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Overcoming Commercial Barriers to the Scaled Adoption of Digital Twins


Tammy Au
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Join us for the next video in our series on Tuesday. Tom Henderson and the CDBB team will host a live chat session at 10.30. Bring your questions.

 

 

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Welcome to the start of today’s Digital Twin Talk on Overcoming commercial barriers to the scaled adoption of digital twins and a big thank you to @Tom Henderson from Tech UK for joining us. We’re looking forward to your thoughts and questions related to Tom’s talk – and posing one or two of our own.

As with all our Twin Talks Tom is online from 10:30am to 11:30am to answer your questions. To join the discussion please add your thoughts by replying to the conversation thread. 

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Hi @Tom Henderson thanks again for joining us today. To start the discussion while we wait for questions from our audience it would be great to get some more detail about Tech UK’s Digital Twin Working Group. It is great to see a collaborative and voluntary effort from your members to inform Tech UK’s strategic direction in this area. As a new working group, what has been your process for working with your members to agree your areas of focus? As a follow up where can people find more information of the working group and are you looking for more volunteers to advance your efforts?

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Hi @Tom Henderson, thank you for video.  Can I ask what is the relationship between the TechUK digital twin work group and the DFTG and/or DTHub? 

There sounds like there may be parallels between the taxonomy/architecture work proposed and work being done within the commons or around DT maturity as well as parallels between the case study collection you are doing and the DTHub DT Register.

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10 minutes ago, Tom Hughes said:

Hi @Tom Henderson thanks again for joining us today. To start the discussion while we wait for questions from our audience it would be great to get some more detail about Tech UK’s Digital Twin Working Group. It is great to see a collaborative and voluntary effort from your members to inform Tech UK’s strategic direction in this area. As a new working group, what has been your process for working with your members to agree your areas of focus? As a follow up where can people find more information of the working group and are you looking for more volunteers to advance your efforts?

Thanks Tom- we're always looking to collaborate with other organisations and groups active in the sphere (be they industry, government or academia focused). If you're interested in finding out more you can contact me via Tom.Henderson@techUK.org or find out more about the group on our website (https://www.techuk.org/focus/programmes/smarter-uk/groups/digital-twins-working-group). In terms of our process for agreeing focus- the group meets quarterly as a whole, and then has a number of core delivery groups that meet 3-4 times a quarter to discuss issues in more depth. We also bring in external speakers for each of the quarterly meetings to provoke new ways of thinking and highlight interesting projects to our members!

Edited by Tom Henderson
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An open question to all in the discussion. What questions do you have for Tom about Tech UK’s perspective on the regulatory, investment and policy frameworks that underpin digital twin adoption in the UK?

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8 minutes ago, DRossiter87 said:

Hi @Tom Henderson, thank you for video.  Can I ask what is the relationship between the TechUK digital twin work group and the DFTG and/or DTHub? 

There sounds like there may be parallels between the taxonomy/architecture work proposed and work being done within the commons or around DT maturity as well as parallels between the case study collection you are doing and the DTHub DT Register.

Hi Dan- thanks for the question. techUK sits on the DFTG, so has helped to drive the initial focus, specifically by providing a tech supplier perspective to proceedings. We're also a close supporters of the DT Hub, recognising a need to bring tech supply networks closer together with owners and operators to explore the amenability of business challenges to the application of DTs. Absolutely correct too- we see a number of possible synergies between our work, and have been working closely with the CDBB team to understand the practicalities of working together, and where there may be mutual value in collaboration. Much more to come on that, but would be very interested to continue the discussion in the weeks & months ahead! 

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Hi Tom & DT Hub Team,

I enjoyed your presentation.

What are your thoughts on the Government incentivising the use of Digital Twins and accelerating the review of legal issues for sharing of IP/data?

Are there examples where this is already taking place (at a different scale) perhaps in other locations where they have gained SME and large tech support?

Many thanks,

Kate

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2 minutes ago, Tom Hughes said:

An open question to all in the discussion. What questions do you have for Tom about Tech UK’s perspective on the regulatory, investment and policy frameworks that underpin digital twin adoption in the UK?

Hi @Tom Henderson Nice presentation, and I can see there are some solid delivery groups underpinning the Tech UK's Digital Twin working Group (ref to your presentation about 5min).

I am curious to know what are the low hanging fruits have you identified, that can generate value, and have potential to scale rapidly? And what are the barriers of value creation and value sharing, especailly, when data/ digital twins are shared and integrated?

