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  1. Sensor technology has come a long way over the last 30 years, from the world’s first, bulky webcam at the University of Cambridge Computer Science Department to near ubiquitous networks of sleek sensors that can provide data at an unprecedented volume, velocity and quality. Today, sensors can even talk to each other to combine single points of data into useful insights about complex events. The new webcomic ‘Coffee Time’ by Dave Sheppard, part of the Digital Twin Journeys series, tells the story of this evolution and what it means for what we can learn about our built environment through smart sensors. Starting with a simple problem – is there coffee in the lab’s kitchen? – researchers in the early 1990s set up the world’s first webcam to get the information they wanted. Today, people in the Computer Lab still want to know when the coffee is ready, but there are more ways to solve the problem, and new problems that can be solved, using smart sensors. Smart sensors don’t just send information from point A to point B, providing one type of data about one factor. That data needed to be collated and analysed to get insights. Now sensors can share data with each other and generate insights more instantaneously. The West Cambridge Digital Twin team at the computer lab have looked at how specific sequences of sensor events can be combined into an insight that translates actions in the physical world into carefully defined digital events. When someone makes coffee, for example, they might turn on a machine to grind the coffee beans, triggering a smart sensor in the grinder. Then they’d lift the pot to fill it with water, triggering a weight sensor pad beneath to record a change in weight. Then they would switch the coffee machine on, triggering a sensor between the plug and the outlet that senses that the machine is drawing power. Those events in close succession, in that order, would tell the smart sensor network when the coffee is ready. These sequences of sensor triggers are known as complex events. Using this technique, smart sensors in the built environment can detect and react to events like changes in building occupancy, fires and security threats. One advantage of this approach is that expensive, specialist sensors may not be needed to detect rarer occurrences if existing sensors can be programmed to detect them. Another is that simple, off-the-shelf sensors can detect events they were never designed to. As the comic points out, however, it is important to programme the correct sequence, timing and location of sensor triggers, or you may draw the wrong conclusion from the data that’s available. Something as simple as wanting to know if the coffee is ready led to the first implementation of the webcam. Digital twin journeys can have simple beginnings, with solving a simple problem with a solution that’s accessible to you, sparking off an evolution that can scale up to solve a wide range of problems in the future. You can read and download the full webcomic here. 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).
  2. Next week’s Gemini Call will include a presentation by Jack Ostrofsky, Head of Quality and Design at Southern Housing Group and Chair of BIM for Housing Associations. BIM for Housing Associations (BIM4HAs) is a client led and client funded initiative set up in 2018 to accelerate the uptake of consistent and open standards-based BIM processes across the Housing Association sector. An urgent priority for this group is building and fire safety, particularly in the context of the development of a Golden Thread of Building Safety Information which is part of the Building Safety Bill which is expected to receive Royal Assent in 2022. Understanding of BIM and Digital Twins in the residential housing sector is poor, yet as long-term owner-operators of built assets, housing associations are ideally placed to benefit from the efficiencies of BIM and Digital Twins. In June 2021 BIM4HAs published a Toolkit of resources for housing associations aimed at assisting them in the process of adopting ‘Better Information Management’. The toolkit, which is free to use, translates the requirements of the National BIM Framework into accessible language and practical tools for housing associations. Jack will describe an example of the challenge to housing associations to use structured data to manage their assets; the transfer of spatial information about buildings which designers and contractors label as ‘plots’, development managers and asset managers in housing associations have their own naming conventions which have evolved in a traditional and disjointed manner. As a result, the metadata links are severed at handover and a great deal of valuable, useable information is lost to the client. Jack’s employer Southern Housing Group has developed a spatial hierarchy and property reference numbering system which was published in the BIM4HAs Toolkit in June. The spatial hierarchy and naming system links to commonly understood asset management language and informs Asset Information Requirements that housing associations can use to instruct development and refurbishment projects. This process enables contractors to provide useable metadata to housing associations and will form an essential part of the implementation of a Golden Thread of Building Safety Information. In a further development Southern Housing Group, working with members of the BIM4HAs community, have developed and are implementing an Asset Information Model based on the Gemini Principles and aligned with the other BIM4HAs work. This Model will be published for free, for anyone to use, by BIM4HAs as part of an update to the BIM4HAs Toolkit in February. Please join us on the Gemini Call on 25th January at 10.30 to hear about the spatial hierarchy work and put your questions to Jack. Download the Spatial Hierarchy Document and ‘The Business Case for BIM’ Document from the links below. Both are part of the Toolkit. The whole Toolkit can be downloaded for free from the National Housing Federation website here: housing.org.uk/BIM4HAs BIM for Housing Associations Pt1 The Business Case for BIM.pdf SHG Spatial Hierarchy UPRN Procedures.pdf
