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  1. Hi Everyone, I am looking for an 6 month-1 year internship on Digital twins, Regards, AJ +97433193766 Whatsapp
  2. I came across an EU funded project "xr4all" which provides a development environment(among other things) for XR projects. The details are here: https://dev.xr4all.eu Will it be possible for the NDT programme to provide similar platform for DT community in the UK? It will help in fostering rapid collaboration and development of the DT ecosystem. Thanks and kind regards, Ajeeth
  3. Samuel A Chorlton

    Introduce Yourself

    Welcome to the Digital Twin Hub. The Digital Twin Hub will provide an essential mechanism to progress our understanding and application of Digital Twins. We are extremely fortunate to have amongst our members some of leading experts in this field and a safe space in which to discuss our success and failures. It would be great know a little more about our members so here are some questions to get us going: Who are you? What is your industry and profession? Where do you plan to use your new Digital Twin Knowledge? Personally/professionally? Why have you decided to join the DTHub? Have you participated in any of our meetups, or events? Do you have any examples of work that you have done using Digital Twins?
  4. New standards are being developed in the field of Digital Twin. The international technical committee is currently defining concepts and terminology and researching use cases. The aim is to deal with horizontal issues impacting on digital twin in any sector, so we would welcome representation from all types of industry. Come and join other UK stakeholders to help shape these international standards and contribute your own ideas for best practice. Let’s make sure that the outputs are relevant for UK industry. Get in touch!
  5. Hello Everyone, I am ideating on a project in the TEAMS education space. I see DT as a perfect match to what I have in mind. But I am new to DT and would like to learn more to understand if my project is really suitable for it. So I was wondering if there are mentors available on this forum with whom I can discuss the project idea and get guidance on DT? Thanks and kind regards, Ajeeth * TEAMS => Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths and Science
  6. Hello Everyone, I am new on this forum. And I would like to help, in anyway possible. I am a Software Engineer(C/C++ on Linux-based systems) but open to contributing on anything else you may find doable by a DT rookie. Thanks and kind regards, -A
  7. Background What is The Hartree Centre? The Hartree Centre (part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council) is the UK's centre of excellence for challenge-led innovation and collaborative R&D in advanced digital technologies. The Hartree Centre specialises in HPC, AI, and Data Science, and is home to the UK's most powerful supercomputer dedicated to solving industrial challenges. The Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation (HNCDI) is a new £210m collaborative partnership between The Hartree Centre and IBM Research. The purpose of the programme is to: Enable businesses and public sector organisations to adopt digital innovations, such as AI and quantum computing, by providing a dynamic and supportive expert environment. Provide an environment where UK organisations of all sizes can explore the latest technologies, develop proofs-of-concept and apply them to industry and public sector challenges for productivity, innovation and economic growth. Help organisations navigate the possibilities, and de-risk investment, of new technologies. Support organisations in planning and taking their next steps in their digital transformation journey. Important: We are looking for challenges where off-the-shelf solutions are currently not available – think TRL 3-6, commonly known as ‘The Valley of Death’. HNCDI is structured in to four work streams, these are the access points into the programme for organisations. Work Streams Explore: Proof of Concept What: Applying digital and AI technologies to industry challenges. The Explore work stream will deliver 104 projects, each being up to 18 person months of support over a 9-month (max) period. Benefit of Participating: Provides the opportunity, through (zero-cost) proof of concepts to explore and evaluate data-driven AI technologies to help enhance your productivity and technical capability. How to Engage: Initial enquires through Hartree’s Business Development Team. Contact joseph.weston@stfc.ac.uk Cost to Participating Organisations: Participation in Explore projects will incur zero costs. Outcome: Provides the opportunity to understand ‘does this technology work with my data on my use case’. Excelerate: Application What: Embedding digital solutions across industry and public sector. The Excelerate work stream will deliver 32 projects, each being up to 42 months of support over a 14-month (max) period. Benefit of Participating: Enables (further) development and implementation of practical AI and data driven solutions within your organisation. A case of ‘I want it! How do I integrate this into my current work-flow?’ How to Engage: Initial enquires through Hartree’s Business Development Team. Contact joseph.weston@stfc.ac.uk Cost to Participating Organisations: Each organisation participating in an Excelerate project will be required to contribute ~£300k. This contribution can be in-kind (data, staff time), in-cash or a combination of both. Outcome: Implementation of practical AI and data driven solutions in to an organisations work-flows. Emerge: Future Resilience What: Driving future investment decisions in emerging computing technologies such as quantum computing. The Emerge work stream will deliver 20 projects, each being up to 18 person months of support over a 9-month (max) period. Benefit of Participating: Knowing how to prepare for and when to invest in, the right emerging digital technologies such as quantum computing. How to Engage: Initial enquires through Hartree’s Business Development Team. Contact joseph.weston@stfc.ac.uk Cost to Participating Organisations: Participation in Emerging technologies projects will incur zero costs. Outcome: Helping organisations to drive future investment decisions in emerging technologies such as quantum computing. Explain: Skills What: Helping participating organisations advance their digital skills through providing industry relevant and accessible training in areas such as high performance computing, data analytics and AI. 5000 training places Over 55 training courses Multiple levels: Introductory, Learner, Independent User and Practitioner Delivery Method: Self Learning (Intro), Online, Hybrid Presentation (Learner, Ind. User) and Presential only (Practitioner) Benefit of Participating: Provides the opportunity to tackle the digital skills gap within your organisation and widens your talent pool. How to Engage: Initial enquires through Hartree’s Business Development Team. Contact joseph.weston@stfc.ac.uk Cost to Participating Organisations: Access to the training courses in Explain will incur zero costs to the participating organisations. Outcome: Increased digital readiness for organisations across the UK For more info visit www.hartree.stfc.ac.uk or contact Joseph Weston joseph.weston@stfc.ac.uk
  8. Humanner project looking for R&D Partners Digital Twin for co-creators of the innovative social solutions It is time to align people and environmental needs through new interconnected collaborative organizational models. Establish the bridge between the virtual and offline world as well as connect academics and communities to focus on social impact by providing the missing valuable functions of the social technology for the common good. We want everyone to be able to share and take joint action on everyday experiences and quality of life concerns; at a local, national and global level. Humans are keystone species in whatever environment they inhabit. - We have known as human beings that our planet is small, fragile and interconnected. Citizen Social Science in the age of the ALPHA GENERATION To do this by holistically connect the disconnected and isolated dots with each other and communities of GLOCAL society to use technologies and methods to collectively solve problems by holistic approach and Eco-System Design thinking to improve the.. Humanity’s relationship to its environment Humanity’s relationship to technology, and Humanity’s relationship to itself The vision of the Humanner is - ‘To progress our society, economy and environment through collective innovation.’ THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE LACK OF A COLLECTIVE DESIRE FOR A POSITIVE FUTURE BUT THE LACK OF A COLLECTIVE VEHICLE FOR POSITIVE ACTIONS. How Can Technology Accelerate Social Evolution? Digital collective intelligence We sorely lack more concerted support and action to assemble new combinations of tools that can help the society think and act at a pace as well as scale commensurate with the problems we face. We need an entirely different model of dealing with reality, a new frame of mind, a collective intelligence. This is an ability to come into communion with a group and act as a single unit of intelligence. Multi Layered Collaborative Semantic Social Network for collective social innovation ecosystem management Humanner's system work with a MULTI FUNCTIONAL holistic multisolving approach so that make the investment more impactful. Single investment of time and money - Defined as a way of solving multiple problems with multisolving approach brings together stakeholders from different sectors and disciplines to tackle public issues in a cost-efficient manner 1/ "Normal" days (GLOCAL) - Collective Social Innovation Network 2/ In Crisis situation can turn into - Collective Crisis Management System SOCIETY - ISO 37105 Descriptive Framework for Cities and Communities - provides a framework to describe the key entities within a city. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/citizen-social-science-age-alpha-generation-humanner-/
  9. Welcome! This discussion thread is for exploring opportunities to make better decisions about the interfaces between the built and natural environments of the UK by integrating models from these sectors. This conversation kicked off at an interdisciplinary workshop on 21 and 29 January, 2021. Participants have been invited to continue the conversation here, and to invite others who might want to join in. Questions to discuss include (but are not limited to): What new questions would a national digital twin (comprised of integrated models from built and natural sectors) be able to answer? Who are the stakeholders and how would they interact with integrated models and resulting decisions? What new opportunities and benefits would this integration enable? Where would the biggest impacts be? What are the research and development priorities based on these opportunities? How might this impact the development of the Information Management Framework (IMF) for a national digital twin? Finally, a report will come out by the end of March summarising the insights from the workshop, and that will be posted here for your reference.
