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The climate emergency and the transition to a net zero economy means businesses, governments and individuals need access to new information to ensure that we can mitigate and adapt to the effects of environmental and climate change. Environmental Intelligence will be a critical tool in tackling the climate and ecological crises, and will support us as we move towards more sustainable interaction with the natural environment, and delivery of net zero.
Environmental Intelligence is a fast-developing new field that brings together Environmental data and knowledge with Artificial Intelligence to provide the meaningful insight to inform decision-making, improved risk management, and the technological innovation that will lead us towards a sustainable interaction with the natural environment. It is inherently inter-disciplinary and brings together research in environment, climate, society, economics, human health, complex eco-systems, data science and AI.
The Joint Centre for Excellence in Environmental Intelligence (JCEEI) is a world-leading collaboration between the UK Met Office and the University of Exeter, together with The Alan Turing Institute and other strategic regional and national collaborators. This centre of excellence brings together internationally renowned expertise and assets in climate change and biodiversity, with data science, digital innovation, artificial intelligence and high-performance computing.
The JCEEI’s Climate Impacts Mitigation, Adaption and Resilience (CLIMAR) framework uses Data Science and AI to integrate multiple sources of data to quantify and visualise the risks of climate change on populations, infrastructure and the economy in a form that will be accessible to a wide variety of audiences, including policy makers, businesses and the public.
CLIMAR is based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC; https://www.ipcc.ch) risk model that conceptualises the risk of climate-related impacts as the result of the interaction of climate-related hazards (including hazardous events and trends) with the vulnerability and exposure of human and natural systems.  Hazards are defined as ‘the potential occurrence of a natural or human-induced physical event or trend or physical impact that may cause loss of life, injury, or other health impacts as well as manage and loss to property, infrastructure, livelihoods, service proposition, ecosystems, and environmental services.’; exposures ‘The presence of people, livelihoods, species or ecosystems, environmental functions, services, and resource, infrastructure, or economic, social or cultural assets in places and settings that could be adversely affected.’; and vulnerability ‘The propensity or predisposition to be adversely affected’, which encompasses sensitivity or susceptibility to harm and lack of capacity to cope and adapt.
A mathematical model is used to express the risk of a climate related impact, e.g. an adverse health outcome associated with increased temperatures or a building flooding in times of increased precipitation. Risk is defined as the probability that an event happens in a defined time period and location and is a combination of the probabilities of the hazard occurring together with probability models for exposure and vulnerability. In the simplest case, the probabilities (of hazard, exposure and vulnerability) would be treated as independent, but in reality the situation is much more complex and the different components will often be dependent on each other), which requires conditional probability models to be used. For example people’s exposures to environmental hazards (e.g. air pollution) may be dependent on their vulnerability (e.g. existing health conditions.
The UKCP18 high-resolution climate projections are used to inform models for hazards and provide information on how the climate of the UK may change over the 21st century (https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/approach/collaboration/ukcp/index). This enables the exploration of future changes in daily and hourly extremes (e.g. storms, summer downpours, severe wind gusts), hydrological impacts modelling (e.g. flash floods) and climate change for cities (e.g. urban extremes). The headline results from UKCP18 are a greater chance of warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers, along with an increase in the frequency and intensity of extremes. By the end of the 21st century, all areas of the UK are projected to be warmer and hot summers are expected to become more common. The projections also suggest significant increases in hourly precipitation extremes, with the rainfall associated with an event that occurs typically once every 2 years increasing by 25%, and the frequency of days with hourly rainfall > 30 mm/h almost doubling, by the 2070s; increasing from the UK average of once every 10 years now to almost once every 5 years.
CLIMAR is currently being used in a range of real-world applications based on the UKCP18 projections across sectors that will be affected by changes in the climate, including energy system security, telecommunications, critical infrastructure, water and sewage networks, and health. Two examples are:
working with Bristol City Council on the effects of climate change on urban heat, inequalities between population groups and the efficacy of methods for adapting building stock (e.g. improved ventilation, double glazing) to keep people cool, and safe, in periods of extreme heat;
  working with a consortium led by the National Digital Twin Programme and the Centre for Digital Built Britain to develop a Climate Resilience Demonstrator, integrating climate projections with asset information and operational models to develop a Digital Twin that can be used to assess the future risks of flooding on critical infrastructure including energy, communications and water and sewage networks. This will provide a step-change in our understanding of the potential effects of climate change on critical infrastructure and demonstrates the power of inter-disciplinary partnerships, spanning academia and industry, that will be crucial in unlocking the enormous potential for Digital Twins to enhance our resilience to climate change across a wide variety of sectors. For further information on CLIMAR and associated projects, please see https://jceei.org/projects/climar/ and for information on the National Digital Twin Climate Resilience Demonstrator (CreDo) see https://digitaltwinhub.co.uk/projects/credo/
Ahead of the inaugural General Assembly of the Global BIM Network, Adam Mathews, Head of International, Centre for Digital Built Britain and Chair of the Global BIM Network, sets out the benefits of collaboration between public sector organisations to advance the digital transformation of the construction sector and the built environment.  
Attend the General Assembly of the Global BIM Network 2 December 2021
Registration is free - click here.
 The Global BIM Network brings together public sector organisations from countries in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia and Australia to accelerate the digitalisation of the built environment through the use of BIM across the construction and infrastructure sector. This collaborative approach aims to create better outcomes for all people and places.

Building on the Network’s mission to support international public sector representatives and multilateral organisations on the road to digitalisation, the Call for Knowledge went live in August this year. Ongoing, the Call for Knowledge is building an open access online repository and evidence base – the Global BIM Network’s Information Collection– comprising submissions of informative and valuable resources from across the global public sector, to include guidance documentation, protocols, operational manuals, case studies, tools, training materials and other references that share knowledge of local, national and regional digital transformation journeys.
By working together and sharing best practice, knowledge and experience, all countries and regions that are part of the Global BIM Network can advance digitalisation strategies that deliver more sustainable, efficient and cost-effective infrastructure to communities around the world. This collaborative approach also avoids duplication of efforts and fosters common standards and policies to increase shared global benefits.