  3. By 2050, an estimated 4.1 million people will be affected by sight loss in the UK, making up a portion of the 14.1 million disabled people in the UK. How might digital twins create opportunities for better accessibility and navigability of the built environment for blind and partially sighted people? A new infographic presents a conception of how this might work in the future. In their work with the Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, the Smart Hospitals of the Future research team have explored how user-focused services based on connected digital twins might work. Starting from a user perspective, the team have investigated ways in which digital technology can support better services, and their ideas for a more accessible, seamless experience are captured in a new infographic. In the infographic, service user Suhani accesses assistive technology for blind people on her mobile phone to navigate her journey to an appointment at an eye hospital. On the way, she is aided by interoperable, live data from various digital twins that seamlessly respond to changing circumstances. The digital twins are undetectable to Suhani, but nevertheless they help her meet her goal of safely and comfortably getting to her appointment. They also help her doctors meet their goals of giving Suhani the best care possible. The doctors at the eye hospital are relying on a wider ecosystem of digital twins beyond their own building digital twin to make sure this happens, as Suhani’s successful journey to the hospital is vital to ensuring they can provide her with care. Physical assets, such as buildings and transport networks, are not the only things represented in this hypothetical ecosystem of connected digital twins. A vital component pictured here are digital twins of patients based on their medical data, and the team brings up questions about the social acceptability and security of digital twins of people, particularly vulnerable people. No community is a monolith, and disabled communities are no exception. The research team acknowledges that more research is needed with the user community of Moorfields to understand the variety of needs across the service pathway that digital twins could support. As such, developers need to consider the range of users with different abilities and work with those users to design a truly inclusive ecosystem of digital twins. The work by the Smart Hospitals research team raises wider questions about the role of digital technology both in creating more physical accessibility in the built environment but also potentially creating more barriers to digital accessibility. It is not enough to create assistive technologies if not everyone can – or wants to – have access to those technologies. ‘The role of digital technologies in exacerbating potentially digital inequalities is something that needs to be looked at from a policy perspective, both at the hospital level, but also more generally, from a government Department of Health perspective,’ says Dr Michael Barrett, the project’s principal investigator. Dr Karl Prince, co-investigator, reflects that, ‘The traditional questions when it comes to this type of technology are raised as to: do they have access to equipment, and do they have the technical ability?’ The lesson is that you can build digital twins that create a better experience for people if you design digital systems from the perspective of an ecosystems of services, with input from users of that ecosystem. Through exciting case studies, the project raises vital questions about digital ethics and the potentially transformative effects of digital twins on the physical built environment. To read the infographic in detail, click here. You can read more from the Smart Hospitals project by visiting their research profile page. 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 join the conversation with others who are on their own digital twin journeys, join the Digital Twin Hub.
  4. I am glad to announce that over the next 32 months, I will be undertaking the role of international coordinator (Through buildingSMART Korea) on a pioneering Digital Twin Project, which has just been kickstarted by the Korea Airports Corporation (KAC).KAC has formed a consortium consisting of around 25 staff from 4 BIM-specialised practices in Korea to undertake the development of an openBIM-based Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) System that will transform KAC's 14 national airports into state-of-the-art digital twins. Around 85 million passengers travel across these airports annually.Backed by a significant budget of USD 7 million, KAC aims to take theory into practice by developing a world-leading case (pilot project) for digital twins on Airports.buildingSMART Korea (bSK) has been assigned a leading consultancy role on the project and will thus be in charge of developing information standards, guidelines, and system requirements based on ISO-19650.In my capacity as an international coordinator and researcher on the project, I will be representing KAC as a point of contact for interested foreign parties, and I will be actively scouting for potential collaborative and promotional opportunities. The scope of this project is indeed ambitious and we have 32 truly exciting months ahead of us to complete what is expected to become a ground-breaking pilot project that will bring long-awaited advancement to the field of BIM and FM.
