GlobalData Energy, Offshore Technology, August 7 2019
Original article published on Offshore Technology.
Industrial Internet to help oil and gas markets improve sustainability
As the oil and gas industries continuously progress and change, it is important that the companies that handle them are able to keep up with these changes, as well as keeping up with technological advances and business developments, such as Industry 4.0.
What this article describes as 'Industrial Internet' provides an innovative solution for oil and gas companies, allowing them to keep up with these changes in product, alongside adhering to the technological advances that are necessary now, in order for a business to continue to progress and function effectively. However, this can be taken further.
It is important that oil and gas companies are utilising IoT technologies, but it is how these are all able to function and work together that is the important part. Digital twin technology can enable interoperability between smart technologies, allowing them to communicate and share information with one another within one, interoperable ecosystem. This takes technological innovations such as 'Industrial Internet' a step further than companies just adopting different smart technologies, by enabling these technologies to comprehensively communicate with one another in order to solve any problems a company may face. It is this intelligent interoperability that enables companies to improve their technological capabilities and increase the productivity, efficiency, and sustainability of their business. And it can not only benefit the oil and gas industries, but has the ability to help any business, today! Find out more on our website.
Ali Nicholl, BIM Plus, August 6 2019
Original article published on Bim Plus.
What can digital twins do for you?
Ali Nicholl, head of engagement at Iotic, outlines how the construction industry is starting to recognise the benefits of digital twins and looks at some exciting developments.
As companies increasingly embrace digital transformation and Enterprise 4.0, this advancement also brings with it an ever-broadening capability gap. There is a need for businesses to leverage existing technology investments and at the same time embrace new technologies and share data and resources with partners, suppliers and customers. As a result, there is immediately a complex interoperability challenge.
Digital twins provide an answer to the combined failings of the traditional, hierarchical-based approaches with one-time-use based integrations which are both costly and inflexible. New technologies promise greater flexibility, agility and transformation, but are too often isolated from incumbent platforms, systems and databases. Legacy systems tend to exist in parallel to new developments, rather than informing and complementing them.
So, what exactly is a digital twin? Quite simply, it is a virtual version of a process, product or service, which creates a two-way link between the physical and virtual world. Pairing these two different worlds enables analysis of data, from its conception to use and monitoring, helps prevent problems before they even occur, avoids downtime and develops new opportunities.
They work by interrelating data and controls from across the entire eco-system, collecting it from sensors, platforms, databases and schedules and allowing it to interoperate. This means information can be gathered about the real-time status and working conditions of a site, project, building, material, piece of machinery or even a person.
The data is passed securely from real-life sources to a virtual entity, 'the twin'. This twin can interact with multiple different sources, both internal and external and can even connect to contextual data such as weather and environmental information.
Digital twins in the building industry
The UK construction industry is attempting to increase productivity levels in line with other sectors as it is inhibited by complex and evolving environments, hindered by fractured and highly variable supply chains and shackled by large amounts of regulation, particularly when it comes to health and safety.
Linking a virtual version of a building to its real-world counterpart can show construction workers how it is performing in real time. An example is connecting the behaviour of people wanting to use the lifts with demands at different times, service history, weather and building occupancy to enable facilities management to improve efficiency and minimise downtime. This data can also be of use to architects, engineers and consultants to enhance the design of future buildings.
Connecting twins of different buildings and their sites, along with multiple layers of infrastructure will also give those in the industry the means to create smart cities, enabling designers and planners to interrelate event-driven data to gain insights into a living city. They can also look forward, simulating scenarios such as the impact of a new building on traffic flow or water and power supplies.
Digital twins also have the potential to prevent serious accidents and reduce risk in typically hazardous environments by monitoring assets to avoid potential failures. Safety regulations are obviously necessary, but twins help shoulder the burden, automating tasks and maximising the return from resources.
Liberating staff from onerous monitoring and management means that more of their time can be spent on duties directly impacting the build project or business and increase productivity, while maintaining standards.