The Network is growing. The launch at the online Global BIM Summit in March 2021 saw public sector representatives speak about their in-country experiences implementing BIM and the societal benefits including improved transparency, efficiency, sustainability and resilience. Importantly, the Network provides policy makers and infrastructure investors with an opportunity to come together to discuss the challenges and identify common solutions with peers around the world.
Further extending the our reach, next month marks the Network’s first General Assembly meeting where the Global BIM Network’s Roadmap for the Global Built Environment will be presented to public and private sector representatives from more than 40 countries across the world. The Roadmap has been co-created by Network members to support public sector leadership efforts to collaborate with industry on the critical opportunity of digitalisation in response to the pandemic. It aims to drive inclusive growth through capacity building and knowledge transfer across borders. The programme of work will be delivered collectively by the Network and will amplify current bilateral and regional efforts to harmonise digital technical standards, promoting the sharing of best practice for infrastructure policy, investment and procurement. This, in turn, will enable private sector companies to work with each other, growing commercial opportunities and ultimately, to better deliver the world’s infrastructure.
The General Assembly will convene policy makers, public procurers and infrastructure investors in three panel sessions. The first of these will discuss the strategic development of cost benefit methodologies that demonstrate the value of BIM implementation in public sector funded projects. The second will turn to procurement practices around the world, from developing a national or subnational strategy at the policy level to deliver better infrastructure through BIM and information management, to practical steps to implementing BIM through public procurement. The third panel will consider how government and industry are working together to drive benefits for people and places providing an overview of developing national strategies to deliver better infrastructure through BIM.
The panels feature key representatives from the EU BIM Task Group, Inter-American Development Bank, Office of Projects Victoria in Australia, Public Services and Procurement Canada, Planbim CORFO in Chile, National Institute of Building Sciences in the USA, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in the UK, the Ministry of Housing, City and Territory, Colombia, and UNOPS. An opportunity to hear from public sector leaders from across the world and to gain valuable insights into the global sector’s digital transition, the General Assembly is a moment to reflect on the leadership shown by the public sector on this agenda and to look ahead to the next phase.
I very much hope you will join us at the General Assembly and be a part of the Global BIM Network. When countries collaborate to advance their digital transformation initiatives for the built environment, the benefits are there to be shared. 
Related links: 
• Register to attend the free online General Assembly of the Global BIM Network, 2 December, 14.00 GMT, 09.00 EST, 15.00 CET, 19.00 IST, 23.00 JST here.
• Read more about General Assembly speakers and moderators here.
 • Contribute to the Global BIM Network’s Call for Knowledge here.
 • The Global BIM Network is supported by the UK Government's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the Construction Innovation Hub and global partners, including, the Inter-American Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), EU BIM Task Group and the BIM Network of Latin American Governments. The UK’s Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) is the delivery partner and convener for the UK.
When we travel by train, we expect that we will arrive at our destination safely and on time. Safety and performance of their service network is therefore a key priority for Network Rail. Our latest video in the Digital Twin Journeys series tells the story of how researchers have inherited two intensively instrumented bridges and are transforming that high volume and velocity of data into a digital twin showing the wear and pressures on the bridges, as well as other information that can help the asset owners predict when maintenance will be required and meet their key priorities.
Remote monitoring has several benefits over using human inspectors alone. Sensors reduce the subjectivity of monitoring. Factors such as light levels, weather and variations in alertness can change the subjective assessments made by human inspectors. They may also be able to identify issues arising before visual inspection can detect them by monitoring the stresses on the bridge. A human inspector will still be sent to site to follow up on what the remote sensing has indicated, and engineers will of course still need to perform maintenance. However, remote monitoring allows the asset owners to be smarter about how these human resources are deployed. 
One important insight for Network Rail is based on more accurate data about the loads the bridges are experiencing, and the research team have developed a combination of sensors to make a Bridge Weigh-In-Motion (B-WIM) Technology. As shown in the video, a combination of tilt sensors, bridge deformation and axle location sensors to calculate the weight of passing trains. As the accuracy of weight prediction data is impacted by changes to ambient humidity and temperature, sensors were added that detect these factors as well. Accelerometers were added to calculate rotational restraints at the boundary conditions to improve the accuracy of weight predictions and cameras were installed so that passing trains can be categorised by analysing the video footage.   
The digital twin of the Staffordshire Bridges centres on a physics-based model for conducting structural analysis and load-carrying capacity assessments. The site-specific information, such as realistic loading conditions obtained by the sensors, will be fed into the physics-based model to simulate the real structure and provide the outputs of interest. A digital twin replica of the structure will be able to provide bridge engineers with any parameter of interest anywhere on the structure, including in non-instrumented locations.
All of the sensors on these bridges produce a high volume of data at a high velocity. Without data curation, we could easily be overwhelmed by the volume of data they produce, but the research team is learning to narrow down to managing the right data in ways that provide the right insights at the right time. Working with Network Rail, this project will demonstrate the use of real-time data analytics integrated with digital twins to provide useful information to support engineers and asset managers to schedule proactive maintenance programmes and optimise future designs, increasing safety and reliability across their whole portfolio of assets. 
You can read more from the Staffordshire Bridges project by visiting their research profile.
This research forms part of the Centre for Digital Built Britain’s (CDBB) work at the University of Cambridge. It was enabled by the Construction Innovation Hub, of which CDBB is a core partner, and funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).
To see more from the Digital Twin Journeys series, see the homepage on the CDBB website.

A new infographic, enabled by the Construction Innovation Hub, is published today to bring to life a prototype digital twin of the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) on the West Cambridge campus. Xiang Xie and Henry Fenby-Taylor discuss the infographic and lessons learned from the project.
The research team for the West Cambridge Digital Twin project has developed a digital twin that allows various formats of building data to function interoperably, enabling better insights and optimisation for asset managers and better value per whole life Pound.  
The graphic centres the asset manager as a decision maker as a vital part of this process, and illustrates that each iteration improves the classification and refinement of the data. It also highlights challenges and areas for future development, showing that digital twin development is an ongoing journey, not finite destination. 
