To celebrate International Women’s Day 2022, and to formally launch its new brand (from its former brand of ENGIE Services), the EQUANS ANZ team held its first business breakfast event in Sydney.
Under the banner of ‘AI and the Future of Work - pathways to Innovation in the Australian Built Environment’, the audience was presented with insights on how AI-driven technology will continue to influence Australian businesses. Keynote speaker Dr Catriona Wallace shared real-life examples of how AI can result in bias in decision making, and encouraged the audience to use technology knowingly and proactively to reduce bias. Business leaders in attendance were also provided with thought-provoking insights from a diverse expert panel on how they can use technology to make facilities and workplaces more engaging, diverse and efficient.
EQUANS ANZ CEO Clive Ross: “It was a pleasure to spend the morning connecting with customers and businesses operating in the built environment. I was honoured to participate on the panel with leading experts in the field of AI and building technology on the important occasion of International Women’s Day. As an organisation in a traditionally male-dominated industry we have a long way to go, and to be able to share the stage with leading (female) experts in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology was a great honour. Data for the FM sector is hard to come by, but for the wider construction industry, women make up approximately 15% of managers, and only 2.7% of CEOs.
We recognise this as a company and are actively trying to address it – and we are proud that our Executive Leadership Team is now at 40% female representation. It’s the right thing to do, but we are also well aware that diversity overall improves business. It is a value creator; delivering more diversity of thought, more lived experience, and – ultimately – more and better innovation. And needless to say, diversity doesn’t stop with gender diversity. We have more work to do, and we’re ready for it.”
Keynote speaker Dr Catriona Wallace is an entrepreneur in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and an adjunct professor with the AGSM at UNSW, and has been recognised by The Australian Financial Review as the most influential woman in business & entrepreneurship.
Her talk covered the new ethical framework for artificial intelligence, and she encouraged the audience and all businesspeople to start to step into, while governments are catching up to disruption by Big Tech She called on everyone, every employee, every businessperson, to start to think about how they can be an ethical leader in this field.
While the facilities management and built environment sector has already identified automation and digitisation as one of the key disruptors over the next decade, Dr Wallace assesses the maturity of AI in the facilities space as mid-range. “We have seen smart cities, smart homes, smart buildings around for a while. We've seen clever things like digital twins being used to support property management or building. In Australia, unfortunately we are way behind the rest of the world with AI where we have a tenth of the investment into artificial intelligence than, say, the US when we compare it per capita.
I still think there is a huge opportunity in facilities management to be using artificial intelligence more than the industry already does. But there are some very good examples already out there.”
About EQUANS ANZ
EQUANS Australia & New Zealand is leading the way in multi-technical building services with divisions across audio visual, mechanical, fire, communication & electrical solutions.
Employing almost 1,000 people and part of a global leader operating in 17 countries, we specialise in improving energy performance in the industrial, public and commercial building sectors through developing and implementing cost-saving smart energy and environmental efficiency services.