Digital twins can also help overcome persistent issues such as low profit margins and the need to do more with less. The construction industry can learn from other sectors, for example manufacturing where Rolls Royce Power Systems is pioneering the use of digital twins to deliver the next generation of customer service.
The design and construction phase provides the ideal opportunity to begin creating digital twins. Adding sensors to buildings to collect data is the easy part. The challenge is to enable the secure exchange of data across the lifecycle of a project.
Innovation for construction
In response to a call for increases in productivity and performance in operational and on-site environments, BAM Nuttall is working with Iotic and researchers at Cranfield University to develop an AI-based, computer-vision activated camera. It is a solution which allows complex sensor interactions and controls capable of working in even adverse settings and weather conditions.
The Learning Camera is a flexible, scalable solution which employs a standard webcam. The digital twin of the data captured by the camera is linked to the digital twins of sources of environmental data such as the weather, as well as contextual information including date and time, to create an asset twin. All this data is then analysed and the results sent to a dashboard.
For example, this flexible, highly adaptive eco-system means that a camera can be trained to recognise a scenario on site and alert users of changes, notifying the individual or individuals necessary who can then be sent to investigate and rectify any problems.
The project aims to demonstrate how advances in technology, especially the use of digital twins, can bring benefits to the industry: driving safer sires, higher quality experiences for employees and improvements in productivity.
Applied in the right way, the technology can free staff from repetitive and risky activities, because with multiple cameras set up on sites, there will, for example, be a reduced need for someone to enter a hazardous zone and be out in all weathers, while additional time will be saved by not having to regularly and manually monitor equipment.
Dr Yifan Zhao, lecturer in Image and Signal Processing and Degradation Assessment at the Through Life Engineering Service Institute at Cranfield, believes the innovation is a great opportunity for AI to be applied to a traditional industry.
"By using The Learning Camera, construction sites will be better equipped to manage and deliver projects. It will also help to promote the need for the industry to attract talent with skills in software and hardware development to tackle the much-publicised poor productivity levels," he says.
Twin technology as masterminds
Creating digital twins of data sources, consumers and the assets they are related to enables comprehensive interoperability across enterprise eco-systems. The twins can develop and grow with use cases, allowing enterprises to leverage existing technology and safely adopt new capabilities such as The Learning Camera. The rise and adoption of digital twins is helping to create a machine-readable world, where different users in different organisations throughout a supply chain can visualise, virtualise and model what is important to them and their business.
The bringing together of previously unrelated data helps us learn lessons and uncover opportunities within the virtual environment that can transform businesses.
Colin Evison, head of innovation at BAM Nuttall, adds: "This is a real opportunity to explore how we can make construction projects smarter by the adoption and development of tech solutions not traditionally available."
Digital twins act as a business brain, driving innovation and performance. They bring together fractured tools and services, with the most advanced monitoring, analytical, and predictive capabilities at their fingertips.
Within just the next five years, there will be billions of things represented by digital twins, and these proxies of the physical world will lead to new opportunities for creative collaboration.
This will, in turn, help companies improve their customer experience by being better able to understand their needs, develop enhancements to existing products, operations and services and even help drive the innovation of new business models.
For every asset, data source or location, there is a potential virtual version, fed from existing technologies that becomes richer, more powerful and more useful with every event or piece of operational data added.
All indications are that we are at the cusp of a digital twin age, where companies can begin to safely, scaleably, and progressively model what matters to them and their customers - interacting across their enterprise, supply chains and customers.
Jeff Wood, Urban Milwaukee, July 20 2019
Original article published on Urban Milwaukee.