The process of drawing data from a variety of sources into a digital twin and transforming it into insights goes through an iterative cycle of:  
Sense/Ingest - use sensor arrays to collect data, or draw on pre-existing static data, e.g. a geometric model of the building  Classify - label, aggregate, sort and describe data  Refine - select what data is useful to the decision-maker at what times and filter it into an interface designed to provide insights  Decide – use insights to weigh up options and decide on further actions  Act/Optimise - feed changes and developments to the physical and digital twins to optimise both building performance and the effectiveness of the digital twin at supporting organisational goals.  Buildings can draw data from static building models, quasi-dynamic building management systems and smart sensors, all with different data types, frequencies and formats. This means that a significant amount of time and resources are needed to manually search, query, verify and analyse building data that is scattered across different databases, and this process can lead to errors. 
The aim of the West Cambridge Digital Twin research facility project is to integrate data from these various sources and automate the classification and refinement for easier, more timely decision-making. In their case study, the team has created a digital twin based on a common data environment (CDE) that is able to integrate data from a variety of sources. The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) schema is used to capture the building geometry information, categorising building zones and the components they contain. Meanwhile, a domain vocabulary and taxonomy describe how the components function together as a system to provide building services. 
The key to achieving this aim was understanding the need behind the building management processes already in place. This meant using the expertise and experience of the building manager to inform the design of a digital twin that was useful and usable within those processes. This points to digital twin development as a socio-technical project, involving culture change, collaboration and alignment with strategic aims, as well as technical problem solving.
In the future, the team wants to develop twins that can enhance the environmental and economic performance of buildings. Further research is also needed to improve the automation at the Classify and Refine stages so they continue to get better at recognising what information is needed to achieve organisational goals. 
You can read more from the West Cambridge Digital Twin project by visiting their research profile. 
This research forms part of the Centre for Digital Built Britain’s (CDBB) work at the University of Cambridge. It was enabled by the Construction Innovation Hub, of which CDBB is a core partner, and funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).  
To see more from the Digital Twin Journeys series, see the homepage on the CDBB website.
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NDTp November 2021 Editorial - Continuity through change

Continuity through change
I have recently passed the mark of having led the Digital Twin Hub for 2 years from its point of inception to passing its 3000-member point. It has been a hugely exciting and rewarding endeavour one of which I have been hugely passionate about and had the privilege to learn from a huge amount from. Digital Twins are crucial to a sustainable and prosperous future and the Digital Twin hub has provided a forum for a community to centralise to support this aim. What is clear is the huge value in the community and the real enthusiasm there is to see this area develop further. Just as when we started, we still maintain the mantra of progressing through sharing and succeeding together. Today, however marks a change in the guard as I look to step back from leading the digital twin hub as my own family looks to grow.
To ensure continuity, I am passing the baton as DT Hub Chair to Tom Hughes, who will be taking over from me in mid-November. Tom has been invaluable as our DT Hub Delivery Lead and an integral part of getting us to where we are. As a subject matter expert in this space, he has been able to accurately understand and represent the perspectives of the community. He’s also very technically focused which has been crucial in terms of progressing the Hub as a technical platform. He’s very well placed to provide a good perspective on how we progress in this next stage of the DT Hub. I asked him what his priorities were coming in to this new role:
“I am proud of the achievements that we have made over the last two years; connecting people, enabling the sharing of knowledge and continual improvement of the DT Hub platform itself. These continue as my core priorities, and I hope to enable the DT Hub community to flourish.”
Community engagement
A very welcome new addition to the team is Claire Dowdall, our Community Manager who has a wealth of experience running online communities. She is already busy embedding herself in the community and is here to support members, encourage collaboration and provide an excellent experience for everyone. Do contact her with any questions or suggestions or just to introduce yourself as she would love to hear from you.
Digital twin roadblocks
We hosted the first of our workshops drilling down in to some of the main challenges in digital twin adoption. Participants generated 105 roadblocks in total, demonstrating the real need there is for collaboration on solving these issues. These were further narrowed down in to 5 main roadblocks:
Data issues Governance and guidance Vision and value Need and want Readiness There was plenty of discussion both in the workshop and on the DT Hub discussion thread afterwards and it’s not too late to chime in with your own experience and add anything you feel is missing. The next workshops will focus on prioritising these challenges and looking at how as a community we can solve them.
Smart Infrastructure Index
For the second year running we’ve  just launched this extremely useful tool for DT Hub members to measure their digital maturity and benchmark progress against peers. It takes just 15 minutes to complete and you will receive an instant personalised report including a score and targeted recommendations. If you haven’t already, now is the chance to Start your Smart Infrastructure Index assessment here. 
A goodbye from me
It is on this note that I wish to express my sincere thanks to both the team at the National Digital Twin Programme and the community in enabling and allowing me to support this initiative. It’s been my absolute privilege to be involved in a project that has such potential to deliver huge value. When I think of where we were when we started to where we are today it is quite amazing. I have particularly enjoyed taking part in all of the conferences, talks and events we have been able to deliver over the last two years and seeing it surpass its 3000th member was something I didn't imagine to see so soon.
It has been fantastic to be part of progressing something I have genuinely believed in and working alongside some incredible people. It’s a great team and special thanks go to @Alexandra Robasto who has really been the lynch pin that has held the hub together. 
Digital twins enable asset owners to use better information at the right time to make better decisions. Exploring the early stages of a digital twin journey – understanding the information need – are Staffordshire Bridges researcher Dr Farhad Huseynov and Head of Information Management Henry Fenby-Taylor.
Network Rail manages over 28,000 bridges, with many being more than 150 years old. The primary means of evaluating the condition of the bridges is through two assessment programmes; visual examination and Strength Capability Assessment. Every conceivable form of bridge construction is represented across Network Rail’s portfolio of assets, from simple stone slabs to large estuary crossings, such as the Forth Bridge. Managing a portfolio of this diversity with frequent and extensive assessments is a considerable challenge.