  10. CDBB have asked both Atkins and Amelia Burnett of Clementine Consulting to undertake a collaborative piece of work to review the Digital Built Britain 'Vision' & 'Roadmap', as well as develop a 'State of the Nation' report. The aim being to reflect on the work to date, and provide an opportunity to update these elements in line with how the world's perspective on construction may have evolved since 2019. You can find out more about the programme in the attached document, or if you'd like to take part in our upcoming workshops and further support this initiative, then please complete this short survey HERE
  11. TechUK’s Digital Twins Working Group (DTWG) published a landmark report- ‘Unlocking Value Across the UK’s Digital Twin Ecosystem’- on Thursday 25th February. The purpose of this report is to drive consensus around terminology, highlight key prizes associated with digital twinning across the UK, and to set out strategic recommendations for industry and Government as to how the UK’s digital twin ecosystem can progress and evolve long-term. The report also sets out a handful of recommendations, including that there should be a cross-cutting, interdisciplinary co-ordinating body to promote their use. It would identify common information requirements and capability gaps, provide guidance on codes of conduct in the use of digital twins, and develop incentives such as tax credits or innovation funding. This would come with a 10-year public investment of £150-200 million to support innovation, adoption and diffusion, and strong roles for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). A further boost could be provided by an online procurement portal – the cost of which is estimated at up to £1.5 million – that would make digital twin offerings on the market more visible and less complex, and lead to improvements in their quality and affordability. Other recommendations are for a series of strategic demonstrator projects to show the value and identify barriers to the adoption of digital twins; to identify the skills needed to support their use; and for UKRI to run a demonstrator project on how the concept can support the aim for net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  12. Hi IMF Community, You may find this workshop interesting: "4-Dimensionalism in Large Scale Data Sharing and Integration" Full details and Registration can be found at: https://gateway.newton.ac.uk/event/tgmw80 . The workshop will feature six presentations on state-of-the–art research from experts on 4-Dimensionalism in large scale data sharing and integration followed by a chaired Presenter's Panel. Each presentation will cover aspects of 4-Dimensionalism from the basics to Top Level Ontologies and Co-Constructional Ontology with each answering the question posed by the previous presentation.
  13. “There are two things in life for which we are never truly prepared: twins.” Josh Billings Frazer-Nash has started posting a 2 minute blog every Tuesday. Each takes about 2 minutes to read and captures and explains an important thought for the day. Always in plain English. Here are the different episodes in the series: 1. Known unknowns. Unlocking awareness, knowledge and action. 2. Time and space. The relativity of structure, behaviour and certainty. 3. Trusted friends. Authority, assurance and agency. 4. A puppy isn’t just for Christmas. Long-term value. 5. Greeks bearing gifts. Giving context. 6. Back to the future. History, science and maths. 7. Wisdom of the crowds. People matter. The first two are already available to read. So, sit back and enjoy. Peter van Manen
  14. I was reccently introduced to the work on Digital Twins that the City of Wellington is involved in. I share some links with the DT Hub community. Unlocking the Value of Data: Managing New Zealand’s Interconnected Infrastructure Plus, check out these links too.. which where shared with me by Sean Audain from Wellington City Council who is leading the Digital Twin activity in the city. "We have been on this trip for a while - here is an article on our approach https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/towards-city-digital-twins-sean-audain/ - the main developments since it was written was a split between the city twin and the organisational twin - something that will be formalised in the forthcoming digital strategy. To give you an idea of progress in the visualisation layer this is what the original looked like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGRBB-9jjik&feature=youtu.beback in 2017 - the new engines we are testing now look like this https://vimeo.com/427237377 - there are a bunch of improvements in the open data and in the shared data systems." I asked Sean about the impact on the DT to city leaders decision making. This is his response... "In our system we are open unless otherwise stated. We have used it as a VR experience with about 7000 wellingtonians in creating the City Resilience Strategy and Te Atakura- the Climate CHange Response and Adaptation plan. There are more descrete uses such as the proposals for the Alcohol Bylaw - https://www.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=2c4280ab60fe4ec5aae49150a46315af - this was completed a couple fo years ago and used part of the data sharing arrangements to make liquor crime data available to make decisions. I have the advantage of being a part of local government in getting civic buy in. Every time our councillors are presented with this kind of information they want more." Alcohol Control Bylaw – New
