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.