Condition monitoring
The current process for condition monitoring involves visual examination by engineers and takes place every year, along with a more detailed examination every six years. The visual inspection provides a qualitative outcome and does not directly predict the bridge strength; it is conducted to keep a detailed record of visible changes that may indicate deterioration. The load-carrying capacity of bridges is evaluated every five years through a Strength Capability Assessment, conducted in three levels of detail:
Level 1 is the simplest, using safety assumptions known to be conservatively over-cautious (i.e. 1-dimensional structural idealisation). Level 2 involves refined analysis and better structural idealisation (i.e. grillage model). This level may also include the use of data on material strength based on recent material tests, etc. Level 3 is the most sophisticated level of assessment, requiring bridge-specific traffic loading information based on a statistical model of the known traffic.  Understanding the information and insights that asset owners require helps shape what data is needed and how frequently it should be collected – two essential factors in creating infrastructure that is genuinely smart. During the discussions with Network Rail, the research team found that Level 3 assessment is only used in exceptional circumstances. This is because there is no active live train load monitoring system on the network; hence there is no site-specific traffic loading information available for the majority of bridges. Instead, bridges failing Level 2 assessment are typically put under weight and/or speed restrictions, reducing their ability to contribute to the network. This means that there is potentially huge value in providing Level 3 assessment at key sites with greater frequency.
Digital twins for condition assessment
The Stafford Area Improvement Programme was setup to remove a bottleneck in the West Coast Main Line that resulted in high-speed trains being impeded by slower local passenger and goods trains. To increase network capacity and efficiency, a major upgrade of the line was undertaken, including the construction of 10 new bridges. Working with Atkins, Laing O’Rourke, Volker Rail and Network Rail, a research team including the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC), the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) and the Laing O’Rourke (LOR) Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology at the University of Cambridge is collaborating with Network Rail to find a digital twin solution for effective condition monitoring.
Two bridges in the scheme were built with a variety of different sensors to create a prototype that would enable the team to understand their condition, performance and utilisation. Both bridges were densely instrumented with fibre optic sensors during construction, enabling the creation of a digital twin of the bridges in use. The digital twin’s objective is to provide an effective condition monitoring tool for asset and route managers, using the sensor array to generate data and derive insights.
Identifying challenges and solutions
Meetings were held with key stakeholders including route managers and infrastructure engineers at Network Rail to learn the main challenges they face in maintaining their bridge stock, and to discover what information they would ideally like to obtain from an effective condition monitoring tool. The team liaised closely with the key stakeholders throughout to make sure that they were developing valuable insights.
Through discussions with Network Rail about the team’s work on the two instrumented bridges in the Staffordshire Bridges project the following fundamental issues and expected outcomes were identified:
A better understanding of asset risks: How can these be predicted? What precursors can be measured and detected? A better understanding of individual asset behaviour Development of sensor technology with a lifespan and maintenance requirement congruent with the assets that they are monitoring How structural capability be calculated instantly on the receipt of new data from the field Development of a holistic system for the overall health monitoring and prognosis of structures assets Realistic traffic population data in the UK railway network. (Can this be predicted with sufficient accuracy for freight control and monitoring purposes?) To address these issues, the team instrumented one of the bridges with the following additional sensors, which, combined, produce a rich dataset:
Rangefinder sensors to obtain the axle locations. A humidity and temperature sensor to improve the accuracy of weight predictions against variations in ambient temperature. Accelerometers to calculate rotational restraints at the boundary conditions and therefore improve the accuracy of weight predictions. Cameras to categorise passing trains.  
Data from these sensors feeds into a finite element model structural analysis digital twin that interprets the data and provides a range of insights about the performance of the bridge and the actual strain it has been put under.
Applying insights to other bridges
Significantly, information from the instrumented bridge sites is relevant to adjacent bridges on the same line. Having one bridge instrumented on a specific route would enable Level 3 assessment for other structures in their portfolio and those of other asset owners, including retaining walls, culverts, and other associated structures. Just as the new bridges relieved a service bottleneck, digital twins can resolve procedural and resource bottlenecks by enabling insights to be drawn about the condition of other assets that weren’t instrumented.
This is a valuable insight for those developing their own digital twins, because given that one bridge is instrumented it follows that where trains cannot have diverted course, then any other bridges along that same stretch of track will be undergoing the same strain from the same trains. This insight will enable teams implementing sensors to be able to efficiently implement a sensor network across their own assets.
One of the outcomes of the Staffordshire Bridges project is development towards a holistic approach for the overall health monitoring and prognosis of bridge stocks. Such changes improve workforce safety by reducing the requirement for costly site visits while maintaining a healthy bridge network.
You can read more from the Staffordshire Bridges project by visiting their research profile.
This research forms part of the Centre for Digital Built Britain’s (CDBB) work at the University of Cambridge. It was enabled by the Construction Innovation Hub, of which CDBB is a core partner, and funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). 
To keep up with the Digital Twin Journeys project, check out the Digital Twin Journeys home page.
‘CReDo is a small step to something potentially huge. It is something tangible that people can see and interact with, taking away the mystique of digital twins’, Matt Webb, Head of Enterprise Data, UK Power Networks
The message coming out of the National Digital Twin programme’s webinar, ‘Increasing our climate resilience through connected digital twins’, is that working together is vital for safeguarding our future. The CReDo project leads the way in showing how collaboration and the sharing of data can dramatically improve our resilience to extreme weather conditions caused by climate change.
Held at the same time as the COP26 climate conference, the webinar on 2 November 2021 launched the Climate Resilience Demonstrator (CReDo) to over 220 attendees from 17 countries and multiple industry sectors. It introduced the CReDo team and collaboration partners and covered the scope of the project, also hosting a panel interview and open Q&A session.
Chaired by Arup’s Global Digital Energy / Digital Twin Leader and Gemini Call Chair, Simon Evans, the event began with the internet premiere of the new CReDo film, a poignant piece about the climate emergency and how it affects us all, especially the most vulnerable. The film offers a view of a world where engineers can make critical decisions based on data from connected digital twins, and improve resilience in a way which makes a difference to people’s lives. 
