For those of use living and breathing in the digital space, we know that Autodesk University (AU) Las Vegas is billed as the conference for those who design, make and build the world around us. And for 2019, leading BIM specialists at Digital Node will once again grace the stage at this monumental conference.

If digital construction is your passion (as it is ours), there’s only one place you need to be this month: AU Vegas! This conference takes place from Monday 18 to Thursday 21 November, when over 10,000 professionals from construction, manufacturing, architecture and engineering assemble for four days of the very best in learning and knowledge sharing.

Delivering two talks, Digital Node founder, Rebecca De Cicco will first explore the developments of Smart Cities and how can they begin to change the way we deliver our buildings and infrastructure assets. We will then see Rebecca for a second time as she leads a panel of female digital construction specialists who will discuss the importance of diversity in the construction technology arena.

A Smart City Agenda

Rebecca’s Smart Cities session – taking place on Tuesday November 19 at 4.30pm – will discuss the governance and structure of Smart Cities, who is driving this initiative and who is governing standards and consistency in processes. As well as which Smart City technologies are being pushed by industry at present and what support is being given by government.

There are a variety of technology start-ups focused on developing solutions to enable a Smart Cities agenda. As part of her talk, Rebecca will give examples of these innovative companies and detail how they use different technologies to support how our cities are changing. With increasing populations, what will city population growth do the Smart City idea and how will it fuel changes to the way we interact and use our cities?

Rebecca commented: “Whilst we look at what Smart Cities and data can do for our industry, we must not overlook how all of this will impact upon people and how they will manage these changes. The world’s urban population currently exceeds 4.2 billion, with around 68% of the whole world’s population projected to live in urban areas by 2050.

“It’s no surprise, then, that this shift toward urbanisation presents a complicated set of challenges in meeting the needs of the population regarding sustainable development, housing, transport, energy, employment, education, health care and infrastructure.

“In my session, I will cover some examples of what is already being delivered around the world and discuss who is truly being ‘smart’ in the city!”

Diversity and Equality

In her capacity as Global Chair for Women in BIM, Rebecca believes it is essential to draw attention to the need for greater equality and consider the impact of diversity in our industry. Leading on a panel session, Rebecca will focus on how the impact of BIM has affected the industry globally, and how we can address the issues of skills shortages by retaining and supporting diverse groups.

Rebecca commented: “There is little doubt we are facing a construction skills shortage. Despite excellent efforts already made, the industry still has a long way to go in eliminating the issues affecting this shortage, such as an ageing workforce, a poor pipeline of young people to tap into and the gender and diversity gap, all of which, if tackled well, could help to solve this ever-increasing global skills crisis.

“Being a passionate advocate for women in construction for as long as I can remember, I have witnessed many positive changes in this space, we have some amazing women working in our industry and more are needed. It’s our duty as female professionals to lead the way and encourage more women to step up and forge a successful career in construction.”

Rebecca will be joined on the panel by Digital Node Associate, Nicole De Cicco. Nicole is a core team member of Women in BIM and supports Digital Node in our not-for-profit efforts all over the world, as well as running events across Australia for the BIM-SA group – sharing knowledge and insight in digital construction and engineering.

Rebecca and Nicole will also be joined by Melissa Thiessens, BIM Manager for GSBS Architects, Purvi Irwin, Practice Manager at CADD Microsystems, Alexine Gordon-Stewart, Marketing Director at BIM Track and Kate Morrical, Digital Design Manager for Silman. This session is taking place on Tuesday 19 November at 2.45pm.

Discover more about Autodesk University Las Vegas here.