Houston's Massive Mistake
'Meet Your Digital Twin: City planners are beginning to utilise 'digital twins', computer-based replicas of physical cities that reflect the dynamics of cities, including the people and vehicles that move through it. The tool is helpful to combat public skepticism toward planning projects, as models of digital twins effectively represent anticipated street conditions based on a variety of parameters. Digital twins can be used to predict future traffic conditions or air quality. This kind of urban modelling does require extensive data collection, including anonymized smartphone data, but some cities are already implementing the technology despite concerns over privacy. Portland, Oregon, is launching a one-year pilot to virtually replicate its city from scratch with the aid of a digital twin (Wyatt Cmar & Stephen Goldsmith / Governing)'
Digital twins have been created that can be used as virtual replicas of cities, and that have the ability to predict future conditions that may affect a city through data collection. But while many find privacy a main concern when it comes to digital twin technology being utilised in cities, it does not need to be a worry.
Technology exists today, using digital twins, that keeps privacy and security central, and an important part of the way that they function. The creation of an interoperable ecosystem that stores all the data you own through digital twins of your assets, means that you are able to pick and choose who you share your data with. Therefore, digital twins of cities are able to function to their full potential, predicting conditions such as weather, traffic, and air quality, as well as aiding in construction projects by collecting data that may affect them, while privacy remains in-tact. This technology is available to you, today. Find out more on our website.
Laura Bliss, City Lab, July 19 2019
Original article published on City Lab.
The Surprisingly High-Stakes Fight Over A Traffic-Taming 'Digital Twin'
This article by Laura Bliss for City Lab, explores thoughts on digitising traffic and the use of digital twin technology to accomplish this. She goes into the pros and cons that coincide with using this kind of technology to control and gain information from vehicles, and discusses different ways to solve the issue of traffic control.
What becomes apparent throughout the article, is the issue of privacy in digital twin technology, and how this might cause people to hold back on utilising it. Privacy, when it comes to you and your data, is hugely important and having to worry about whether your personal data is being used in the right way or not within your everyday life, is not something people want to have to think about. What we really need is a digital twin solution that allows individuals to have control of their own data. That solution is available right now.
Using a single ecosystem that allows the data owner to pick and choose who they share data with and what data they share, removes these privacy concerns. This puts the control entirely into the hands of the person or company that the data belongs to, reducing the risk of unwanted data sharing and hacking of personal information, as in the Bradley Cooper case. This means that we can make massive technological advances such as these, without having concerns about people opposing the idea, without worrying about the welfare of the population, and without giving too much power to single companies, organisations, and individuals. This technology also means that hacking is more easily avoided as information only makes sense to the person who is seeking it, therefore if an interception is made, the hacker can only gain that one piece of data which will mean nothing to them without context.
This technology could help towards digitising traffic and creating more safe and efficient roads, without the need for privacy concerns and worries about too much control being put in the hands of individual companies and people. Digital twins and their own secure interoperable ecosystem are available and are being used right now. Find out more on our website.
Emma Koehn, The Sydney Morning Herald, July 15 2019
Original article published in The Sydney Morning Herald.
Tracking Cracks: The start ups aiming to stop apartment disasters
Emma Koehn makes some really important points about the future of construction and engineering and about potential solutions to building collapse. But Digital Twins are more than just 'blueprints of businesses'. They have the ability to detect and predict problems on active sites to prevent issues within the building process, as well as to prevent the potential of future collapse. However, there is more that needs to be explored.
Construction sites are busy and often dangerous environments that rely on a multitude of elements in order to function smoothly. An issue with any one of these elements can cease a day's work and even the development of a project altogether. Therefore, it is imperative that companies do everything within their power to prevent these issues. It is also important, as Koehn agrees, that companies can ensure the safety of their buildings in the long run, and reassure customers that there will be no damage or issues into the future. Therefore, technology that is able to predict problems on site at the building process level, as well as technology that can aid the prediction of potential issues into the future after building completion, is entirely necessary in order to prevent future collapse or damage.
While technology with the ability to do these things does exist today, many businesses are missing the mark when applying it. The article mentions the use of bluetooth sensors to monitor different parts of construction sites and to alert the company when issues arise, which is a huge and important step in digitising construction and enabling companies a better insight into the functions of different elements of a site. But we can go further.
