AI webinar report: Changing the world one project at a time

A special Infrastructure Intelligence and BST Global online event has highlighted how AI and big data is transforming the architecture, engineering and consultancy industry. Rob O’Connor reports.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data are the emerging technologies reshaping just about every industry today. And, according to Hank Tran, director of knowledge management at BST Global, it’s a question of when and not if that AI-powered digital transformation in the construction and infrastructure sector takes place.

Speaking with Infrastructure Intelligence editor Andy Walker at a special online event on Friday 19 November, Tran led a wide-ranging conversation about how AI and big data will transform the architecture, engineering and consultancy industry – with machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) at the forefront of that change.

“30 years ago only big companies used AI,” said Tran. “Since then, technology has come a long way. It’s a lot more affordable and, as of today, AI and big data is changing the face of industries across the world.”

Machine learning is the scientific study of algorithms and statistical models that computer systems use to perform a specific task, relying on patterns and inference. ML is subset of artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. AI can make decisions on your behalf.

BST Global designs, develops and deploys both ML and AI in project-based enterprise resource planning solutions for architecture, engineering and consultancy firms all around the world. In a comprehensive presentation, Tran outlined how both AI and ML are empowering the world’s leading data-driven consultancies, including helping to identify global innovation trends, smarter ways of working, simulating human intelligence, deductive reasoning, prescriptive analytics and project intelligence.

“The combination of AI capabilities fuelled by a big data solution can unlock efficiencies and predictive capabilities that will help you better manage your project,” Tran said. Emphasising that big data and data architecture needs to be “unified, secure and smart”, Tran described how empowering AI and ML can help predict outcomes to alter project success, pinpoint anomalies - which can be early warnings to adverse revenue conditions - and receive recommendations on alternative paths due to changing business conditions.

“Intelligent machine learning analyses historical data sets to predict future project outcomes, allowing project managers to pivot and change course as needed to significantly improve their overall project portfolio performance,” said Tran. “This also helps with project bidding, project planning and setup, project execution, resource planning and management, portfolio management and project billing and collections.”

Asked about being able to address issues and change outcomes as projects progress, Tran said: “The operative word is outcome. It has to be about outcome and performance from day one. In terms of outcome, it can be flexible and adjustable as you gauge performance and be realistic about the project,” he said.

But, is AI worthwhile for small projects and firms, or is it best for bigger projects and companies?

“It depends on your business, but by and large AI doesn’t differentiate between small and large business,” Tran explained. “If you have enough data, you can make it work. Start small but be very outcome driven from day one. Build your model and measure and test your data, building trust from the start.

“Use AI to build and work on projects in a more environmentally aware and cost-effective manner. Changing the world one project at a time. AI is here to stay. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when,” Tran said.

Infrastructure Intelligence editor Andy Walker said: “There’s no doubt that AI and big data will change the way the construction and infrastructure sector work in future. Of course, that future is here and now and it was tremendously helpful to hear Hank Tran’s views on how firms can take the practical steps to start the innovation journey in their organisations. I’m sure that we will be returning to this issue at future events and in our coverage in the weeks and months ahead.”

Click here to watch a recording of the webinar.

To request a personalised demonstration of BST10, please contact Coskun Tuzgol, BST Global regional director for UK and EMEA at

This online showcase event is brought to you in association with BST Global

If you would like to contact Andy Walker about this, or any other story, please email