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Tammy Au

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The Centre for Digital Built Britain’s National Digital Twin programme has launched an open consultation seeking feedback on the proposed approach to the development of an Information Management Framework for the built environment. 

 A new report, The Pathway Towards an Information Management Framework: A Commons for a Digital Built Britain, sets out the technical approach for the development of an Information Management Framework (IMF) to enable secure, resilient data sharing across the built environment.  The publication of the report by CDBB, in partnership with the Construction Innovation Hub, is a critical milestone towards a National Digital Twin.  

 On the publication, Mark Enzer, Head of the National Digital Twin Programme said, “I would really like to thank everyone who has come together over the past 18 months to help develop this proposed pathway towards an Information Management Framework.  It represents a huge amount of work and exemplifies the collaborative approach that will be needed as we seek to enable an ecosystem of connected digital twins – the National Digital Twin. 

 “The challenge is sizeable, but the promise is huge: better outcomes coming from better decisions based on better connected data.  And, working with industry, academia and Government all pulling together we can deliver it.  So, I’d urge you to join with us on this journey and help us build consensus on the way forward.” 

 The way that digital twins are connected is important to ensuring security and improving the resilience of assets and systems. The goal of the IMF is to establish a common language by which digital twins of the built and natural environment can communicate securely and effectively to support improved decision taking by those operating, maintaining and using built assets and the services they provide to society. Its development by CDBB was recommended by the National Infrastructure Commission in 2017’s Data for the Public Good report and HM Government’s Construction Sector Deal.  

 As industry leaders, DT Hub members involved in planning, creating and managing the built environment are invited to provide feedback on the report here.

 The consultation questions are: 

  1.  It has been proposed that the Information Management Framework (IMF) should essentially consist of a Foundation Data Model (FDM), a Reference Data Library (RDL) and an Integration Architecture (IA).  Do you agree with this overall framework?  In your view, are there any key elements missing from this framework?   
  2. In your view, is the proposed approach to the IMF consistent with the Gemini Principles? Are there any inconsistencies that should be addressed?   
  3. Section 3.4 lists the models and protocols that would form part of the IMF.  Is there anything that you would like to suggest to improve this list?   
  4. Section 3.5 describes key concepts of a Foundation Data Model.  Is there anything that you would like to suggest to improve this description?  
  5. Section 3.6 describes key concepts of the Reference Data Library.  Is there anything that you would like to suggest to improve this description?  
  6. Section 3.7 describes key concepts of an Integration Architecture.  Is there anything that you would like to suggest to improve this description?  
  7. Section 4 proposes a pathway for developing the IMF.  Do you agree with the proposed overall approach?  In your view, are there any key tasks missing from this pathway?  Would you suggest any improvements to the order in which the tasks are undertaken to develop the IMF?  
  8.  What do you see as the barriers to connecting digital twins within organisations and between different organisations/sectors?  How can these barriers be overcome?  
  9. In your experience what are the reasons why organisations invest in the creation of digital twins?  Why would they invest in connecting digital twins?  
  10. Do you have any other comments on the proposed approach to developing the information management framework?  
  11. What opportunities do you see arising in your business from being able to connect Digital Twins and share and integrate data across them?  

 The consultation on the IMF is open until 31 August and responses can be submitted here

Read a summary of the report here.


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The technical report is published alongside a high-level summary, The approach to delivering a National Digital Twin for the United Kingdom, detailing the NDT programme’s approach to leading a cultural shift to reduce the technological, commercial and cultural barriers that prevent effective data sharing. It should be read alongside the Pathway document. 

The Approach is also available on the CDBB website: https://www.cdbb.cam.ac.uk/news/approach-delivery-national-digital-twin-united-kingdomspacer.png


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  • Amy Rowley featured this topic

Please join us to discuss the  published IMF Pathway on Monday, 8th June at 18:30.

Miranda Sharp, Commons Lead, National Digital Twin Programme, will lead a panel of experts in a discussion about the IMF pathway followed by an interactive Q&A session with attendees.

The panel:

  • Dame Wendy Hall, Regius Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton
  • James Hetherington, Director of e-Infrastructure, UKRI, named author of the IMF Pathway
  • Matthew West, Director, Information Junction, named author of the IMF Pathway
  • Mark Enzer, Head of the National Digital Twin Programme
  • Sam Chorlton, DT Hub Stream Lead, National Digital Twin Programme

Register for the event at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/webinar-the-pathway-towards-an-information-management-framework-tickets-107198852654

Once you have registered you will be contacted with the link for the event.

We would welcome your questions for our speakers ahead of the event, please send to; enquiries@digitaltwinhub.co.uk

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you for this @Tammy Au and @RachelJudson.  I'm still currently reading through with the aspiration to submit comments before the August deadline.  Some of my comments are grammar/terminology related but there is one I wanted to put here for others to discuss.

Under 3.5 (Foundation Data Model) there is a section that asks the question:


What is the relationship between a digital twin, and the kind of things it describes? Is this a twin of the make and model of my car, or of my specific car?

I was under the impression that "twinning" the make and model as opposed to the specific car would not be a digital twin according to the Gemini principles.  Specifically on page 10 it states:


What distinguishes a digital twin from any other digital model is its connection to the physical twin. Based on data from the physical asset or system, a digital
twin unlocks value principally by supporting improved decision making... (Emphasis mine)

If a manufacturer has a digital representation of a car, a potential twin, then surely it has no connection to the physical twin as there is no physical "thing" to connect to.  This is largely why I refute the idea that digital twins can be applicable to design and construction as during that period the digital representations created within design authoring tools are also potential twins with no connection to a physical asset/system.

I wonder how do we address the digital twins distinguishing feature (connecting to the physical) when there is no physical to connect to?

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Thanks Dan, you make an interesting point. I will take this up with the IMF Pathway team and come back to you. Thanks

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