The adoption of multiple apps and technologies like sensors, creates complexity. How can the data we are collecting from the sensors be utilised in a more efficient way? A single app solution that collates all the data from any asset - whether this is an app, an engine, a sensor, or an entire construction site - automatically into one ecosystem, could be the answer. Within this ecosystem the data would be able to comprehensively communicate with other data, and provide the user with one continuous feed of information that is entirely relevant to their needs.
Intelligent Digital Twin technology is being used today within the construction and engineering industries, which has the ability to detect faults and problems during the building process, and alert the user to an issue as soon as one is detected. This ensures the smooth running of an active site and prevents current issues and dangers, as well as preventing the future collapse or damage of a building. And it can do more.
Digital Twin technology is able to predict issues on an active site, before the issue even occurs, by collating information that may affect an asset from both internal factors - such as information from sensors monitoring the asset - and external factors, for example, wind speed, temperature, and tracking of important deliveries. This information is presented in a continuously updated river of news, providing a single source of truth so a site can determine whether precautions are needed to prevent dangerous situations and damage, as well as to maintain the smooth running of the site.
This technology is available and being used as we speak. Discover more about current uses in construction and engineering in our collaboration with BAM Nuttall and Cranfield University via The Learning Camera website. And find out more about how it can help your business today, whether it is construction related or not, on our website.
Farai Mazhandu, IoT For All, July 12 2019
Original article published on IoT For All.
IoT Applications in Construction
Farai Mazhandu makes some great points in this article in IoT For All about IoT applications being used in the construction industry to improve different elements of its running.
The need for improvements to everyday tasks and functions on construction sites to make them more efficient and safe working environments is becoming ever-more imperative. However, the future of construction is about more than just IoT applications. It is about how these apps are able to comprehensively cooperate and communicate with one another and how the data they are collecting is able to be shared, as well as how relevant information can be gained more quickly and efficiently.
It is about enabling interoperability within a construction site, meaning issues can be flagged more quickly and predictions can be made on site about potential factors that may affect assets, meaning companies are able to determine how to approach the day's work, for example, when certain equipment should not be used or how long a delivery will take. This information can all be presented within one feed, giving the user a single source of truth about any particular asset. Predictions like this can ensure the smooth running of active construction sites, diminishing the fear of work having to cease altogether, and ensuring construction can be completed on time and to the best possible standards.
This kind of intelligent technology is available and being used right now, that has the ability to improve safety, security, efficiency, and overall productivity on construction sites, all within one interoperable ecosystem, using Digital Twin technology.
We at Iotic are enabling this interoperability today, through Digital Twins, an example of its use in construction being through one of our ongoing collaborations with BAM Nuttall and Cranfield University, which you can learn more about on The Learning Camera website. However, construction isn't the only sector that Digital Twin technology is able to improve. It can help any company, today, find out more on our website.
John Williams, World Coal, July 1 2019
Original article published on World Coal.
GE Research: Flexible Plants for More Renewable Intensive Grids
This article written by John Williams for World Coal, makes some interesting observations about using Digital Twins to make coal power more sustainable. This is through their predictive technology that allows data sources to interoperate and predict whether a fault might occur, before it has even happened. This is done by creating a Digital Twin of the coal power plant and allowing it to intelligently interact with other twins within a single, interoperable ecosystem. This allows data to be accessed and shared both internally and externally to the power plant, meaning information such as weather and temperature, which may affect the coal power production, is easily accessible through a single feed of information, and can be used to predict whether a fault might occur.
Using this same technology, similarly to our work with BAM Nuttall and Cranfield University with The Learning Camera, you can then monitor elements of the coal power plant, and the intelligent technology will alert you to an issue when one arises. This diminishes the fear of human error and sometimes dangerous environments that checks could be conducted in.