  5. Digital twins are not just a useful resource for understanding the here-and-now of built assets. If an asset changes condition or position over its lifecycle, historical data from remote sensors can make this change visible to asset managers through a digital twin. However, this means retaining and managing a potentially much larger data set in order to capture value across the whole life of an asset. In this blog post, Dr Sakthy Selvakumaran, an expert in remote sensing and monitoring, tells us about the importance of curation in the processing of high-volume built environment data. There are many sources of data in the built environment, in increasing volumes and with increasing accessibility. They include sensors added to existing structures – such as wireless fatigue sensors mounted on ageing steel bridges – or sensors attached to vehicles that use the assets. Sources also include sensing systems including fibre optics embedded in new structures to understand their capacity over the whole life of the asset. Even data not intended for the built environment can provide useful information; social media posts, geo-tagged photos and GPS from mobile phones can tell us about dynamic behaviours of assets in use. Remote sensing: a high-volume data resource My research group works with another data source – remote sensing – which includes satellite acquisitions, drone surveys and laser monitoring. There have been dramatic improvements in spatial, spectral, temporal and radiometric resolution of the data gathered by satellites, which is providing an increasing volume of data to study structures at a global scale. While these techniques have historically been prohibitively expensive, the cost of remote sensing is dropping. For example, we have been able to access optical, radar and other forms of satellite data to track the dynamic behaviour of assets for free through open access policy of the European Space Agency (ESA). The ESA Sentinel programme’s constellation of satellites fly over assets, bouncing radar off them and generating precise geospatial measurements every six days as they orbit the Earth. This growing data resource – not only of current data but of historical data – can help asset owners track changes in the position of their asset over its whole life. This process can even catch subsidence and other small positional shifts that may point to the need for maintenance, risk of structural instability, and other vital information, without the expense of embedding sensors in assets, particularly where they are difficult to access. Data curation One of the key insights I have gained in my work with the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) is that data curation is essential to capture the value from remote sensing and other data collection methods. High volumes of data are generated during the construction and operational management of assets. However, this data is often looked at only once before being deleted or archived, where it often becomes obsolete or inaccessible. This means that we are not getting the optimal financial return on our investment on that data, nor are we capturing its value in the broader sense. Combining data from different sources or compiling historical data can generate a lot of value, but the value is dependent on how it is stored and managed. Correct descriptions, security protocols and interoperability are important technical enablers. Social enablers include a culture of interdisciplinary collaboration, a common vision, and an understanding of the whole lifecycle of data. The crucial element that ensures we secure value from data is the consideration of how we store, structure and clean the data. We should be asking ourselves key questions as we develop data management processes, such as: ‘How will it stay up to date?’ ‘How will we ensure its quality?’ and ‘Who is responsible for managing it?’ Interoperability and standardisation The more high-volume data sources are used to monitor the built environment, the more important it is that we curate our data to common standards – without these, we won’t even be able to compare apples with apples. For example, sometimes when I have compared data from different satellite providers, the same assets have different co-ordinates depending on the source of the data. Like ground manual surveying, remote measurements can be made relative to different points, many of which assume (rightly or wrongly) a non-moving, stationary point. Aligning our standards, especially for geospatial and time data, would enable researchers and practitioners to cross-check the accuracy of data from different sources, and give asset managers access to a broader picture of the performance of their assets. Automated processing The ever increasing quantity of data prohibits manual analysis by human operators beyond the most basic tasks. Therefore, the only way to enable data processing at this large scale is automation, fusing together remote sensing data analysis with domain-specific contextual understanding. This is especially true when monitoring dynamic urban environments, and the potential risks and hazards in these contexts. Failure to react quickly is tantamount to not reacting at all, so automated processing enables asset owners to make timely changes to improve the resilience of their assets. Much more research and development is needed to increase the availability and reliability of automated data curation in this space. If we fail to curate and manage data about our assets, then we fail to recognise and extract value from it. Without good data curation, we won’t be able to develop digital twins that provide the added value of insights across the whole life of assets. Data management forms the basis for connected digital twins, big data analysis, models, data mining and other activities, which then provide the opportunity for further insights and better decisions, creating value for researchers, asset owners and the public alike. You can read more from the Satellites 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). For more on the Digital Twin Journeys projects, visit the project's homepage on the CDBB website.
