2017 IAI Summit Discusses the State of Data Sharing and 3D Modeling
SAN ANTONIO, TX San Antonio, Texas, set the scene for this year's Infrastructure Advancement Institute (IAI) Summit. 2017 marked the beginning of a two-year residency in San Antonio, one that was originally scheduled for the end of August. However, the arrival of Hurricane Harvey forced a last-minute, two-month postponement. Despite the shuffle, this year's IAI Summit saw a significant increase in attendance. That goes for attendees and presenters alike. Three tracks over the course of two days provided talking points across a variety of topics. The three tracks included (1) Bridge Focus; (2) Construction Focus; and (3) General Infrastructure issues.
Day 1 kicked off with a keynote address from James Bass, the Executive Director of TxDOT. His keynote set the stage for the presentations and panel discussions that followed, which included more than 20 speakers - all before lunch.
All three tracks later consolidated into a wide-ranging discussion of Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC). The discussion kicked off with three presentations to showcase our collective experience and capabilities. The ABC session then switched gears and featured an interactive expert panel, and this is one of the key draws of IAI. The panel included representatives from J.D. Abrams; Michael Baker; Williams Brothers; Bexar Concrete Works; King Fabrication; and TxDOT. IAI challenges itself to be a "change agent," and collecting such a diverse panel is certainly a step in that direction.
Day 1 came to a roaring close as attendees gathered for dinner, drinks, and gambling - for charity. Organizers scheduled time for networking every 90 minutes. The conference App even facilitated a friendly contest by tracking who met the most people. The same app allowed audience members to submit questions and vote for others electronically during the presentations and panel sessions.
The Summit continued strong through its second and final day. One panel discussion, in particular, showcased the spirit of IAI. The panel was to discuss the state of data sharing and 3D modeling. What might have been a fairly technical discussion did start out that way. But the panel discussion slowly expanded throughout the room, as the microphone was passed around for more and more questions. An hour passed, and the room had identified some poignant concerns: Will 3D modeling create a disadvantage for smaller contractors? How secure are the networks over which all of this information is beginning to be shared? By the end of the "panel" session, the room was having some very useful conversations.
Next year's IAI Summit will once again be held at the OMNI Colonnade in San Antonio, Aug. 13-14, 2018. For more information, visit: www.USAIAI.com.