CReDo project lead, Sarah Hayes, reflected on the reality of the film and explained how CReDo is developing a climate change adaptation digital twin looking at the impact of flooding on infrastructure interdependencies across energy, water and telecoms networks. Alongside, Sarah introduced the CReDo app, produced by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI UK), which invites users to see how connected digital twins can change outcomes for those faced with extreme weather in the fictional town of Sunford City. Sarah explained how the app has been developed to show what a CReDo digital twin can do and that both the film and the app are based on the same fictional storm Ruby, a storm caused by climate change. The app was developed with manufactured data to present a realistic scenario that asset owners could be faced with.
Behind the scenes, the technical team is working with the real data to develop the CReDo digital twin. CReDo Technical Architect, Tom Collingwood summarised the key elements of the project, which bring together climate projection data with flood data, and asset data to calculate system impact to inform a greater understanding of the system effects caused by asset failure. These insights can then be used to inform decisions concerning operational and capital planning to increase resilience across the infrastructure system as a whole. The digital twin demonstrator will show the bigger picture about what can be achieved through knowledge exchange and cross-sectoral cooperation. ‘We’re talking about people, and that’s what matters at the end of the day,’ Tom said, bringing his presentation on the challenges and successes of CReDo’s technical approach to a close.
CReDo project partners, represented by Tom Burgoyne, Anglian Water; Louise Krug, BT; Matt Webb, UK Power Networks; and Tamar Loach, Connected Places Catapult, agree that the ambition relies on close collaboration and a joined-up approach to make it work. Data sharing between networks, enabled using an information management framework, will help us to create resilient infrastructure systems and allow us to adapt to extreme weather events caused by climate change. The active Q&A session underlined the need for the CReDo approach, emphasising the opportunities that joined-up systems and processes can deliver to this sector and others in reducing risk. Robin Pinning from the Hartree Centre, part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, noted the need for culture change in understanding and in recognising the value of data, along with a drive for investment. One further topic, data security, is also at the forefront of everyone’s minds and CReDo is working towards establishing the framework to cover technical, legal, procedural and security concerns and applying federated access protocols.
‘Data and information are going to be key in mitigating climate change. Bringing that data together in digital twins is going to propel us to enhance resilience,’ Gavin Shaddick, Joint Centre for Excellence in Environmental Intelligence
The expectation is that CReDo will be scalable to other networks, contexts and locations. Gavin spoke live from COP26, having seen at the conference a real understanding that data sharing in order to inform a bigger picture view is an important theme in developing resilience, adaptation and the pathway to Net Zero.
There is no doubt that there will be technical challenges but desire for cross-sector collaboration for data sharing is growing fast. Gavin told the webinar, ‘Work that is going into CReDo on data interoperability and information management is directly transferable and this will make connecting digital twins much easier, both from the technological point of view and the learning in the non-technical aspects including data sharing agreements, how these are formulated and how to involve people in wide interdisciplinary groups’. Robert Pinning supports this view and believes that the project will translate easily to industry and the public sector, acting to speed up adoption of new projects and use cases.
‘There is a need to develop more use cases like CReDo to show the value that can be derived from digital twins,’ Tamar Loach, Technology Initiative Director, Connected Places Catapult.
Ultimately, demonstrating the value will be down to collaborative effort across academia and industry, public and private sectors, within regions and nations, and globally. As this climate resilience project and similar use cases for connected digital twins catalyse action and enable change, then as a society we will be better positioned to adapt and respond to the challenges that face us.
The CReDo team at the National Digital Twin programme would like to thank Simon Evans, the invited panel and the webinar guests for their valuable contributions at this event.
For more information, contact Rachel Judson, credo@cdbb.cam.ac.uk
Watch the webinar recording:
View the CReDo film and try the app
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Developing new services: How digital twins can realise their true potential

The bigger and more complicated the engineering problem, the more likely it is to have a digital twin. Firms that build rockets, planes and ships, for example, have been creating digital twins since the early 2000s, seeing significant operational efficiencies and cost-savings as a result. To date, however, few firms have been able to realise the full potential of this technology by using it to develop new value-added services for their customers. This article describes a framework designed to help scale the value of digital twins beyond operational efficiency towards new revenue streams.
In spite of the hype surrounding digital twins, there is little guidance for executives to help them make sense of the business opportunities the technology presents, beyond cost savings and operational efficiencies. 
Many businesses are keen to get a greater return on their digital twins’ investment by capitalising on the innovation – and revenue generating - opportunities that may arise from a deeper understanding of how customers use their products. However, because very few firms are making significant progress in this regard, there is no blueprint to follow. New business models are evolving but the business opportunities for suppliers, technology partners and end-users is yet to be fully documented. 
Most businesses will be familiar with the business model canvas as a tool to identify current and future business model opportunities. Our 4 Values (4Vs) framework for digital twins is a more concise version of the tool, developed to help executives better understand potential new business models. It was designed from a literature review and validated and modified through industry interviews. 
The 4Vs framework covers: the value proposition for the product or service being offered, the value architecture or the infrastructure that the firm creates and maintains in order to generate sustainable revenues; the value network representing the firm’s infrastructure and network of partners needed to create value and to maintain good customer relationships; and value finance such as cost and revenue structures. 
Four types of digital twin business models
From extensive interviews with middle and top management on services offered by digital twins, we identified four different types of business models and applied our 4Vs approach to understand how those models are configured and how they generate value. 
These were all found in information, data and system services industries. Their value proposition is to provide a data marketplace that orchestrates the different players in the ecosystem and provides anonymised performance data from, for example, vehicle engines or heating systems for buildings. Value Finance consists of recurring monthly revenues levied through a platform which itself takes a fee and allocates gives the rest according to the partnership arrangements.
