Matthew was recently featured as one of Building Magazine’s Digital Champions: https://www.building.co.uk/focus/introducing-buildings-digital-champions-you-have-just-got-to-be-brave/5100690.article#Katya_Valeva__BIM_strategy_consultant_Archilizer_not_pictured_in_group_photographs
Matthew Marson, Head of Smart Places, WSP
What do you do? I help our clients understand how they can get technology into the built environment.
What’s holding construction back in the digital sphere? Why is it that Uber was so successful in the 12 months from being nothing to everybody knows what it is? I think its to do with the amount of times they could prove that the technology works. There are millions of taxi rides each day, whereas in construction it takes four years and we are not doing anywhere near that kind of volume. There’s still a massive hesitance and it feels like a real leap of faith to get there. I just don’t think we’ve done it enough yet for people to be comfortable.
I think the industry needs to stop being a bit of an echo chamber. We are now building teams that you wouldn’t expect. For example, one of my team is a performing arts graduate but his background in understanding people and how they interact with space makes his design work so much more thoughtful than we might be able to get from an engineer. I don’t think there’s one silver bullet set of skills out there.
What are you excited about? I dont think its about new tech anymore because the stuff that we see as emerging tech, if that’s things to do with distributed ledger technologies, more mixed reality, quantum computing, etc – I don’t think it’s at a point yet where we can put it in a construction project. So the thing that will be really interesting is how we combine the stuff that we already have … that is going to have a profound change in how we work with our spaces anyway and it’s about how you design a core bit of infrastructure that is future-ready because obviously tech moves much faster than our buildings do and we need to find a way to marry those two paces of change.
What are you working on at the moment? Currently I’m working with a leading bank to create their new headquarters with the idea being that the building becomes a butler to their employees. By designing meaningful digital services with a set of infrastructure that’s future ready, we’re paving the way for an entirely new working experience.