live and breathe it! It was really refreshing to introduce concepts like the metaverse, blockchain, and Web3 to an audience who, in many instances, had never come across these terms before.”

Taking part in live polls throughout the presentation the crowd was drawn into the world of digitalisation and was suitably impressed by James’ insights into how the integration of this kind of tech has the potential to unlock innovative solutions that would have previously been impossible in the built environment. When asked how the event had left people feeling about construction’s digital revolution the response was overwhelmingly positive, with words like ‘optimistic’, ‘positive’, and ‘excited’ coming up time and time again.

“My intention was for everyone to leave the auditorium with a sense that, if the construction industry is willing to be bold, then the possibilities really are endless...I think I achieved that,” he says.

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Julian Barlow

Julian Barlow
PR Consultant