Aravinda S. Rao, Jayavardhana Gubbi, Tuan Ngo, Priyan Mendis, Marimuthu Palaniswami
Chapter 4, Structural Health Monitoring Technologies and Next-Generation Smart Composite Structures, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, pp. 89-120
Publication year: 2016


Australia is an urbanized society. Happily, Australian cities are regularly rated as world’s most liveable. Like most developed countries, major challenges to urban landscape are emerging: higher (and aging) populations, environmental and resource stresses, infrastructure capacities, security issues, and so on. These challenges need to be addressed now to prepare our cities for tomorrow: future cities have to be “smart”—digitally smart—if they are to be sustainable. Present urban universe is neatly partitioned into autonomous spheres: (a) real—where people, systems, services, and environments lie and (b) virtual—where information and communication lie. In smart cities, this divide does not exist; the real and the virtual are seamlessly integrated. Technologically, this integration is predicated on the creation of some very new disruptive paradigms on the data–knowledge–action axis of real–virtual symbiosis.

The Internet revolution led to the interconnection between people at an unprecedented scale and pace. The next revolution will be the interconnection between objects to create a smart environment. Currently, there are 9 billion interconnected devices, and it is expected to reach 24 billion devices. According to the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association, this amounts to $1.3 trillion revenue opportunities for mobile network operators alone spanning vertical segments such as transport, infrastructure, health, and entertainment. The Digital Europe strategy of the European Union  points to some of these new paradigms: the Internet of things (IoT), Big Data, and Cloud computing. The first integrates the information highways and the physical world through ubiquitous sensing and actuation, the second is to extract actionable knowledge from constantly generated massive data from diverse sources (human and machine), and the third is to manage the required heterogeneity of computational platforms and goals in pervasive environments.

In this chapter, we narrow our focus on structural health monitoring (SHM), particularly on critical infrastructure monitoring. Critical infrastructures are those that are essential for everyday living. Examples include physical structures such as long bridges connecting major locations for people to commute, tall buildings where region’s workforce is mostly located; communication, electricity and water supply networks; information technologies; food and supply chains, and so on. Here, the focus is on civil infrastructure that mainly includes bridges and buildings. Integrity of the civil infrastructures is very important to maintain safety of everyone in and around such structures. To ensure that the structural integrity is maintained, health monitoring of these structures are carried regularly based on approximate estimates.