  15. @David Willans of Anmut recently sent me this invitation and I thought I should share it here (with permission). On 24th February, 11am GMT, Anmut are running a webinar about data valuation. When we mention the term, people tend to think it’s about setting a price for monetisation. That is one benefit of doing valuation, but it’s a third order benefit at best. The first and second order benefits are much more valuable and best described with two words, translation and focus. Translation Businesses are, in a simplified way, about choosing which assets and activities to allocate limited capital and resources to, to get the desired results. Data is just one of those assets, a powerful one because it enhances all the others by making decisions better, and can identify unseen problems and new opportunities. These allocation decisions are made using the money as a measure, a language if you will – invest £XXX in product / advertising / a new team / training, to get £XXXX in return. Data doesn’t fit with how a business allocates capital, which makes realising the value of it much harder. When you value it, ‘it’ being the different data assets in a business, data can be compared to other assets. It fits the ways the business runs naturally. The second order impact of this is culture change. Suddenly the business understands it has a sizeable portfolio of data assets (in our experience this is approx 20 - 30% of the total business value) and, because businesses manages through money, the business starts to naturally manage data. One caveat though, for the translation effect to happen, the way data's valued matters. If it’s just a simple cost-based method, or linear, internal estimates of use case value, the resulting valuation won’t be accurate and people won't believe it, because the figures will be based factors heavily influenced by internal politics and issues. Focus Capital allocation is a game of constrained choices, of where to focus. When a business’ portfolio of data assets is valued, it becomes very clear where to focus investment in data to move the needle – on the most valuable data assets. Again, this puts more pressure on the valuation method, because it has to be based on the ultimate source of value truth – the stakeholders for whom the organisation creates value. If you need to translate the value of data so the rest of the business gets it, or need clearer focus on how to create more measurable value from your data, this webinar will help. Find out more here or sign up
  16. “Data that is loved, tends to survive.” – Kurt Bollacker In our quest to transition ourselves from a nation that simply creates data, to one where we understand and exploit its value to the betterment of society, we still have much to learn about what constitutes ‘quality’ in data. The National Digital Twin programme wants to explore how quality can be defined, and how we can begin to build the tenets and processes for high-quality data into the way we operate in our daily lives, our corporate environments, and our national institutions. This network has been created as a place to focus discussion around how our collective approach to data governance, value and quality must evolve. It provides a central point for the storage of resources that are relevant to each topic, and a forum for the open sharing of ideas, research and case studies. We will explore case studies, debate how we have learned (or not) from the mistakes of the past, and try to bring together consensus over what constitutes best in class practices for governance, quality and ultimately, value. To help in guiding and shaping the work being done, the voices of broader stakeholder groups, expert communities and organisations is invaluable. To this end, the NDTp is establishing this new network, through the DT Hub. Who should join? This is an open group accessible to any member of the DTHub. This is an actively developing area and broad participation is widely encouraged from individuals from all backgrounds. Admin & Security This Community will be supported by CDBB and the National Digital Twin programme by a network manager (James Harris) and supported by the core NDTp team. Please note that due to the open nature of the DT Hub, the community is not suitable for the discussion of sensitive or commercial information.
  17. We hope that you have had opportunity to look through the two survey documents published by the NDTp technical development team. A survey of Top-Level Ontologies A survey of Industry Data Models and Reference Data Libraries If you think there have been omissions, and you would like to submit others for assessment, Matthew and the team would be happy to receive them. Linked here is a proforma that we ask for you to complete. You can post your completed form to the files here in the network and we can pick it up from there. Ontology Assessment Criteria - Proforma We appreciate your interest and involvement to ensure the surveys are as complete as they can be.