  6. In setting up the SPA Enterprise it was acknowledged that BIM principles would drive outperformance in both the project and asset lifecycles, and therefore an early focus ensured that the foundations were in place to enable SPA to maximise benefits from data and information. To smooth the integration of our physical assets and the associated data and information produced our enterprise architecture focussed on delivering a solution that would: Maximise the benefits from the existing Anglian enterprise. Ensure that data and information would integrate seamlessly with existing Anglian repositories. Easily be transitioned from the project to the asset information model. This approach would not hinder bringing any additional enterprise systems that would benefit Anglian Water but would ensure that any legacy systems were planned for seamless integration, giving a longer-term benefit (blueprint) for other and future Alliances. Development of the BIM strategy identified the need for the following BIM tools in line with recommendations in PAS1192-2 (now superseded): BIM Execution plan – in response to the EIR (Exchange Information Requirements). Common Data Environment (CDE) – to allow exchange of information within the project team and the wider supply chain eco-system - GIS (Geospatial Information System), BIM360, Azure, SharePoint. Master Information Delivery Plan (MIDP) and Task Information Delivery Plan (TIDP) – to manage delivery of information during a project. Supply chain EIR. Asset Information Model. Naming convention. During the initial period SPA has had to work closely with Anglian Water to ensure that we have the following in place: Clear information repositories. Data stewards. Approved data structures. Collaborative communication mechanisms. Appropriate security and authentication checks. Appropriate Governance. Clearly defined and agreed processes. As an early adopter on the Project13 programme (Centre for Digital Built Britain) the relational development of our supply chain eco-system was essential. All our suppliers complete a Collaboration Request Form (MS Flow Automate), and a BIM Capability Assessment (MS Flow Automate). We work through the SPA Supplier EIR with all partners to share our information management standards and determine how much we need to work with them to ensure the benefits of BIM are realised. Part of this induction is being clear on the expected deliverables and the format of these, and how they can interact with our common data environment. For all suppliers we set up a dedicated folder in our SharePoint and BIM360 environments for all information exchange and should there be a need for the supplier to access GIS or BIM models we assist them from a technological and behavioural perspective. We have created an automated OCRA (Originate Check Review Approve) process that SPA end-users use for Quality Assurance (QA) in SharePoint and BIM360. With BIM360 the OCRA workflows functionality is built in, and we can create new, customisable checking procedures at will. The CDE storage philosophy of project deliverable information is data driven, utilising file metadata to structure, sort, and search for information. ‘Containerisation’ of information utilising subfolder subsystems is kept minimal thereby facilitating a transparency and consistency in the storage of our information across all projects. A Digital Delivery lead was put in place by SPA as the platform owner for BIM 360 supported by a team of BIM Engineers. The setup, configuration and management of the platform is governed by the BIM Execution Plan and the CAD (Computer Aided Design) strategy. Throughout the design phase of projects in SPA, the various teams have endeavoured to create, and use coordinated, internally consistent, computable information about the project and provide this information to project stakeholders in the most valuable format possible. Following the statutory process and environmental impact study phases for the initial projects, the project moved towards detailed design with a multi-disciplinary design team. With support from the senior leadership in SPA, the design team have embraced a production-based approach which has entailed the adoption of 3D modelling techniques and BIM workflows. Data is transferred from analysis and design applications directly into an integrated model, leveraging 3D modelling techniques to enable clash detection, design visualisation and ‘optioneering’ as part of SPA’s Digital Rehearsal approach. The 3D and 2D information models not only serve as a visual communication tool to convey the infrastructure design to the various teams, statutory bodies, and public stakeholders, but was also a vital tool to inform Anglian Water of the development of the assets they will own and operate. The project team have utilised various BIM and GIS technology to enhance and communicate the various constraints (environmental, legislative, physical, ecological, hydraulic, geotechnical etc.) and complex design effectively to all stakeholders. This has been achieved in many formats utilising various software products throughout the project’s life cycle. This will include the use of a virtual reality (VR) gaming engine and the direct importation of the single integrated 3D tunnelling compound model into the GIS environment. This means that design conflicts are identified and rectified before construction drawings are completed and issued. Similarly, 3D simulations help promote safety and avoid costly inefficiency by identifying potential issues and mitigating against them in advance. It is estimated that setting up this framework will generate at least £1723k net savings over the project period using BIM. This is estimated by the reduction in individual time saved by designers, as well as project time saved. It should be noted that there are many non-financial benefits that have also been identified including benefits in safety (better identification of safety changes), to the wellbeing of our staff (reduced driving as collaboration in the model can be remote), and to the environment (reduced Carbon as less miles driven to meetings). There will also be Operational (Opex) savings because of the way that we collate, capture, manage and re-use data within the asset information model. These operational cost savings are yet to be quantified. There are also non-quantifiable benefits expected from a reduction in rework and prolongation. In conclusion the introduction of BIM techniques has greatly benefitted the Alliance and will continue to do so throughout the project and asset lifecycle.
