A digital twin refers to a virtual model of a process, product or service. It is a bridge between the physical and digital world. This pairing of the virtual and physical worlds allows analysis of data and monitoring of systems to identify problems before they even occur, prevent downtime, develop new opportunities and even plan for the future by using simulations.
Digital twins, by enabling simulations have the potential to bring damages caused due to both natural and man-made disasters to almost zero. They can help the citizens lead a safer life. For instance, in case of infrastructures where there is supposed to be lot of footfall, by using pedestrian simulation software, we can predict when and where there will be more congestion. By bringing in requisite changes in the digital model of the infrastructure, it is possible to achieve higher safety, efficiency, & less operational costs in building and maintaining the asset.
Digital twins also generate higher quality of data that helps in making more informed decisions. As Greg Bentley, CEO, Bentley Systems shared at YII2018, “Digital twins lead to better quality data and in turn better management and maintenance of assets. We need to go beyond BIM in construction.”
Digital twins are a necessity if we want to provide better life to citizens, achieve sustainable urban development and most importantly create a safer world. By connecting information and insights through the entire construction project lifecycle, a digital twin enables the stakeholders to foresee situations and take preventive measures to avoid any fallouts later. This leads to creation of stronger, safer infrastructure in the actual world.
Thankfully, infrastructure asset owners are increasingly recognizing the potential for leveraging digital twins along with the application of analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning in simulations and decision support throughout the lifecycle of design, construction, and operations.
Merely capturing and representing physical conditions, including IoT inputs, can never be sufficient to understand, analyze, or model intended improvements. It is necessary to comprehend the “digital DNA” captured in the project or asset’s engineering specifications. This is what Bentley Systems is largely enabling.
So, how does a digital twin function?
To start with, smart components using sensors, gather data about real-time status, working condition, or position. These components are then connected to a cloud-based system that receives and processes all the data the sensors monitor. As this input is analyzed against business and other contextual data, lessons are learned and opportunities are uncovered within the virtual environment. These learning when applied to the physical world help in building more resilient infrastructure.
The benefits of creating a digital twin are numerous, and that’s why this is becoming a popular practice in the realm of construction and engineering. To understand in depth how digital twins are aiding in connecting information and insights through the entire construction project lifecycle and thus helping the construction industry build stronger infrastructure, attend relevant sessions at the Geospatial World Forum 2019. Register today to save up to €400.