Pragati Verma, Straight Talk Blog, August 27, 2019
Blog originally published on Straight Talk Blog.
The rise of digital twins in the IoT
This piece from Straight Talk Blog, written by Pragati Verma, explores digital twins and how they can be beneficial to businesses, but touches on issues of complexity that can accompany their utilisation and integration. However, this complexity is unnecessary and does not need to be a problem.
At Iotic, we have developed and deployed digital twin technology that enables the comprehensive communication of twins with one another within an entirely secure, interoperable ecosystem. This ecosystem provides a user with a single source of truth about any asset, through a continuously updated river of news, that collates information from brokered interactions between digital twins both internal to the business and from external open data sources.
With this technology, complexity is removed, as it allows all digital twins of a company's assets to be integrated into this one, secure ecosystem, so they can interact with one another, simplifying the integration and utilisation processes.
Digital twins and their integration into your business does not need to be complex or difficult, find out more on our website.
TrimbleMEP, BIM Today, August 27, 2019
Article originally publishes in BIM Today.
What are digital twins?
This article in BIM Today, composed by Trimble MEP, explains the usefulness of digital twins within the construction industry. However, while this article describes digital twins and their uses in a way that does align with our work and views here at Iotic, there are some elements that may be misleading.
To describe a Digital Twin as a 3D model or visualisation of an asset is restricting. A 'true' digital twin is instead an interoperable, virtual version - or copy - of any physical asset or source of data, capable of gathering and sharing information in an entirely secure way.
The overall description given further down in the article about digital twins, following into how they are used in construction, provides a really eloquent explanation of how they function and what they are, but still alludes to them being or aiding in the creation of a model. Yes, a digital twin is 'a digital representation of a physical asset' and 'can automatically update according to adjustments made in the real world.' But the information gained through these continuous updates would not include the 'physical orientation' unless a 3D model was involved.
'Digital twins align the real world with the virtual world and help illuminate the impact the environment has on a given physical asset. When the above technologies culminate, a digital twin is able to learn from multiple sources and automatically adjust to accurately represent the status, condition, and position of its real-world counterpart.' This information can then be used to make predictions and increase overall efficiency and productivity.
Iotic are deploying intelligent digital twins that are able to do all that this article describes, entirely within one interoperable ecosystem. Acquisition of information is simple, as the technology provides the user with one single river of news about any asset through brokered interactions. This allows a company to share and receive data securely from twins internal to the business, as well as from twins of open data sources.
This technology is being used in construction today for example through our work with BAM Nuttall and Cranfield University which you can discover more about via The Learning Camera website.
To find out more about interoperable digital twins and how they can help you and your business, check out our website and get in touch!
Jenn Goodman, Construction Dive, August 19, 2019
Original article published on Construction Dive.
Tech 101: Digital Twins
This article written for Construction Dive by Jenn Goodman explores the functionality of digital twins and how they can be used within the construction industry today, to provide real-time information about any asset, whether this is a single piece of machinery or an entire construction site. They are also able to make predictions about potential faults or failures to avoid disruption to a project and to prevent more serious accidents.
However, this needs to be taken further.
While the majority of this article aligns with our views at Iotic about digital twins and their uses, there are some elements that may be misleading. Goodman describes digital twins as models or visualisations, which is a common misconception. A true digital twin is a virtual version or copy of a physical asset or source of data, that is capable of intelligently interoperating with other digital twins of data sources, whether these are internal to the company itself or open data sources from external organisations. With new advances in technology, these digital twins are able to function within their own entirely secure, interoperable ecosystem, with interactions brokered by the users themselves. This allows a person or company to gather a river of news about any particular asset, giving them a single source of truth from which to draw knowledge. This knowledge gained may be used to monitor and predict faults and failures in machinery so an issue may be fixed as soon as possible, or even before the issue occurs, reducing the risk of accidents and increasing efficiency. This knowledge could also be used to improve customer service as it means a business is able to more easily understand its machinery and any problems that may occur straight away, meaning customer queries can be solved more quickly, and we can begin to diminish the need for complaints to be made altogether.
Digital twin technology is available and is being used in construction today. One example of its use is in Iotic's collaboration with BAM Nuttall and Cranfield University in making The Learning Camera - an intelligent camera that uses digital twin technology to monitor any part of an ongoing construction site and alert to any changes or issues that may occur. You can find out more about this project on The Learning Camera website.
Overall, digital twins have the ability to greatly improve any business today, and are proving their worth in the construction industry right now, increasing efficiency, saving cost and employee time, and increasing overall productivity. Find out more about digital twins, their uses, and how they will help your business, on our website.
Anonymous, Oil and Gas Technology, August 8, 2019
Original article published on Oil and Gas Technology.
How digital twins will drive innovation in the energy sector
Anne-Marie Walters explains, in a great article written for Oil and Gas Technology, how digital twins can be used to improve the energy industry by reducing cost and increasing productivity. Digital twins' ability to be continuously updated makes them invaluable to industries such as the energy sector. This is because it gives them the ability to discover information about any asset in real-time through a constant river of news, meaning they can predict when a fault may occur, optimising the performance of their assets and ensuring the overall smooth running of their business.
Many organisations are keen to utilise digital twin technology, because of the many benefits, but are often overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. Iotic make the process simple, by providing the user with a single app solution - one interoperable ecosystem that integrates all a company's assets and data into one place, allowing them to comprehensively communicate with one another, virtually. Through this ecosystem, a business can collate all the data on any particular asset, whether this is a single piece of machinery or an entire plant, and receive a single river of news about it, accumulating any data from internal and external data sources that may affect the asset. This ensures that the user is able to understand how the asset is functioning and when it might not be working correctly, as well as enabling predictions to be made about the asset based on external factors that may affect its functioning.
This technology is available to you, right now. Find out more on our website.
Ken Briodagh, IoT Evolution, August 15, 2019
Article originally published on IoT Evolution.
Iotic Partners with IET Academy to Deliver E-Learning Course on IoT Security
Because of its increasing concerns about the security (or lack thereof) of the Internet of Things (IoT), the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) Academy has teamed up with UK-based Iotic to develop and release a course titled 'Securing the Internet of Things Networks', the two jointly announced this week. The eight-module e-learning course is designed to provide an insight into the IoT, outlines the basics of cyber security, and describes a framework to protect IoT assets. It reportedly also examines real-world examples of IoT deployments, provides IoT implementation guidance, and examines how to build secure networks.
As enterprises move into finding solutions that introduce interoperability across their organizations and the wider supply chain, the broader threat from insecure data acquisition devices like IoT can't be ignored. The creation of a digital twin-based ecosystem enables IoT devices and their virtual versions, to enhance the technology that companies already hold, rather than threatening them. This is done by allowing the twins of assets, such as previously insecure IoT devices, to intelligently interoperate with one another within this ecosystem, in order to gain and share relevant data and information in an entirely secure way.
"With the rush to market with IoT products and solutions, too often the question of security and integrity is overlooked", said Robin Brattel, CEO, Iotic. "Creating an interoperable ecosystem in which digital twins of assets and devices are able to communicate, means that rather than causing a threat to company security, IoT devices can now complement existing technology."
The course was authored by Dr Adrian Davis, the Lead for Standards and Partnerships at Object, working on global identity solutions using blockchain, and editor for the International Standards Organization and Visiting Professor at Sunderland University.
"The course is designed to help engineers looking to embrace the IoT to become more aware of the issues, so that IoT security is built in at the design phase and is not an afterthought," said Brattel. "The IET Academy's flexible online learning platform ensures that people can improve their knowledge of IoT security 'anytime, anywhere'."
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.