This business model is prevalent in the world of complex assets, such as chemical processing plants and buildings. Its value proposition lies in providing additional insights to the customer on the maintenance of their assets to provide just-in-time services. What-if analysis and scenario planning are used to augment the services provided with the physical asset that is sold. Value Architecture is both open and closed, as these firms play in ecosystems but also create their own. They control the supply chain, how they design the asset, how they test it and deliver it. The Value Network consists of strategic partners in process modelling, 3D visualisation, CAD, infrastructure and telecommunications. Value Finance includes software and services which provide a good margin within a subscription model. Clients are more likely to take add-on services that show significant cost savings.
Uptime assurers 
This business model tends to be found in the transport sector, where it’s important to maximise the uptime of the aircraft, train or vehicle. 
The value proposition centres on keeping these vehicles operational, either through   predictive maintenance for vehicle/aircraft fleet management and, in the case of HGVs, route optimisation. Value Architecture is transitioning from closed to open ecosystems. There are fewer lock-in solutions as customers increasingly want an ecosystems approach. Typically, it is distributors, head offices and workshops that interact with the digital twin rather than the end-customer. The Value Network is open at the design and assembly lifecycle stages but becomes closed during sustainment phases. For direct customers digital twins are built in-house and are therefore less reliant on third-party solutions. Value Finance is focused on customers paying a fee to maximise the uptime of the vehicle or aircraft, guaranteeing, for example, access five days a week between certain hours. 
Mission assurers
This business model focuses on delivering the necessary outcome to the customers. It tends to be found with government clients in the defense and aerospace sector. Value propositions are centered around improving efficacy of support and maintenance/ operator insight and guaranteeing mission success or completion. These business models suffer from a complex landscape of ownership for integrators of systems as much of the data does not make it to sustainment stages. 
Value Architecture is designed to deliver a series of digital threads in a decentralised manner. Immersive technologies are used for training purposes or improved operator experience. Value Network is more closed than open as these industries focus on critical missions of highly secure assets. Therefore, service providers are more security minded and careful of relying on third-party platforms for digital twin services. Semi-open architecture is used to connect to different hierarchies of digital twins/digital threads. Value Finance revealed that existing pricing models, contracts and commercial models are not yet necessarily mature enough to transition into platform-based revenue models. Insights as a service is a future direction but challenging at the moment, with the market not yet mature for outcome-based pricing.
For B2B service-providers who are looking to generate new revenue from their digital twins, it is important to consider how the business model should be configured and identify major barriers to their success. Our research found that the barriers most often cited were cost, cybersecurity, cultural acceptance of the technology, commercial or market needs and, perhaps most significantly, a lack of buy-in from business leaders. Our 4Vs framework has been designed to help those leaders arrive at a better understanding of the business opportunities digital twin services can provide. We hope this will drive innovation and help digital twins realise their full business potential.  
Our research to date has been through in-depth qualitative interviews across industry but we wish to expand this research and gather quantitative information on specific business model outcomes from digital twins across industry. 
If you would like to support this research and learn more about the business model outcomes from digital twins, then please participate in our survey! 
Take part in our survey here:     https://cambridge.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0PXRkrDsXwtCnXg 
Information sheet.pdf
Like many companies Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin group, is investing heavily in digital transformation and we all know that skills are a key enabler.  We wanted to be clear about the skills needed by our workforce to be able to deliver digitally.  The starting point was finding out what digital skills we have in the company.  Then we could identify gaps and how we might bridge them.
But what are digital skills…and how do we measure them?
As we pondered this, we realised that there were many, many challenges we would need to address.  Atkins is a ‘broad church’ comprising many professionals and technical specialisms.  Digital transformation is challenging the business in many different ways.  Articulating a single set of digital skills that reflects needs across the business is complicated by language, terminology and digital maturity.  Furthermore, unlike corporate engagement surveys, there is no established industry baseline that we can use to benchmark our corporate digital skills against.  To evaluate a skills gap would require an estimate of both the quantity and types of skills that will be required in the future – something that is far from certain given our industry’s vulnerability to disruption.
We knew we were trying to grasp something universal and not sector or domain specific, so this is the definition we decided to use: Digital skills enable the individual to apply new/digital technology in their professional domain. 
That left the question around how we measure Digital Skills.
We did some research and explored several frameworks including Skills For the Information Age (SFIA), the EU Science Hub’s DigiComp and the DQ Institute’s framework.  As we were doing this, we became aware that the CDBB Skills and Competence Framework (SCF) was being launched and we immediately sensed it could be just what we were looking for. 
Why?  Apart from being right up to date, it has a simple and straightforward structure and is capable to be tailored for an organisation.  The proficiency levels are very recognisable - Awareness, Practitioner, Working and Expert - and it is in the public domain.  But most importantly it seemed like a good fit because most of what we do at Atkins is in some way related to infrastructure and therefore is within the domain of digital twins. 
But we needed to test that fit.  Our hypothesis was “…that the CDBB SCF had sufficient skills to represent the ability of our staff”.  We tested this with a survey, interviews, and a series of workshops.
In the survey we looked at how individuals from different groups in the company (differentiated by their use of technology) understood the 12 skill definitions and the extent to which they needed and used each skill in their day-to-day role.  We also explored whether there were other digital skills that respondents felt were not recognised by the framework. We followed up the survey with interviews to clarify some of the responses and then used workshops to play back our findings and sense-check the conclusions.
Our overall conclusion was that we had good evidence to support our hypothesis, i.e. that the CDBB SCF was a good fit for our workforce.  However, we realized we would need to bring the indicators to life so that users could relate them to their roles, particularly with people at the Awareness and Working Levels.  This is not unexpected.  Generally, people with lower levels of competence don’t know what they don’t know. 
Another conclusion was that we needed a fifth, null competency indicator to recognise that not everyone needs to know about everything.
In terms of next steps, we are working with a supplier to develop an online assessment tool so that we can apply the framework at scale.  We have rewritten the skills definitions and competence indicators to omit any reference to the NDT programme etc. although these were very minor changes.
We are working on ways to bring the skill level indicators to life for our employees e.g. through guidance materials, FAQs etc.  We’re also developing an initial ‘rough and ready’ set of learning materials related to each of the digital indicators at Awareness and Practitioner levels.  We expect the CDBB’s Training Skills Register to feature prominently in this!
