The Digital Twin is one of the most mentioned terms across the built environment and as such is entering a phase in which it has somewhat of an identity crisis. This provides opportunity for some whilst presenting risk for others. It is vital that we learn to understand what constitutes a Digital Twin whilst not inhibiting its ability to evolve. Failure to do this effectively will prohibit the potential value proposition put forward by Digital Twins and devalue the vital work developed by the community thus far.
Big Data entered a similar phase itself and one, I feel, that it never truly managed to overcome. With the early claims relating to the potential value capabilities of harnessing Big Data every company quickly tried to do what it could to reap these rewards. Many companies however didn’t manage to achieve this and as such it quickly started to become regarded as an exaggerated claim. Although I think the results of some of those organisations should have been taken with a ‘pinch of salt’ I think some of this could have been addressed by properly understanding the foundations and standardising the approach at an earlier point in time.
The community has dedicated much time and energy in the exploration of Theme 1: Defining and Conceptualising Digital Twins and our focus going forward is to continue the exploration in more depth and detail. As such, we have enlisted BSI to support this work and over the coming months we hope, the community, together with BSI will begin the work of defining a roadmap built on consensus, best practice and leading to much needed industry standards.
This work will also be bolstered by activities across the DT Hub and the National Digital Twin programme including:
· The Information Management Framework (IMF) pathway detailing the approach to establishing a common language allowing digital twins to connect. You still have time to have your say on the pathway to the IMF with the consultation closing on the 31st August.
· Digital Twin Standards Roadmap developed through assessment of existing gaps and establishing a standards landscape review by BSI.
· Smart Infrastructure Index survey being conducted within the DT Hub for members to measure their organisation’s digital maturity and benchmark against other asset owners within the industry and the Hub. Members’ scores will be aggregated to provide insight for a report about current digital maturity in our journey towards a national digital twin.
We therefore all have a role to play to ensure that we are not just riding the hype wave of digital twins but looking at what role each of us can play in ensuring we achieve a collective end result we are all happy with.
Samuel A Chorlton
Chair, DT Hub Steering Group
10th August 2020