How can building owners and AEC firms benefit from Digital Twin technology?
- A considerable amount of information is produced during design and construction. Handover of this information currently takes too long and is expensive.
- A Digital Twin starts as a virtual representation of the physical building, embedded with rich information about spaces and assets. However, this can just be the seed of a larger, flexible, extensible, and expressive system of record.
Research and advisory firm Gartner identified the digital twin as a Top 10 Strategic Technology Trend for 2018, and other analysts agree. It’s not a new concept – digital twins got everyone’s attention with Industrial IoT and it is now taking root in the building sector as well.
At Invicara, we see a significant opportunity for owners and operators to benefit from having a digital twin of a building. Imagine having all the information about your buildings at your fingertips – information that’s easy to find, packaged the way you need it. Imagine the digital twin providing you insights on how your building is performing, enabling you to make data driven decisions for maintenance, asset, energy, space and comfort management, enabling information to flow freely to and from systems that help you manage a building or an entire portfolio.
Bringing Data Together
Imagine, as a program manager, designer or as a contractor, you are able to deliver a digital twin to your client. What value does that represent? During the design and construction of a building, a considerable amount of information is produced – data, drawings, documents, notes. It’s a disjointed process, so the time lost, and cost incurred during a typical handover process is staggering, for example, owners incur a lot of cost for O&M and asset data to be captured after handover because it wasn’t captured or validated during design and construction. This “unintelligent” information is difficult to search, as well. It can many months for building operators to sift through the documentation to identify what it is they actually need. In the meantime, incidents happen, parts need to be replaced, the space is reconfigured, but the information to make informed decisions is just not there.
“It’s a disjointed process, so the time lost, and cost incurred during a typical handover process is staggering…the information to make informed decisions is just not there.“
Building a Digital Twin
A Digital Twin starts as a virtual representation of the physical building, embedded with rich information about spaces and assets. When created through the design, construction phase and delivered as a natural outcome of the capital program, it could mean day one readiness for the project. While every day lost from productive use of a critical infrastructure like an airport or healthcare facility is obvious, owners of commercial real estate generate faster returns on their investment from saved time in lease or sale transaction costs and higher yields.
While BIM is the foundation, the seed to creating a Digital Twin, 3D design models aren’t meant to hold vast amounts of data. Models are geometric representations of the assets, with some descriptive data thrown in. Ingesting a well classified and validated building model is key to getting a reliable core data set, (the healthier the seed, to continue my analogy), to build a functional Digital Twin. This is where BIM Assure comes in – making sure the foundational data is validated, verified, and properly classified. A Digital Twin hangs more information off those assets, both extended data sets relating to the spaces, assets and documents.
The Digital Twin is more than just a database – it’s a flexible, extensible, and expressive system of record. Whether it is data generated by asset, space, lease, maintenance management systems or data from IoT, a Digital Twin can act as the hub to integrate information, provide context to it and generate insights that help to optimize building performance.
Eliminating data silos, a digital twin provides a platform for digital transformation for every organization whose business is impacted by the facilities it owns or occupies.