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The Concept

As imaging technologies, Internet-of-Things (IoT) connected devices and data platforms expand in use across industries, the concept of the “Digital Twin” is becoming more and more common place. In short, a Digital Twin is a virtual copy of a thing, system or environment in a computing environment to organize captured and streaming data of that subject of that digital copy. This can help with visualizing plans, monitoring changes and making more informed and timely decisions

One of the industries where Digital Twins is emerging is Construction. An article from PwC provided a great overview of the value of implementing this approach in construction. They highlight that “‘First movers’ in Engineering and Construction will establish new revenue streams, develop customer intimacy and drive standardization and process efficiencies, while reducing the total installed cost of delivering projects and operating those assets on these platforms.” The article does a great job summarizing the potential ROI to be gained through pursuing the technological maturation and innovation necessary to achieve “connected projects models” and obtain the insights from the digital copy of your project.

“All stakeholders in the capital projects ecosystem—project owners, contractors and subcontractors—have generally resisted wide scale adoption of integrated digital tools and platforms to drive project performance. These include advanced analytics, field automation and mobility, 5-D building information modeling (BIM), as well as cloud-based document-management and data-collection tools. It is evident from our research that there are clear examples of E&C contractors and owners successfully reducing costs and improving schedule performance by aggressively pursuing digital solutions, proving that integrated digital solutions and stream-lining business processes are increasing efficiency, transparency and accountability.”

Caletka, A. (n.d.). Capital projects and Digital Twin platform – the connected project. Retrieved August 24, 2020, from https://www.pwc.com/us/en/industries/capital-projects-infrastructure/library/digital-twin-platform-capital-projects.html

The Benefits

Some of the major benefits from adopting Digital Twins include:

  • Identifying, predicting and analyzing Risks
  • Aiding decision-making through simulations
  • Enhancing team coordination and project planning
  • Improving efficiency with access to real time information

This brief video from SAP provides a further explanation of these benefits:

Getting Started

Getting started with Digital Twin technologies doesn’t have to look like a complete technological transformation of your business operations. It can begin with capturing your existing project environment in 3D to provide you with the initial digital copy to serve as your virtual canvas for immersive planning. This can be done with the help of drone imaging and photogrammetry, for outside environments, and 360 degree or VR cameras for interior spaces. The quality of imagery capture and the level of effort required will be determined by the complexity of the space and the amount of detail needed to support effective visualization, analysis and planning. Let us know you would like help exploring your options to implement Digital Twin technology and strategy for your construction or real estate business to begin reducing risks and maximizing profits.