What a year 2020 has been—one that will go down in history, not just because of the global COVID-19 crisis, but also because of the way the world came together. We saw businesses and governments move faster than ever to develop solutions innovative, digital and long-lasting. Aden was there for it all. The story of Aden’s 2020 is just as eventful; with our staff across the globe, mobilizing to fight the pandemic and develop new, innovative solutions that will make a lasting mark long after the health crisis has come under control.
It will also be remembered as a year that the world – especially China – made powerful commitments to clean energy and sustainability with huge implications for the future.
Let’s take a look back at six key events that defined 2020 for Aden and for the world.
2020 began with a once-in-a-century challenge: the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a moment of truly global disruption as businesses locked down and a “new normal” upended the status quo of facility management. For Aden, the challenge was high, but our teams were ready, drawing on first-hand experience managing facilities during health crises in Asia, Africa and beyond.
Our partners needed to return their sites to operation as quickly as possible, without any compromise on safety and hygiene for their staff. From China to Africa, Southeast Asia and more, Aden was ready to lead the way with comprehensive hygiene and disinfection solutions and on-site support. We also helped pioneer a number of automated solutions to speed up the return to work, developing partnerships with automation firms to deliver zero-contact workplace robots and disinfection robots for medical facilities and even the inside of HVAC systems.
History shows that crises can be a major accelerator for world-changing innovations. Case in point: Akila Care, the line of smart and connected modular hospitals Aden launched in the spring of 2020. Initiated as a means of accelerating the development and delivery of advanced infection-control hospitals within a record-breaking timeframe (150 days).
2020 saw Akila Care rapidly evolving into a customizable, multi-product offer that can serve a full range of medical needs and increasingly support emerging medical technologies like telemedicine, training by simulation and AI-powered medical diagnostics. Within half a year, we had begun talks with 25 governments and proudly presented Akila Care at China’s third annual CIIE along with our partners Dassault Systèmes and Saint-Gobain.
2020 was more than just a pandemic. It was also a year of hope in the energy and environmental sphere, with China’s government setting remarkably ambitious goals for clean and renewable energy. The most widely reported of these was the commitment for China to become carbon neutral by 2060, and this transition I already underway; by 2030, the government has pledged 1.2 TW of renewable-energy capacity by 2030.
This turning point will require tremendous effort from every sector in China. Aden was one step ahead, working through the year to prepare for the September 2020 launch of Tera Energies, a new joint venture with Total-Eren and Eren Industries. Tera let us build and expand on a foundation we had initiated in 2018 with Aden Energy, but with greatly amplified resources, technology, experience and solutions, all of which will help us accelerate China’s clean-energy transition.
This year Aden and Tera Energies increased our involvement in another important area of the clean-energy revolution: EV charging. Across Asia, and especially in China, 2020 saw governments accelerating the timeline for the big switch to electric mobility. Hainan Province was the standout here, committing to make the island 100% EV by the year 2030. In Hainan’s largest city and capital – Haikou – Aden and Tera were chosen to deliver the EV-charging infrastructure for the public bus system.
We got off to a strong start in Haikou this year, delivering charging lots to keep two bus fleets running around the clock and servicing tens of thousands of passengers daily. This number will only grow as Haikou grows their electric bus fleet. As the EV, transformation progresses in Haikou and around the rest of China and Asia, Aden Tera will continue to act as a strategic partner helping governments and companies accelerate the process.
This year we showed that Aden could bring smart and connected IFM services anywhere, even to the middle of the Indian Ocean. We kicked off a long-term project in the Maldives with the Fari Islands archipelago, home to several international luxury resorts. Aden took on an ambitious IFM program encompassing an entire island (Fari Island Campus), where all hotel staff and management are accommodated.
The current program includes 17 solutions, which we have already digitalized and will be increasingly linked, digitalized and optimized as we expand the digital footprint of the site over the coming years.
2020 saw continued growth of a longtime trend in the industry – companies in China are looking to set up in industrial zones that are high-tech, turn-key and help them avoid the high investment costs that would traditionally come with developing a world-class industrial facility. They are also facing increased pressure to meet sustainability KPIs from local government and their corporate leadership and to deliver a level of on-site comfort that will attract and retain high-quality employees.
This summer, Aden initiated Smart Park to meet just this need. It’s a zone where we partner with local governments to integrate Aden’s most innovative solutions in energy, robotics and quality of life solutions. Since then, we have been moving fast and building relationships with governments across China, with standout meetings and plans in Jining, Chengdu and Zibo, as well as a visit to Aden HQ by the leadership of Guiyang, China’s big data city.