Find out more about Digital Twin technology and how it can help to not just make coal power a more sustainable and efficient source of energy, but how it can help any business or company to increase efficiency and overall productivity, on our website.
Joseph Chukwube, ReadWrite, June 28 2019
Original article published on ReadWrite.
Electronic Design is Utilizing AI-Enabled Solutions to Render Top-Grade Service
This article written by Joseph Chukwube for ReadWrite explores AI solutions for the engineering industry, specifically in Electronic Design companies, commenting on customer engagement, how companies are able to communicate between themselves and their machines, and predictive technologies. However, while the majority of the points Chukwube makes are true and align with our values at Iotic, many of them need to be taken further.
1. Harnessing Effective Data
Chukwube here, states that 'data, no matter how voluminous, is practically useless when not properly organized and analyzed.' This is true, but how should this be tackled? He touches on the use of Digital Twins and how they can be used to monitor data and predict problems before they arise, but this doesn't reach the full limits of how Digital Twins can be used to help a company's data.
Digital Twins do more than just monitor systems to predict issues and analyse data, they have the ability to gather and share information, internally and externally to a business. This allows a user to gain information that is entirely relevant to them and their company, without having to lift a finger, and is how the predictive qualities of Digital Twins are enabled. Twins of individual assets, whether this is a single engine or an entire construction site, can be created, which produce a feed of information about the asset, as well as potential factors that may affect its functioning, such as weather conditions, wind speeds, or delivery information. Digital Twins make this all possible, and more, today.
2. Faster and More Efficient Communication
While it is true that technology exists today that can bridge a gap between a business and their machines, predicting issues before they occur, this technology can be - and has been - developed even further. These predictions are based on real life data, and new technology means that this data can be collected and collated all into one place, so information can be gained with ease and with minimal effort from the user. Therefore, this not only gives businesses the ability to communicate with their machines and gain information and data quickly and easily, but also allows them to collate all the information they receive into one single location, giving a single source of truth that is more easily utilised. It also enables a business to communicate with data sources outside of their immediate company, to gain additional information that gives them 'the flexibility to meet up with demands, prevent downtime losses and control cost'.
3. Customer Engagement
Agreed, 'customer engagement is crucial' in order to maintain efficiency and stability within a business, and chatbots are a start at improving customer service and ensuring that efficiency and customer satisfaction remain high. But wouldn't it be great if companies were able to more easily and quickly access important and relevant data for their customers? Technology exists and is being utilised today that provides companies with a single source of truth, allowing data and information to be more easily accessed and utilised to solve customer enquiries. Find out more about a real use case of this technology in our collaboration with Rolls Royce Power Systems, and discover how this technology can be useful to you, your business, and your customers.
4. Quality Checks and Control
Ensuring that quality checks are conducted to the highest of standards is important to ensure the smooth running of a site, these checks require accuracy and can also sometimes be dangerous, so relying on human checks alone can be risky. Therefore, a practical solution such as a 'high resolution camera' that 'not only views but processes the information gathered such that defects are automatically flagged for correction', could be the answer. Iotic have developed intelligent technology in partnership with BAM Nuttall and Cranfield University, called The Learning Camera, that does exactly this.
5. Implementation of Virtual Assistants
Quality checks are an example of a job within a company that is time consuming, sometimes dangerous, and often repetitive. Therefore, if technology exists today to assist with these kinds of tasks, why wouldn't we jump at the chance? Intelligent technology can not only do the odd job that Chukwube describes, but it can help increase efficiency and productivity hugely throughout a company, as it frees up time for individuals to undertake other jobs. This includes tasks like quality and Health & Safety checks, as well as the everyday running of the business, as data is much more easily accessible, quickly and with complete relevance to each specific situation. This technology exists today to increase business efficiency and free people from time consuming and sometimes dangerous tasks.
