Disasters like the Minnesota bridge collapse, the 2003 Northeast Blackout and Hurricane Katrina, remind us of our dependence on—and the fragility of—physical infrastructure. Whether it is roads, power lines or water treatment plants, infrastructure is critical to modern society, and it is in trouble. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave U.S. public infrastructure a D+ based on its physical condition and needed investments for improvement. At the same time, traditional investors are running out of money, such as the federal Highway Trust Fund, which is expected to run out of funds by November 2015.

Things are tough for physical infrastructure, but with every challenge comes opportunity. We have to revisit our relationship with infrastructure, and think differently about it. It can’t just be about concrete and steel anymore; it is about new technologies, new models, and new investors. Transforming our approach toward infrastructure can help us better use and manage the infrastructure we have, and improve our decisions about future investments.

Discussions about smart grid are no longer enough to encompass all the needs of next-generation infrastructure, but the smart cities concept is too diluted to focus on the most expensive and vital pieces of modern communities and cities: physical infrastructure.

At Zpryme, we’re going to focus on the transformation of our most essential physical infrastructure—energy, water, transportation and communications. We will explore:

  • The roles of advanced technologies for infrastructure
  • New models for sustainable infrastructure investments
  • New investors driving change in infrastructure

This report lays out the basics of what we’ll be covering going forward, as well as key questions we’ll seek to address in our studies and discussions about physical infrastructure.

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