  7. Our latest output from the Digital Twin Journeys series is a webcomic by David Sheppard. 'Now We Know' tells the story of a fictional building manager, Hank, who isn't sure how a building digital twin can help him in his work when the existing building management system tells him what he thinks he needs to know. This same tension plays out around real-world digital twin development, as advocates point to the promise of perfect, right-time information to make better decisions, while others remain unconvinced of the value that digital twins can add. As the West Cambridge Digital Twin research team developed a prototype digital twin, they encountered this barrier, and found that working with the building-manager-as-expert to co-develop digital twin capability is the way to go. While they grounded iterations of the prototype in the building managers' present needs, they were also able to present the potential capability of the digital twin in ways that demonstrated its value. This is mirrored in the fictional narrative of the comic in the consultation between the Cambridge Digital Twin Team expert and the building manager, Hank. Involving end users, like building occupants and managers, in the design and development of digital twins will ensure that they meet real-world information needs. Both people and data bring value to the whole-life management of assets. Many uncertainties exist in the built environment, and in many cases when pure data-driven solutions get into trouble (e.g. through poor data curation or low data quality), expertise from asset managers can bolster automated and data-driven solutions. Therefore, incorporating the knowledge and expertise of the frontline managers is crucial to good decision-making in building operations. The benefits of this hybrid approach work in the other direction as well. While the knowledge developed by building managers is often lost when people move on from the role, the digital twin enables the curation of data over time, making it possible to operate buildings beyond the tenure of individual staff members based on quality data. At present, the knowledge of experienced asset managers in combination with existing building information, is greater than the insights that early-stage digital twins can offer. But that does not mean that the promise of digital twins is a false one. It simply means that there is still a long way to go to realise the vision of right-time, predictive information portrayed in the comic. Digital twin prototypes should be developed in partnership with these experienced stakeholders. You can read more from the West Cambridge Digital Twin project by visiting their research profile, and find out about more Digital Twin Journeys on the project's homepage. 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).
  8. Interesting Question: What is one difficulty that you’ve encountered while trying to create a Digital Twin? Context: We’ve heard that creating a Digital Twin can be a bumpy road. Various challenges can get in the way no matter what sort of Digital Twin you’re trying to set up or why. We’ve noticed in various conversations on the DT Hub that there is a wide range of these challenges, from technical or cultural to those related to resources or supply chains, and so many more. We’d like to hear about your experiences, so please share them with us here. Just a few guidelines before you start: One example at a time please - no lists! However, multiple posts are welcomed Please cite the industry you’re talking about Please: Your posts need to be pithy: · Give each post a title that sums up your blocker · Limit each post to 100 words or so, or supply a short summary at the top if you can’t. · Please include an image, it helps your post stand out We encourage you to like, or vote, on each other’s posts if you agree with them, your facilitator Joao and the DT Hub/ 100%Open are looking forward to reading your input. Thank you.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Something (hopefully) of interest to share. A colleague at the University of Bristol, Dr Maria Pregnolato, was in Westminster this week as part of the Sense about Science event, talking to parliamentarians about how Digital Twins can predict when infrastructure fails. With others, Maria is exploring how DTs can increase the resilience of infrastructure. One project features a case study using the Clifton Suspension Bridge - more detail is here. This and other work is informing discussions with policymakers as it is seen as important to recognise that the value from DTs will be diminished if a number of Challenges to Implementation are not addressed, including: Compelling definitions and unclear processes Standardising protocols for data management Supporting engineering companies in the digital transition. It would be interesting to hear the thoughts of others.
  12. 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.
  13. Katie Walsh

    Defining Our Digital Twin Challenges!

