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100 years at the service of society through technology

Insights 100 years at the service of society through technology

Although the name SICE may be unfamiliar to the general public, we are very much present in their lives. From street lighting, city traffic, the management of smart safety systems for interurban roads, tunnels, tolls and means of transport, to the management of water resources, air quality and so many other integrated services in what we now call “Smart Cities”. At SICE we have spent 100 years working to improve the quality of life of society through technology.

It would be hard to name a town in Spain where SICE has not worked in its 100 years of existence. That’s right: one hundred years. Because today, 8 January 2021, just as the new year begins, SICE turns 100.

100 years dedicated to innovation and technology in the transport sector, also participating in the development of telecommunications, with environmental control networks that contribute to the sustainability of natural resources, controlling processes in different types of industries, and since 1921 lighting the streets of numerous cities, providing energy efficiency solutions of all kinds.

There are currently more than 2,500 of us working at SICE in 30 countries on 5 continents. When Sociedad Ibérica de Construcciones Eléctricas was established on 8 January 1921 in Bilbao, the founders could not imagine the growth and the national and international profile that the company would acquire. We have gone from building and selling electrical equipment of all kinds in the territories of Spain and Portugal, to changing the daily lives of billions of citizens.  From installing the first traffic lights in Madrid and Barcelona, to centralising the traffic management of such complex infrastructures as Madrid Calle 30 and the tunnels in Waterview (Auckland, New Zealand), WestConnex (Sydney, Australia), Miami and Seattle (United States).

The list is endless: 100 years full of technological milestones highlighting the merit, the capacity for evolution, innovation, anticipation and adaptation that the company and its professionals have shown throughout this century. Always faithful to our values, the principles that made us what we are in 2021: commitment to the customer, value creation, efficiency and a spirit of leadership.

This is what drove us to dare venture into our first international projects in Latin America in the 1990s. And since then, we have continued to grow and expand around the globe: from the first international toll project in Puerto Rico to the major toll roads in Mexico, and Free Flow in Chile, the UK, North America and Australia. From the major project for the implementation and operation of security systems with Metro de Madrid, to metro projects in Santiago, Chile, and tramways in Canada. From the first projects in Madrid, Valencia, Zaragoza and Seville with the DGT, marking SICE’s entry into the world of interurban traffic, to the management of major tunnels such as the Somport and Calle 30 projects, which have in turn been replicated and expanded in New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

Not many enterprises make it to the hundred-year mark. SICE has withstood the changing fortunes of time and lived through political regime, wars and changes of all kinds, unquestionably thanks to the clients who have placed their trust in the company’s capabilities (some of them working with us for many years). But also to the partners, collaborators and shareholders providing the vital financial support needed throughout this long journey. And above all to the team of professionals who work and have worked in the company for 100 years: their effort and tenacity, their perseverance, always aiming to go the extra mile, providing technology for progress, and who have brought SICE to the leading position it enjoys in markets such as urban and interurban traffic, integrated tunnel management, transport and the environment.

It is said that the past is written, is immovable, but it is by looking at the past that we can clearly identify the values that for a century and up until today have remained unchanged in the essence of the company, the transversal axis of a culture of responsible, austere and honest work, always with a vocation for service, based on technology and innovation.

A look at the past that pushes us towards the future, because SICE remains committed to ongoing contributions to the progress and well-being of society, within a context that today and in the short term remains challenging and highly uncertain. It is also more demanding and competitive, in permanent transformation, with new challenges and opportunities that we are in a position to face with full capacity and solvency.  Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, IOT, advanced data analytics and connected vehicles are all technologies, concepts or tools that are part of our daily lives. The current process of digital transformation seen in the marketplace is fundamental to the development of the business; technology is moving so fast that innovations emerge every day, and SICE is working to lead this transformation.   

The world has certainly changed a lot since 1921, and SICE has also. Despite 100 years of effort and hard work, despite the great social impact of our daily efforts, the SICE of tomorrow may well remain a company fairly unfamiliar to the general public. But today, on our 100th birthday, all we can say is: well done, congratulations, “and many happy returns”.

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