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.