We’re delighted to announce that today marks the formal launch of the Centre for Digital Built Britain’s Digital Twin Hub.
As we reach this important milestone, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in shaping the DT Hub into what it is today . This is a key part of enabling our collective journey towards a National Digital Twin.
By tapping into your experience and ideas, we’ve already been able to come a long way in a short time. Now that we are starting to promote the DT Hub more widely, I thought it would be good to reflect on what we have done already and what is coming next.
I’m also reminded that, at a difficult time in the UK and around the world as we cope with the impact of COVID-19, digital platforms like this have an important role to play in fostering remote collaboration. We’ll try to make the DT Hub experience, from chatting on this portal to webinars, as flexible as possible to fit around your many commitments – and welcome your feedback on how we can continue to improve this.
What’s more, as our economies recover, digital twins, amongst a host of other innovations, can help us all to deliver more value from our infrastructure and the services that depend on it.
I hope you enjoy reading this update and wish you well in your personal and work endeavours over the coming days and weeks.
Where did we get to so far?
Discovery and scoping
We’ve been working with you to identify shared priorities. This has included discussion of opportunities, use cases and potential blockers and challenges.
Collectively, members see digital twins as central to their digital strategies with potential to transform strategic and operational decision making, improve productivity and deliver better services. At the same time, there is a recognition that collaboration to tackle shared challenges is essential in order to move on from pilots and start realising value from large scale implementation.
The initial thematic priorities (“themes”) emerging from these discussions reflect the desire you have expressed to make real progress on “foundational” concepts and thinking on digital twins:
- Theme 1. Testing digital twin concepts: What are digital twins, what are the main building blocks for digital twins and how can we develop common understanding?
- Theme 2. Digital twin competencies: What capabilities, skills and culture are needed to successfully implement digital twins?
- Theme 3. Pathway to value: Building and sharing value cases; what is the roadmap to increased scale and greater value?
Our initial discussions with you generated lots more useful insight. This included a wide range of valuable use cases, from predictive through to “self-healing” assets, and from long term resource planning through to reducing carbon in mobility and logistics.
A dedicated digital space
We created this online portal as a dedicated digital space for DT Hub members – with a focus on sharing thinking related to the themes, sharing insights gained from digital twin projects and facilitating collaboration on the best way to move forward together.
It’s still early days, but we’re already seeing some interesting comments and discussions on the portal. The most popular post so far talked about ontology and taxonomy. While a link we shared on a digital twin for Notre Dame sparked a fascinating response, and then a follow up call, on the role of digital twins in conserving medieval buildings.
Today we are also beginning to test, in conjunction with key players in the supply chain, a separate space within the portal. This will include an area for joint discussion with existing DT Hub members (the “Open Forum”).
We’ve created “starter” content to help spark conversation for each of the themes (beginning with the first, “Testing digital twin concepts”). This brings in perspectives on topics including definitions and scope of digital twins, learning from other industries like aerospace and manufacturing, as well as digital twin use cases. You can access this from the Members Forum pages.
Discussions and webinars
A key role of the DT Hub is to facilitate discussions between members. As you may have seen, we’ve started to do that around the content for the themes. Some of you have also shared your own perspectives through this portal – thank you and please do keep commenting and adding your own posts and ideas.
So far, we have held webinars for the first two themes and plan to run more going forward. There was a great turnout for our theme 2, digital twin competencies, webinar on 24th March, with several of you offering to share your approaches on roles and skills needed to implement digital twins. This kind of practical insight is invaluable, and we plan to follow up on this conversation with you in the dedicated theme 2 area in the Hub.
We will also facilitate time-boxed discussions on specific aspects of each theme – and host these in the portal.
Next up are a series of time-boxed online discussions or “jams” on each of the themes. We’ll host some of these in the “Open Forum” and publicise them in advance so that you can find out how to take part.
We will also plan a webinar on the theme 3, looking at the pathway to value for digital twins, in April.
In addition, we will start to summarise some of the initial findings for each theme (beginning with theme 1) into an interim report with recommendations for the wider NDT programme.
How to get involved
You can continue to get involved and have your say on the focus of the DT Hub by:
- Commenting on an existing post in for one of the Themes in the Members Forum
- Starting a new topic for discussion in the Members Forum
- Adding a summary of your digital twin projects to the DT Register (a register of digital twin projects – we’d be very happy to help to write these up)
- Getting involved in one the online “jams” that we will host in the Open Forum area – coming soon
- Let us know through the “Contact Us” option at the bottom of each page what other activities and content you would like to see in the portal in future
Thank you for joining us on the journey – I look forward to sharing further perspectives as we move forward together.
Samuel A Chorlton
Chair, DT Hub Steering Group
31st March 2020