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4 minutes ago, Tom Hughes said:

@Tom Henderson, in your opinion, what are the main commercial barriers your members and industry currently face when it comes to scaled adoption of digital twin?

Hi Tom, thanks- there are a few key points here ? Primarily, the sheer variety and complexity of the ecosystem often makes it difficult for potential adopters to identify a DT investment narrative that directly relates to their business context or problem domain. We think there's a need to develop much greater clarity in this regard, to facilitate procurement/ investment choices. Another key part of the puzzle is the traditional lack of incentives (and means) to share information across organisations and stakeholder groupings. As such, we're keen to explore how value has been derived through sharing information in different technology markets (for instance, open source communities may offer insights as to how we can effectively encourage and incentivise data sharing). Equally, we're also are keen to look at where different sectors have begun to implement secure, resilient data sharing mechanisms to best effect. And, finally, one key consideration is the way that digital twin business models are perceived and valued. We're seeing a gradual industry shift from digital twins as one-off technical investments, to service-based business models. Recognising this shift will make it easier to attribute value to a digital twin and gain the necessary strategic support needed to scale. Hope that helps!

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19 minutes ago, DRossiter87 said:

Hi @Tom Henderson, thank you for video.  Can I ask what is the relationship between the TechUK digital twin work group and the DFTG and/or DTHub? 

There sounds like there may be parallels between the taxonomy/architecture work proposed and work being done within the commons or around DT maturity as well as parallels between the case study collection you are doing and the DTHub DT Register.

Hi @DRossiter87, looking at the TechUK DTWG members [via the link @Tom Henderson shared https://www.techuk.org/focus/programmes/smarter-uk/groups/digital-twins-working-group ], there are some familiar names. eg. @Neil Thomspon is the Vice Chair, @KReevesDigi is a member. 

Btw, a question to @Tom Henderson or everyone in the discussion. As we are trying to build a digital twin ecosystem, how do we balence the development of something common, while maintaining a healthy competition? Are there conflicts of interests between different sectors (eg. industry, government, not-for-profit, academic); or within same sector for different players?

image.thumb.png.78c755cf085357fb4e75f48165f8dcfa.png

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18 minutes ago, Guest Katharine van Someren said:

Hi Tom & DT Hub Team,

I enjoyed your presentation.

What are your thoughts on the Government incentivising the use of Digital Twins and accelerating the review of legal issues for sharing of IP/data?

Are there examples where this is already taking place (at a different scale) perhaps in other locations where they have gained SME and large tech support?

Many thanks,

Kate

Thanks for the question Kate- this is a topic that we're going to be exploring in depth with members later in the year during a workshop around digital twins and IP, so it'd be great to get you along for that and there will be a lot of examples shared then ? In the meantime, however,  the Government certainly has a important role to play- particularly as an enabler and convener. In this regard, the work that it has done so far in supporting the development of the national programme is proving extremely promising in owners, operators, suppliers and advisers together to explore the common legal/ IP challenges they're facing around the scaled deployment and integration of DTs. That said, I think there's much more work to be done around providing firm support for companies/ initiatives that assign a monetary value to data infrastructure, build data asset portfolios, and develop holistic strategies that track data asset growth and ROI. Support for these types of companies and initiatives will help to provide the evidence-base for legal discussions of this type longer-term, and simultaneously support DT scaling/ integration activities!

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@Steven Zhang in terms of the balance between developing something common and maintaining a healthy competition this is something @Mark Enzer summarises excellently as "Agreeing on the rules of the game, then having a meaningful competition". In the analogy a competition between a football team and a volleyball team would be meaningless. It is only when you have a common set of objectives and constraints that real competition exists. 

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@Tom Henderson in your talk you mention that the Tech UK Digital Twin Working Group is responding to the CDBB Information Management Framework pathway. This is excellent to hear and exactly the kind of input the National Digital Twin programme is seeking. How has the IMF pathway been received by your working group members, and are there any insights can you provided on it as a pathway to interconnected digital twins?

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In my point of view there is a crucial point to consider while assessing commercial barriers. Basically trying to sum up previous projects and attempts to develop DT (or even digital approach like BIM) from a technical and economical point of view. How much they cost, how much time was required, what value they generated.

I am seeing a lot of similar project/startup proposing outcomes without a real proven value. Obivously we can do a lot with DT, but if it cost too much for XYZ reasons we might lose on the benefit.

As part of CDBB my role is to develop computer vision systems for digital twin, and I am missing of these "hard facts".