Some of things we have parked for the moment are: (1) Moderation and accreditation of the assessments.  Our first wave will be self-assessed only, and (2) Integrating the skills into role definitions.
We’re very grateful to CDBB for the timely creation of the SCF and I look forward to sharing our onward journey with the DT Hub community.
Digital twins can help organisations achieve various goals. In some cases, the end goal is for buildings and infrastructure to last longer, use less energy, and be safer. In others, it is enhancing the lives of people who interact with the built environment and its services. As highlighted by the Gemini Principles, these are not mutually exclusive aims, so wherever you are on your digital twin journey, it is important to consider other perspectives on the hybrid digital and physical systems you create. How will your digital twin fit into a wider ecosystem that provides services to all kinds of people? How will your asset’s performance impact the wider built environment and those who need to navigate it? Whose lives will be better if you share data securely and purposefully.
In the first output from the Digital Twin Journeys series, the team working on the Smart Hospital of the Future research project, enabled by the Construction Innovation Hub, shared case studies from two smart hospitals and reflect on the innovations they saw during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this two video mini-series, the research team shares insights about how existing digital maturity enabled these hospitals to respond to the pandemic in agile ways, transforming to a hybrid physical and digital model of care distributed across multiple sites. They also explored how individual asset digital twins fit into a wider landscape of ecosystem services, guiding how we approach interoperability to achieve better outcomes.

These insights inform the way we think about the role of digital twins in the smart built environments of the future. Dr Nirit Pilosof reflects that, ‘Digital twin as a concept can promote the design of the new system, the design process of the built environment and the technologies, but also really help operate… the hybrid models looking at the physical and virtual environments together.’ If health care is enabled by connected digital twins, how could the design of hospitals – and whole cities – change? 
In the videos, the team also discusses the limitations and ethics of services enabled by digital data and the use of digital technologies to improve staff safety, from isolated COVID wards to telemedicine. They frame service innovation as an iterative and collaborative process, informed by the needs of digital twin users, whether those are the asset owners and operators, or the people benefitting from the services they provide. 
According to project co-lead Dr Michael Barrett, ‘The people who need to drive the change are the people who are providing the service.' After the COVID crisis, we can better recognise what we have learned from implementing digital services at scale, as more people than ever have relied on them. The team reflect that having the right people in the right roles enabled the smart hospitals in these cases to transform their services rapidly in response to the need. The same human and organisational infrastructure that is creating the smart hospital of the future is also needed to create the flexible, responsive built environments of the future.
Digital Twin Journeys can start from the perspective of available technology, from a problem-solving perspective, or from the perspective of users experiencing a service ecosystem. The smart hospitals project demonstrates the value of the latter two approaches. Hospital staff were instrumental in shaping the digitally-enabled service innovation to keep them safe and offer better services on and offsite, but project co-lead Dr Karl Prince points out how people accessing those services have to navigate a variety of different services in the built environment to get there. As we begin to connect digital twins together, we need to consider not just our own needs but the needs of others that digital twins can address. 
For more on this project, including links to their publications, see the team’s research profile on the CDBB website. Keep up with the Digital Twin Journeys series on the CDBB website or here on the Digital Twin Hub blog.
Anglian Water is an early adopter of digital twins within the water sector, working closely with the Centre for Digital Built Britain to help develop the market and showcase how digital twins can support an organisation’s strategic outcomes.
Anglian Water has a 15 year vision to develop a digital twin to sit alongside its physical assets.

From an Anglian Water perspective, the Digital Twin is essentially an accurate digital representation of their physical assets, enabling insight, supporting decision making and leading to better outcomes. Aligning the digital twin objectives to Anglian Water’s regulated outcomes, as defined by the regulator OFWAT, has been a key step in developing the business case.
With the initial vision and roadmap outlined the next step on the roadmap was to implement a proof of concept, to explore the value created from digital twins. Anglian Water undertook a discovery phase and a Proof of Concept with Black and Veatch for a Digital Twin back in 2019, and started to define how a Digital Twin would benefit the delivery and management of physical assets.
The discovery phase looked to understand the current landscape, further enhancing the vision and roadmap, and establish persona requirements. It proved vital to really understand the organisation and the impact on people during this early exploratory work.
The proof of concept looked at delivering three main outputs, focused on a pumping station to keep the scope focused and value measurable:
To demonstrate an asset intelligence capability To demonstrate a visualisation capability To examine the asset data and architecture. Alongside the proof of concept other initiatives were kick started to consider how other elements of digital twin might add value, with a focus on more enhanced use of hydraulic models to explore how water networks could be further optimised.  Anglian Water recognised early on that by integrating and enhancing many of the existing enterprise systems, existing investments could be leveraged and technology gaps identified.
Learning from the proof of concept and other early works Anglian Water looked to the next step of the roadmap, a scaled demonstrator on the Strategic Pipeline Alliance. The Strategic Pipeline Alliance was set up to deliver up to 500km of large scale pipeline, and alongside this to start defining and delivering the first phase of the digital twin. SPA has a 2025 vision is to deliver a large-scale, holistically linked water transfer resilience system. This will be operated, performance managed and maintained using advanced digital technology.
The SPA team set about developing a digital twin strategy which is based on the wider corporate vision and enhances the proof of concept work. The basic premise of the SPA digital twin is to integrate traditionally siloed business functions and systems, to deliver enhanced capability across the asset lifecycle.
As with Anglian Water the SPA strategy is focused on using the technology available and developing a robust enterprise, integration, and data architecture to create a foundation for digital twin. Taking this a step further it was decided to adopt a product based approach, thinking about the development of digital twin products aligned to physical assets, that could be re-used across the wider Anglian Water enterprise.
This whole life product based approach threw up some interesting challenges, namely how to build a business case that delivered benefit to SPA and also enabled Anglian Water’s future ambitions, taking a lifecycle view of the value delivered.