    Creating Digital Twins can be like sailing in uncharted waters, so how do you handle it when unforeseen challenges rock the boat? Can you even predict what kinds of things will disrupt your journey? We’ve noticed in various conversations on the DT Hub that no matter what sort of Digital Twin you’re trying to set up or why, there is an incredibly wide range of potential disruptions. From technical to cultural, from resources to supply chains, almost every avenue is susceptible to producing a challenge somewhere. Many examples that we’ve already seen have only become apparent once the people developing Digital Twins are up against them in real time, so that’s why the DT Hub has launched this new activity, Defining Our Digital Twin Challenges! We would like to know about the challenges you’ve encountered on your DT journey in order to make the overall roadmap easier to follow. The information you provide will help us to ultimately define our common challenges so we can start to solve them together. This series of thematic workshops, run by the DT Hub, will progress the conversation around the Digital Twin Journey, and surface some of the challenges that organisations are still facing whilst embarking on their journey. Each Challenge will culminate in an Activity, where we will present the specific challenge areas that you have brought to us to a select group in order to provide constructive feedback. The outcome of these workshops will be to share insights from inside and outside the community for the benefit of the community as a whole. You can use this activity Bring out your Digital Twin Challenges to explore your challenges with others, and our crowd facilitator, Joao, will be interacting with you to make sure you get the best experience possible. Joao is a former market researcher, court interpreter and has been a brilliant member of our team for years as a 100%Open Associate. We look forward to your invaluable contributions, and in turn the exponential development of the DT journey.
  14. Digital Twins are a way of getting better insights about the assets you commission, design, construct or manage, enhancing their performance and the outcomes for people who use them. But how do you get started creating one? What are the questions you need to ask yourself and potential challenges you’ll face? What lessons have been learned that may have slipped through the cracks of academic papers and published case studies? ‘Digital Twin Journeys’ will present lessons learned by our researchers in digital twin projects enabled by the Construction Innovation Hub. Culminating in a report for industry professionals who are involved with developing their first digital twins (March 2022), this series of outputs will highlight in various engaging formats many of the processes, decisions and insights our researchers have explored during their own digital twin journeys. Hear from the researchers themselves about how they have developed digital twin processes and tools, and the key themes that run through their projects. The outputs will be shared on the DT Hub blog, and will be collated on a dedicated page on the CDBB website. But first, we want to hear from you! Let us know in the comments what you still want to know about the process of developing digital twins.
  15. RachelJudson

    Planning Golden Thread

    Click here for video As citizens and professionals we accept that the planning process is there to uphold standards of safety, aesthetic, technical and social requirements. However, the planning process has suffered from many years of tinkering and making good. We now have a planning process that is dependent on outdated approaches and incompatible with the rest of the development industry. It is slow, which presents problems in the UK where we need to build, a lot, quickly. Planning risks preventing this building from happening at pace and of a higher quality. This situation presents, of course, a golden opportunity for a fully digitised end-to-end process which could: reduce the planning bottleneck automate those parts of the process that can be Increase transparency of the process open up new means of engaging stakeholders with the planning process, by for example visualising proposed developments and so increasing understanding allow us to see projects in context, with other proposed developments, rather than in isolation allow access to, and sharing of, crucial data (like structural and fire safety information) facilitate the use of modern methods of construction most importantly, give a more accurate understanding of build costs and timescales In order to bring this about, we have to standardise and digitise (as far as it is possible and desirable) the rules under which designs are created, assessed, and ultimately built. At the same time we have to find ways to generate and use interoperable data. This problem is what the group from Bryden Wood, 3D Repo, London Borough of Southwark and CDBB have been working on. We have developed a model which is open and based on the established BIM Collaboration Framework (BCF). It presents the data associated with planning so that it can be queried and interrogated. You can see a summary in the video above and read more about it here; Planning Golden Thread statement attached below 3DRepo technical write up Bryden Wood technical write up Bryden Wood Schema We know that many of the barriers associated with a change like this will be cultural rather than technical so we are seeking partners in the planning and development system who would like to test the model and collaborators who would like to fund the next stage of development. Please get in touch! You can also hear more about this on the Gemini Call on Tuesday, 18 May at 10:30 with Miranda Sharp and Jack Ricketts of Southwark Council. Link to DT Hub Calendar
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