Is there any plan to evaluate the real value and cost? Is there any plan to introduce standard and validation for new systems?
I am aware it might be very challenging because such data are not easily shared, but it would be greatly beneficial.

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43 minutes ago, Steven Zhang said:

Hi @Tom Henderson Nice presentation, and I can see there are some solid delivery groups underpinning the Tech UK's Digital Twin working Group (ref to your presentation about 5min).

I am curious to know what are the low hanging fruits have you identified, that can generate value, and have potential to scale rapidly? And what are the barriers of value creation and value sharing, especailly, when data/ digital twins are shared and integrated?

image.png

Hi Steven,

It may sound obvious but I think clearly articulating the overarching purpose of a digital twin is key. In essence- what is the function or goal of the digital twin? Potential adopters and end users rarely conduct rigorous analysis to set direction for in this way- often as they're hamstrung by the lack of clear channels for communication with suppliers- yet it is a critical commercial stage that needs to be approach systematically, and ultimately inhibits longer-term scaling/ integration activities. 

To this end, prospective owners, operators and end users also need to have a strong understanding of the commonalities and characteristics of different digital twins, and how they relate to the problems they face- so a relatively straightforward stage should be to review some form of taxonomy or repository of information.

That's a key part of the investment puzzle that's missing at the moment, however, so we're working with multiple markets outside of the traditional BE space (e.g. defence, finance, cyber security, infrastructure, telecommunications, aerospace, and advanced manufacturing) to understand how different capabilities and challenges can be grouped together within a robust, industry-backed taxonomy for digital twins and feed in to the similar outputs being developed by the hub. 

In terms of value generation in data sharing across stakeholder groups/ business domains- I think the key here is to think about the cross-cutting challenges/ missions faced by all. During the current health crisis we've seen massively parallel, massively non-linear approaches to working on a common theme, and we want to understand how we can keep up the pace of collaboration to drive towards shared goals in areas like climate and cyber resilience in the future ?

Edited by Tom Henderson
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2 minutes ago, Tom Hughes said:

@Steven Zhang in terms of the balance between developing something common and maintaining a healthy competition this is something @Mark Enzer summarises excellently as "Agreeing on the rules of the game, then having a meaningful competition". In the analogy a competition between a football team and a volleyball team would be meaningless. It is only when you have a common set of objectives and constraints that real competition exists. 

Hi @Tom Hughes. Thanks for sharing the game analogy, makes sense to me. Similar as football/volleybal game need some institutions to make sure the rules are made clear and adopted, digital twin game also need some sort of rule book and governing body (I guess). The Gemini Principles , and The Pathway towards an Information Management Framework (IMF) feels to me like a rull book for the national digital twin. And the rule book is still open for consultation response before end of this month. 

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Many thanks to @Tom Henderson and everybody on this chat for your comments and questions.

We are now coming to the end of our live discussion, but we will keep this space open and available until the end of the day in case you have further thoughts or questions. We will continue to monitor the discussion during that time, but on a less frequent basis.

We will also add Tom’s video, along with the videos from previous talks, to this page: https://digitaltwinhub.co.uk/digital-twin-talks/

Looking ahead, our next Digital Twin Talk: Demographic Twins for ‘What if?’ Scenario Planning by Mark Birkin of Alan Turing Institute

We will post the video of Mark’s talk on Monday evening and Mark will join us for a live forum discussion on the 18th August between 10:30 and 11:30 am BST.

We are keen for as many people as possible to benefit from this excellent series of talks and discussions. Please share a link to the DT Hub with your contacts and let them know about the Twin Talks.

Thank you all very much again

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33 minutes ago, Tom Hughes said:

@Tom Henderson in your talk you mention that the Tech UK Digital Twin Working Group is responding to the CDBB Information Management Framework pathway. This is excellent to hear and exactly the kind of input the National Digital Twin programme is seeking. How has the IMF pathway been received by your working group members, and are there any insights can you provided on it as a pathway to interconnected digital twins?

 

Thanks Tom- we've  been delighted to see the proposals come to fruition and are in the midst of putting together a collective response. Much more to come on that front too, and happy to pick up offline to discuss!

Edited by Tom Henderson
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17 minutes ago, Guest Vladimir Vilde said:

In my point of view there is a crucial point to consider while assessing commercial barriers. Basically trying to sum up previous projects and attempts to develop DT (or even digital approach like BIM) from a technical and economical point of view. How much they cost, how much time was required, what value they generated.

