Betting on infrastructure to enable tech innovations

September 29, 2022 | 3 minute read
Burcin Kaplanoglu
Vice President, Innovation, Oracle Industry Lab
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I lead the Oracle Industry Lab. We have labs in three amazing cities: Chicago, London, and Sydney.

In the innovation and tech spaces, we are used to investing and betting on technologies. We attempt to predict development timelines all the time, but now I want to discuss another kind of forecasting: how to bet on infrastructure to enable tech innovations.

The seeds of the Oracle Industry Lab were planted back in 2018. I spent decades in engineering and construction and delivered many projects. But when I made a career transition to Oracle to lead innovation for its construction and engineering software business, I entered a new world where development occurs rapidly and innovation is at the center of everything we do.

Oracle has countless stories about how it rapidly developed innovative solutions, so I felt relief at finally having landed at a place where I no longer had to convince people to innovate! It was all part of the company culture and DNA. 

Regardless of whether your industry is manufacturing, construction, retail, healthcare, etc., it’s difficult to find time to test and validate new digital or physical technologies at your place of business when you are busy running your day-to-day operations. To help address this issue, we build simulated environments at the lab that mirrors various industries where partners and customers can come together to test and validate technologies and solve real-world problems.

I work across many industries and I see numerous similarities between them—almost all industries are focused on data collection, centralized data management, and predictive services that use technologies such as machine learning and AI. Some industries are more advanced than others, but overall they are all working to achieve better efficiency, productivity, safety, and predictive outcomes. 

"My advice is to focus on the use cases and not technologies. Pick problems that are important today and will be even more important in the years to come."

—Burcin Kaplanoglu, Vice President, Oracle Industry Lab

Anyone who works on infrastructure knows that it takes years to define requirements, design, and build these projects. When we started construction on the lab in 2018, we had to decide which use cases to focus on for a facility that would be operational in three years.

In the tech world, timelines are very short due to rapid development, and it’s hard to predict such significant leaps. So, the question becomes, how can you bet on what infrastructure to build when you know the tech environment changes so rapidly? 

My advice is to focus on the use cases and not technologies. Pick problems that are important today and will be even more important in the years to come. 

A good example is how we selected the use cases related to the human aspect of energy consumption and what infrastructure would be best to test and validate. Four years ago, we bet on infrastructure such as electric vehicle charging, renewable energy sources, and batteries related to our homes.

We designed and built a fully functional apartment unit inside the lab. The sensors around it allow us to work on industry use cases related to energy, and the infrastructure enables innovation between us and our partners. 

I learned that betting on infrastructure to enable industry innovation is bit of science and a bit of art. My advice is to stick to use cases and go after big problems, then bring in the technologies, business processes, and define the skills.

We have focused on sustainability, productivity, and artificial intelligence to solve world’s big problems, and our bet is paying off. 

Click here to learn more about the Oracle Industry Lab.

Oracle Construction and Engineering, the global leader in construction management software and project portfolio management solutions, helps you connect your teams, processes, and data across the project and asset lifecycle. Drive efficiency and control in project delivery with proven solutions for project controls, construction scheduling, BIM/CDE, and more.

Read more about the Oracle Industry Lab:

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Sustainability practices a priority at new UK Oracle Industry Lab

Take a tour of the Oracle Industry Lab

Why AI and machine learning belong in the construction and engineering industry

Burcin Kaplanoglu

Vice President, Innovation, Oracle Industry Lab

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