To achieve this meant considering and assessing the value to both SPA during the capital delivery phase and Anglian Water during the operational phases. This process also highlighted that certain elements of the digital twin deliver value to both SPA and Anglian Water equally and could therefore be considered as a shared benefit.
The resulting benefits register helped to identify the value delivered to the alliance partners which was vital to securing the delivery board sign off. As Anglian Water are a partner in the alliance, the ability to demonstrate value in the operational phase with SPA developing the technical foundation, was another key element in securing the investment.
As part of the overall process the SPA board were keen to see how the investment would be allocated, therefore the strategy evolved to incorporate the capabilities to be developed within SPA to enable digital twin. This helped to inform and validate the team for digital twin delivery.
With the capabilities and organisational chart resolved, a governance framework was put into place to allow the digital twin evolution to be managed effectively, putting in place the right checks and balances. This has included input and oversight from the wider Anglian Water team as ultimately, they will be responsible for managing the various digital twins long term.
To validate the digital twin against the SPA outcomes and objectives, the various elements of the digital twin were incorporated into the overall enterprise architecture. This has proved to be an important part of the process to ensure alignment to the wider capabilities and importantly ensure the right technology is in place. The enterprise architecture continues to evolve to include information objects below the application layer, again building on the product based approach, so that the enterprise architecture can be utilised in the wider Anglian Water Alliances.
In total the development of the strategy, business case and capabilities has taken 6 months, however it is important to note that this builds on the earlier proof of concept and ideation during the initial mobilisation of SPA. Given the approach a key next step is to work with Anglian Water to explore accelerated deployment of SPA digital twins on other major schemes, to put to test the product approach and maximise the investment made.
We have learnt from the early developments on SPA that articulating a whole life view of value is vital and that focusing on capital / operational stages is equally important, so that appropriate budget holders can see the value being delivered. We have also learnt the importance of having a bold vision which must be matched by clear definition of the first few steps, showing a long term roadmap for achieving an enterprise digital twin.
What is certainly clear is that we still have a lot to learn, however by following good architectural best practice and placing people and our environment at the heart of digital twin, we have put in place a good foundation from which to build.
If you would like to know more, please get in touch through the DT Hub.
Bringing CreDo to life 
With COP26 on the horizon, we are fully immersed in preparing to showcase the Climate Resilience Demonstrator - CReDo. We have appointed two partners to help us communicate the story in an engaging and inspiring way and demonstrate the huge potential of information sharing.  
Firstly, we are working with Crocodile Media to develop a short, dramatic film that will tell the story of a flooding event and how connected digital twins may provide a better response to climate disasters. The second partnership is with ESRI, a provider of online maps and 3D models of cities, who are developing an interactive demonstrator that will allow the public to test out various scenarios on a made-up city. The purpose of both will be to demonstrate how information sharing across organisational boundaries is a key enabler to improving resilience of infrastructure systems. 
We have organised an event “Increasing our climate resilience through connected digital twins” on the 2nd of Nov to watch the film, see the interactive tool in action and find out more about how connected digital twins can help to tackle climate change.
We’re delighted that the project doesn’t end with COP26 – instead, the technical development of CReDo will continue until next year and will be delivered through a collaboration of research centres and industry partners; The Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Exeter, Newcastle and Warwick will work alongside the Hartree Centre, DAFNI, Science and Technology Facilities Council, CMCL Innovations, the Joint Centre of Excellence in Environmental Intelligence, CPNI and Mott MacDonald. 
We are also delighted to be working in partnership with three major UK utility providers; Anglian Water, BT and UK Power Networks who are equally committed to making bold steps towards resilient infrastructure. 
Progress on IMF’s seven circles 
We have been moving forward with all seven circles of the Information Management Framework from top level ontologies, to integration architecture to information quality management. 
One document I particularly want to highlight is ‘Managing Shared Data’, an exciting piece of work being developed by @Matthew West, Technical Lead for the NDTp. He is bringing together the lessons we’ve learned over the past three years since publication of the Pathway toward an IMF  report and providing clarity on what it means for organisations to manage information effectively, an essential enabler for connecting digital twin. It is in development and we’re hoping to release the final document by the end of the year.
DT Hub 
There are three main activities to highlight for October: 
DT Hub website update.  We’re keen to keep improving the useability and layout of the site so the new version of the DT Hub will include a public facing page, with all the resources to make it easier to access public documents. It also includes a page to host all information related to CReDo.   DT Roadblocks workshop series. As the community progresses on their digital twin journeys, it is inevitable there will be a myriad of challenges. The great aspect of being part of a community is that there are others who have faced similar challenges and can share their learnings or provide insights in to how to overcome your particular hurdle. Our first workshop is aptly named, “Problems shared, problems halved”. If you would like to be part of a constructive discussion, do sign up to this series, running until the end of the year. 
Smart Infrastructure Index. We have just launched our latest SII survey to enable members to measure their digital maturity and benchmark progress against peers. When members complete and submit the survey, the SII will generate a personalised report including a score and targeted recommendations. The idea is that it enables users to identify areas for improvement and to support the prioritisation of future activities. The survey is open until mid-November and can be accessed here.
How manufacturers can structure and share data safely and sustainably. 
Manufacturers of construction products produce a significant part of the information required to bring about a safer construction industry, but currently, this information isn’t structured or shared in a consistent way.
If UK construction is to meet the challenges of a digital future and respond to the requirements of a new building safety regulatory system, it needs manufacturers to structure and share their data safely and sustainably.
There’s no need to wait to digitise your product information. Making the correct changes now will bring immediate benefits to your business and long-term competitive advantage. This guide will help you identify what those changes are.
Our guide helps decision-makers in manufacturing identify why supplying structured data is important, how to avoid poor investment decisions, safe ways to share information about products across the supply chain, and more.
The Guide  https://www.theiet.org/media/8843/digitisation-for-construction-product-manufacturers-main-guide.pdf 8 Page Summary https://www.theiet.org/media/8856/digitisation-for-construction-product-manufacturers-summary.pdf
2 Page  Key facts and Summary  https://www.theiet.org/media/8856/digitisation-for-construction-product-manufacturers-summary.pdf
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