Brian Westcott, CEO
For years, bridge managers have dreamt of “smart bridges” – bridges that can tell them exactly what is needed to minimize risk, maximize mobility, and stay within budget. But expensive technology and expertise have made smart bridges an elusive dream. Until now. Intelligent Structures (IS) is hanging the game. “We make bridges talk – digitally,” explains Brian Westcott, CEO of Intelligent Structures. Taking an enterprise IT approach, IS’s innovative platform, IntelliStruct, is designed from the ground up to be both technically advanced and radically economical. With this decision support solution, bridge managers will know the detailed state of their bridges in real time and are able to prescribe precision maintenance, rather than teardown and rebuild. IS’s goal is to extend the useful life of bridges from 50 to over 100 years. This digital disruption for bridge management is essential to keeping smart cities moving.
A confluence of innovations and events has come to the rescue of aging bridges. IS has developed a bridge performance management platform based on Internet of Things (IoT) technology and enterprise cloud architecture: IntelliStruct TM. It gives bridge managers the power to precisely measure bridge performance and manage bridge life cycles to minimize risk and maximize mobility, all within limited budgets. IS expertly leverages technologies such as low-cost sensors, IoT, edge computing, wireless communication, mesh networks, big data analytics, and machine learning to enable “smart bridges”. Smart bridges offer the opportunity to drastically improve the real-time knowledge of the health of a bridge, and precisely manage the bridge for safety, efficiency, and longevity. Managers can prevent bridge restrictions and closures, and direct budgets for maximum impact.
Our bridge monitoring systems help with both real time data on structural behavior, as well as identifying trends and changes over time
This is imperative as our traffic loads increase, while our infrastructure deteriorates.
“Intelligent Structures combines advanced sensor technology with highly customizable edge computing and cloud-based enterprise software to deliver the critical information owners need to optimize the management of bridges,” says Doug Thomson, CTO, Intelligent Structures.
Intelligent Structures is on the forefront of delivering smart bridge solutions. Leveraging advanced information technology, IS’s bridge performance monitoring and decision support platform enables bridge managers make highly informed, fact-based decisions. With smart bridges, everyone benefits: safety and mobility for people and users, and economy for budgets. With IS, bridge owners have the ability to track key data on the performance of their bridges including a periodic digital signature (performance snapshot), component defect monitoring (for critical components), live load testing, and continuous monitoring. This gives owners the data to enable real-time management, as well as critical optimization of fleet planning and management over a 10-20 year horizon. Bridge owners see returns on implementation of IntelliStruct of over 50 percent IRR for individual bridges as well as application to strategic operations management of their entire fleet of bridges.
Looking to the future, IS is developing advanced analytics using the data collected to build a database of how different bridges perform. They will apply machine learning to this data to help all bridge designers and managers become more efficient. The industry must change. Bridges are failing, and there is not enough budget to keep up with the current bridge management processes. Innovation is required to do more with less. IS delivers the solution with IntelliStruct. With smart bridge technology, the life of bridges can be extended, and the lifetime cost of operating a bridge can be reduced by 30-50 percent. “If we don’t innovate, in 10 years we’ll have autonomous vehicles traveling over crumbling bridges inspected by people using hammers and chains,” concludes Westcott.