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PRESS RELEASE: Global Infrastructure Hub Launches Global Contest to Unlock Digital Solutions for Infrastructure

  • InfraChallenge is seeking digital ideas from around the world to accelerate disruption in the traditional infrastructure industry
  • Winner receives exposure to the G20, support from MIT Solve, and AUD$50,000 to bring the idea to life
  • Applicants will respond to the global need for sustainable and better infrastructure with digital-driven ideas and help close the US$15 trillion global infrastructure investment gap

Sydney, 25 November 2019—The Global Infrastructure Hub (GI Hub), a G20 initiative, has launched the first international competition designed to disrupt the infrastructure industry through new digitally-driven solutions.

InfraChallenge invites applicants from around the world and across sectors to pitch big ideas that will drive digital transformation in a sector that has not been widely disrupted by digitisation. The competition is calling for digital innovations that can be applied to solve economic or social infrastructure issues and build momentum towards better infrastructure - such as how cities can embrace smart technology solutions to improve quality of life, managing environmental risks with Artificial Intelligence and the potential for digitisation to improve electricity networks.

Marie Lam-Frendo, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Infrastructure Hub said: “With global megatrends like urbanisation, population growth, the impacts of climate change and digitisation, the time is ripe for infrastructure to be disrupted. Infrastructure is a critical component of economic and social growth and plays a vital role in the quality of life across the world.

“We’re excited to announce this global competition that will create real and scalable solutions and drive change for the infrastructure industry. We’re looking for teams to apply who are experiencing issues, perhaps in their community, and who think they have a digital-driven idea that can solve them. Whether it’s how 5G or the Internet of Things will fundamentally change how we live in our cities, or the greater availability of data and big data analytics for informed decision making, InfraChallenge is about unlocking digital ideas, solving big infrastructure issues, and bringing disruption to the industry to better prepare us for the future.”

Entries are now open and will close on 24 February 2020, with a winner chosen in June 2020. The winning entry team will receive support from InfraChallenge partners MIT Solve, an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to scale their digital solution. The winner will also receive exposure to the G20’s Infrastructure Working Group, ongoing support from the GI Hub and partners, and funding to the value of AUD$50,000 to develop their solution to the next stage.

Matthew Minor, Director, International Programs at MIT Solve said: “As rapid urbanisation continues to move our world’s population towards cities, it is vital that we create new and sustainable ways to build and grow.”

“At Solve, we find global tech entrepreneurs who are addressing some of the world’s most intractable problems, and support them by brokering partnerships across our community, with the aim of scaling their work and driving transformational change. We are excited to bring our expertise in sustainability and Solve’s open innovation platform and methodology to the InfraChallenge – and to work with the Global Infrastructure Hub to identify innovative solutions and disruptive technologies that will help shape the future of urban infrastructure.”

The InfraChallenge has clear potential to address Australia’s own infrastructure challenges. According to the GI Hub’s Global Infrastructure Outlook, Australia has an estimated infrastructure investment need of US$1.7 trillion in the years to 2040, with the electricity and road sectors accounting for just over half of the projected investment need.

Infrastructure Australia’s Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019 also made the case for digital solutions, recently finding that freight transport delivery times could be reduced by 40 percent with autonomous vehicles, while also finding that without action, road and public transport congestion could double to nearly AUD$40 billion by 2031. Infrastructure Australia also found that better functioning cities and towns could deliver a AUD$29 billion increase in GDP in the long term.

The competition is open to all sectors anywhere and teams with a digital solution are invited to apply through the InfraChallenge website.

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