6. Predictive Maintenance
3D generated models were only the beginning of predictive technologies and how they may help to detect issues with assets and products. Digital Twin technology can provide accurate, real time information that can help companies to predict factors that may influence the development of a project or that may affect a specific asset. A Digital Twin is not a 3D model of something, as many believe it to be, it is instead a virtual copy of a particular asset, whether this is a person, an engine, a car, or an entire building site. This Digital Twin is then able to interoperate with other twins within one ecosystem, gaining information that is entirely relevant to the user's needs, without them having to monitor or continuously programme information into it. A river of news can then be created which provides the user with any piece of information that could want to know about this specific asset, as long as it is relevant to their specific needs. This technology is available right now, and is helping companies to improve in productivity, customer service, cost effectiveness, and overall company efficiency.
Intelligent technology exists today and can not only help the Engineering Industry, and more specifically Electronic Design companies, but can help any business no matter how large or small. This is in the form of Digital Twins which have the ability to do all of the above, within one interoperable ecosystem, without the need to adopt a multitude of technologies and without creating complexity within your business. They provide answers to all your business problems, quickly, easily and effectively, with minimal effort and time from the user. As Chukwube agrees, you should consider joining the revolution, for fear of missing out on all this technology has to offer you. Discover more on our website.
Jan Rowell, Inside HPC, June 28 2019
Original article published in Inside HPC.
Advancing Manufacturing with Simulation Based Digital Twins
This article, written by Jan Rowell from Scientific Computing World for Inside HPC, eloquently explores simulation focused digital twins and real use cases within the manufacturing industry. The article also looks into ways digital twins can be used outside the manufacturing industry, and for more than just simulation of a physical asset.
Intelligent digital twins are being used today, both to simulate real life assets and predict factors that may affect them, as well as to interoperate with other twins, internally and externally to a business, in order to aid these predictions and discover information that may affect their real world counterparts.
These twins are accessible to you, right now. Discover more on our website.
Bhaskar Roy, Forbes, June 19 2019
Original article published in Forbes.
Why Digital Transformation Isn't Happening - - And How You Can Change That
This article written for Forbes by Bhaskar Roy, explains true problems that enterprises face when attempting to successfully digitally transform themselves, and potential ways of solving these. However, we think it can be taken further. What do 'technology investments with the future in mind' look like and how can these solve enterprises' digital transformation problems?
Roy makes excellent points about why businesses are failing to digitally transform themselves, however some of these need to be explored further. Yes, it is easy to underestimate 'the damage complex processes can do, both to your digital transformation goals and to overall productivity', but what if this complexity was removed?
Part of the reason that enterprises are failing at successful digital transformation is the fact that on average, they are utilising '1,935 apps... a 15% increase compared to 2017'. The perception individuals have about digital transformation being down to them spending ridiculous amounts of money and adopting multiple different apps and technologies, is flawed, as Roy agrees. Exploring this further reveals the true issue with digital transformation, that by adhering to this mindset, companies are creating complexity for themselves, as their data is disparate and confined to a multitude of different apps and silos that are difficult to manage.
The removal of this complexity with a single technological solution that collates all a company's data and allows it to intelligently communicate with each other, as well as one that enables information to be gathered and shared with external organisations, could be the answer. This would enable a business to utilise its data more effectively and being to digitally transform itself.
While complexity is the main issue encountered by businesses, Roy suggests that a true solution to all business problems would be for companies to adopt 'a combination of business, process and technology', which to a certain extent is true, but is not an entire solution. A technological solution is still possible, while still accounting for the business and the process elements that are so important to a company's development. Technology that is centred around a users specific needs; one that is scalable and can be built around the business, could be the true answer. This keeps the business' main interests central, and also means technology can be adopted with process and future processes in mind, as it allows for any changes the company may encounter, whether these are developments or setbacks.
According to Roy, 'even the best technology can't make up for complicated, difficult to execute processes', but we think it can. A single technological solution could be the answer to successful digital transformation; a virtual interoperable ecosystem with a future focus. An environment that is entirely secure, scalable, and able to be built around you and your company's specific needs. Discover more on our website.