I am seeing a lot of similar project/startup proposing outcomes without a real proven value. Obivously we can do a lot with DT, but if it cost too much for XYZ reasons we might lose on the benefit.

As part of CDBB my role is to develop computer vision systems for digital twin, and I am missing of these "hard facts".

Is there any plan to evaluate the real value and cost? Is there any plan to introduce standard and validation for new systems?
I am aware it might be very challenging because such data are not easily shared, but it would be greatly beneficial.

Hi Vladimir, thanks! This is certainly something that DT suppliers do naturally (i.e. economic appraisals), and something that we're looking to capture in our analysis and discussions. As you allude to in your question, however, capturing value can be challenging in a business context- often because of the multiple variants and conceptions of what a DT constitutes, and often because it's difficult to demonstrate clearly how value from connecting up DTs flows back to the original investor. So we need much greater coherency within industry/ supply networks, but also support for those initiatives/ companies that demonstrate the value in data/ commercial dependencies on particular flows.

Beyond that, the focus of traditional impact evaluations for digital twins has alos been on relatively narrow economic terms, rather than holistic, sustainable growth objectives. This needs to change if we're to account for the full value that DTs present for the UK. In this context, recent work conducted by the CDBB around re-envisioning infrastructure as a platform for human flourishing is important- new value frameworks of will need to be constructed and baked-in to investment narratives if data sharing/ DT interconnections are to be realised in a sustainable way long-term.

Finally, regarding standards- great work being conducted by the BSI & CDBB in this field as raised in previous comments and that we're keen to work on together. Overarching position here is that standards should be dynamic, adaptive and responsive to the changing circumstances of DT development and implementation, and that this requires iterative communication with supply networks- an area where we're here to help! Feel free to get in touch if you've got any more questions.

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16 minutes ago, Guest Vladimir Vilde said:

In my point of view there is a crucial point to consider while assessing commercial barriers. Basically trying to sum up previous projects and attempts to develop DT (or even digital approach like BIM) from a technical and economical point of view. How much they cost, how much time was required, what value they generated.

I am seeing a lot of similar project/startup proposing outcomes without a real proven value. Obivously we can do a lot with DT, but if it cost too much for XYZ reasons we might lose on the benefit.

As part of CDBB my role is to develop computer vision systems for digital twin, and I am missing of these "hard facts".

Is there any plan to evaluate the real value and cost? Is there any plan to introduce standard and validation for new systems?
I am aware it might be very challenging because such data are not easily shared, but it would be greatly beneficial.

Hi  Vladimir Vilde,

Thanks for sharing your insights. The cost and benefit analysis is really important, for the adoption and scale-up of digital twin technology. But for R&D, it may be driven by different incentives, eg. Publication. 

As Tom answered in my previous question, purpose and function is very important. 

11 minutes ago, Tom Henderson said:

It may sound obvious but I think clearly articulating the overarching purpose of a digital twin is key. In essence- what is the function or goal of the digital twin? Potential adopters and end users rarely conduct rigorous analysis to set direction for in this way- often as they're hamstrung by the lack of clear channels for communication with suppliers- yet it is a critical commercial stage that needs to be approach systematically, and ultimately inhibits longer-term scaling/ integration activities. 

May I ask what is the purpose for your development work? It sounds to me, it is difficult for you to prove the real value of your work. 

 

A following thought:

In the digital world, it may not be cost-effective to just develop one digital twin for one use-case or one system; the significant benefit for digital world and data, is the marginal cost for sharing the data and reusing data/model/digital twins. I think the rule book for digital twin should include concensus on who to encourage reduce/reuse/recylce of digital twins. Take the Covid-19 and Net Zero example, if we can work on something common and share the parts that can be useful for others, the value of digital innovation and digital twin can be emplified. 

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Is the Digital Twin concept still a solution looking for a problem, or maybe a technology looking for a genuine ROI case?

I wonder what the results of a 1-5 agree/disagree poll would be. Especially filtered by the vested interest of the participants. 

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4 minutes ago, Andy Parnell-Hopkinson said:

Is the Digital Twin concept still a solution looking for a problem, or maybe a technology looking for a genuine ROI case?

I wonder what the results of a 1-5 agree/disagree poll would be. Especially filtered by the vested interest of the participants. 

Would be interested to hear views! I'd lean towards the horizontal outcomes-first side... although I'd preface my own answer by referring to digital twinning as an approach, rather than a pre-defined solution or technology. 

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