Ferrovial develops innovative digital solutions that connect and transform the company, generating value and enabling new business opportunities. In order to meet these challenges, the company invests significantly in technology.
In 2022, the implementation of Digital Horizon 24 plan was accelerated, designed to strengthen the company’s innovation and digitalization, and which play a fundamental role in its transformation process. Among the main challenges of the plan is to determine how to respond to Ferrovial’s transformation needs and orient innovative activity to meet them.
With the aim of strengthening the business through digitalization, and supporting transformation and future growth, the company focuses on automation, efficiency, competitiveness, agility, capture and effective use of data, while fostering an entrepreneurial and digital culture.
In this sense, enhancing transversal capabilities, such as the contextualized use of data, cybersecurity, the use of platforms, business alliances or the review of processes is key in the company’s digitalization process.
As part of the Journey to Cloud global program that will channel all initiatives in the transformation of Ferrovial’s digital ecosystem, work is being done to modernize native platforms to improve their interface, automate processes, mitigate risks and eliminate obsolescence or reduce time-to-market.
Digital transformation is materialized in a results-oriented management, measured through a new digital portfolio management tool that unifies all technology and innovation initiatives. Transformation impacts are quantified through value levers, the result of all crosscutting or specific initiatives carried out in each business:
Ferrovial’s innovative activity develops competitive advantages and guarantees a sustainable impact by transforming the business and generating new products and services through exploration and experimentation with new technologies. It is a process that begins with the definition of the priorities of the business units, with the main objective of obtaining competitive advantages.
To ensure a sustainable impact aligned with Digital Horizon 24, Ferrovial has established a new Innovation Strategy 2022-24 focused on generating impact on the following areas:
By means of operational efficiency and risk management, the innovative activity drives and develops the implementation of new products and processes that generate a greater quality service to its customers.
In 2022, INFRAVERSE, an initiative for the efficient use of the technologies that make up the metaverse, was launched. The aim is to improve construction and operation processes, providing a better response to customer needs.
On the other hand, the deployment of digital capabilities and tools has enabled the optimization of design and management processes for new infrastructures. These are solutions that analyze demand by simulating variables that allow us to identify each business opportunity, considering value and risk variables. Additionally, new generative and parametric design techniques have been explored and implemented, allowing to obtain a better approximation of the design of the transportation and/or energy infrastructure in a more efficient approach.
Likewise, the implementation and use of digital tools in the operation, such as the transversal asset management tool, enables a better overall understanding of the performance and functionality of the assets. By complementing this tool with simulation capabilities in digital twin environments, cloud and data platforms, Ferrovial is able to optimize performance throughout the entire infrastructure lifecycle.
Finally, sustainability, considered as one of its main pillars for the creation of higher quality and resilient infrastructures, has led to the implementation of a work program with low carbon footprint materials that aims to identify and standardize the use of more sustainable materials.
In an increasingly changing world, Ferrovial relies on transformation as a key lever to adapt to the constantly evolving demands of the market and its customers. In innovation, business transformation is managed in the centers of excellence, knowledge centers in three critical areas: mobility, asset management and energy and sustainability.
During 2022, the Energy and Sustainability Center of Excellence was launched to directly support the recently created energy business unit. Projects such as Ikongreen and the carbon footprint measurement tool have been developed within this center.
In parallel, Ferrovial promotes the industrialization of the entire construction process by synchronizing the production and assembly of components with the supply chain and logistics planning. To this end, it works on projects that provide modular construction capabilities, automation, robotization, teleoperation and 5G connectivity. Thanks to projects such as AIVIA, it drives the adaptation of its infrastructures to contexts such as those of connected and autonomous mobility.
Continuing to transform Ferrovial’s business is a transversal task that is approached from a global and comprehensive perspective at all stages of the infrastructure lifecycle.
By launching new adjacent businesses, and taking advantage of Ferrovial’s internal capabilities and knowledge, the company’s businesses are diversified. For this reason, in 2022 the venture-building process was created to develop and launch business ideas.
The creation of new products and services will continue to increase the value generated for the client, providing new digital channels and additional sources of income. In this context, Ferrovial has launched NextPass, a payment application for Managed Lanes, a new personalized tolling method.
Ferrovial has been promoting and increasing its open innovation ecosystem and network of alliances for years. This ecosystem is made up of five agents that nurture, strengthen and complement Ferrovial’s knowledge, capabilities and talent.
The first of these agents is the relationship with universities and research centers. It is worth noting the research collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) through the energy initiative (MITEI), renewed in 2021 for a third five-year period, and through the MIT Mobility Initiative (MMI), which Ferrovial has joined in 2022 as a founding member. The aim of the latter agreement is to contribute to the design of a mobility system that is sustainable, safe, clean and inclusive.
Startups and Venture Capital funds are the second and third key players. During 2022, the successful relationship with the brightest entrepreneurs in the major global innovation hubs in the United States, Europe and Israel has continued to connect them with the organization and accelerate the innovation process. In this regard, the company is always open to test the most disruptive technologies and business models in its infrastructures and prove their validity in a real environment.
In relation to Venture Capital funds, Ferrovial has expanded its investment strategy by acquiring stakes in specialized venture capital funds whose investment strategy focuses on construction, energy and mobility. This is the case of Atómico, a benchmark venture capital fund in Europe, in which Ferrovial continues to be one of the participating corporate partners.
The fourth agent is the Public Innovation Agencies, which are responsible for establishing industrial policy, mainly by facilitating access to public funding. These programs, of different types, are supported both by the Spanish Recovery and Resilience Plan (NextGenEU) and European initiatives linked to the EU Community Framework (2021-2027), with instruments such as Horizon Europe, LIFE or specific thematic vehicles such as the Climate KIC, EIT Digital, EIT Urban Mobility or InnoEnergy, in addition to their counterparts in the United States. Ferrovial has a portfolio of initiatives aimed at deploying smart and resilient infrastructures to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of the territory.
Collaboration with large corporations is the fifth agent. The aim is to seek synergies, complementing knowledge capabilities and sharing best practices in innovation management. In this area, Ferrovial’s internal talent stands out, enabling it to leverage its own intellectual capital to devise and market projects in the most efficient way, favoring collaboration among employees.
Ferrovial has developed ATLAS, the new digital tool that centralizes IT and innovation initiatives, from their conceptualization to the capture of their final impact on the business. In this regard, ATLAS unifies this management under the same standard and process, facilitating its alignment with the strategic plans of the different business lines and maximizing the impact they can generate.
Digitalizing and unifying management provides considerable benefits such as the homogeneity of the same process, having a single source of information, transparent collaboration between teams, as well as integration with other digital tools deployed in the company.
ATLAS has also enabled the implementation of a governance model that ensures constant communication and exchange of information between the portfolio department and the business units, facilitating the monitoring of initiatives and strategic, operational and budgetary decision-making related to Ferrovial’s investment in IT and innovation.