  18. Infrastructure projects inevitably cause impacts to our environment, The pressure is therefore on contractors to adhere to new policies using their own initiatives and tools. In addition to adhering to new net gains policies that will be released with the upcoming environment bill, other impacts of not considering our environment include project delays and increases in costs, and damage to a contractors social and sustainable reputation. Integrating GIS to current environmental planning methodologies improves on existing tools for evaluating and quantifying biodiversity and Natural Capital. By doing this we can visualise the areas that would potentially have the highest loss, and adapt the design to mitigate impacts and reduce those losses. Join the webinar 11th Dec at 3.30pm for the discussion: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1029016851016993804 @iain miskimmin @KReevesDigi
  19. The IMF Architects and IMF Developers Networks will be merging today into the IMF Community Network. Any members of the IMF Architects Community not currently in the IMF Developers will be invited to join that group. The newly merged group will be renamed 'IMF Community Network'. The merger is to ensure a single point for information and discussion and to rectify any confusion or boundary setting that was not helpful to the community.
  20. I have joined the Digital Twin Hub in hopes to tap into some of the leading minds in visioning the future of a digitally enabled, open and collaborative built environment. I see the Digital Twin agenda as a means to push people and projects to think about their data as part of larger systems, that interconnect and learn from each other. But I come to this forum as someone who cannot claim to be leading on digital detail or technicality: instead, I bring the social side. I see the potential of Digital Twins to help us understand our built environment better, and in turn make better future decisions to serve society better. I have seen this in other blog posts as "People First". So the purpose of this post is to introduce my current project - which aims to not only use technical data to influence better social decisions, but to interweave social at Better Places Social Value Toolkit Project: a Knowledge Transfer Partnership between Stantec and University of Reading The project proposes to develop an industry leading approach to spatially mapping social value and wider outcomes of strategic land development projects with the intention to influence value-based decision making as early as possible. We are now progressing the project and undertaking some market research in relation to social value. The two-year project (started Sept 2020) is being funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Innovate UK. The project will be conducted via a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Stantec and the University of Reading. We received very positive feedback on our links with industry, the market need, and our proposition to create a unique toolkit proposition utilizing data analytics to spatially calculate social value outcomes. The University is contributing academic and research expertise. We are excited to be working with and to introduce Flora Samuel, who is the author of the recently published Social Value Toolkit for Architecture. I (Cara Mullholland) will be delivering the project with us and joined Stantec in September following completion of a PhD in “Social Value Management in Infrastructure Megaprojects”. Our Stantec team is led by Jenny Hughes (Climate Change and Social Value Manager) and Keith Mitchell (Director, Community Development and Infrastructure with a history in transport planning). We hope that by linking in with those leading social value related work for digital projects in the built environment we are going to develop relationships that can lead to productive collaboration that increases the impact of all our work. We want to connect with the best practices of social value data collection, measuring and reporting to ensure our efforts can build together. We look forward to hearing from anyone who feels our work may align, or would be happy to talk to anyone who may want more information on what we are up to. Please see the press release here on our website for further information of the project award, and our current project page here.
  21. The National Digital Twin programme is a national programme, built on consensus. As the open consultation on our proposed approach to an IMF draws to a close, Miranda Sharp IMF Engagement Lead at CDBB shares how the DT Hub members can continue to shape its development. We believe the IMF is the key to enabling secure, resilient data sharing between organisations and sectors in the built environment and want to work with you to devel0p it. Greater use of digital technologies and information in the built environment increases capacity, efficiency, reliability and resilience. This in turn enables existing assets to enhance service provision for people, as well as improving efficiency in design and delivery of new assets through a better understanding of whole-life performance of those assets already in place. We know that by working collaboratively with members of the DT Hub, who share in that vision, we will end up with a better end result. My role within the programme is to help make your voice heard, and to open conversations where you can ask the challenging questions we need to find answers to. During the next phase of the consultation we will be running in-depth interviews with practiti0ners to understand the challenges the proposed approach faces, and how these could be resolved. We want to know if the approach be top down or bottom up – or both? We want to hear your thoughts, ideas and reflections, both positive and negative. In working collaboratively to establish the IMF we will enable a National Digital Twin that is implementable and usable, in order to enable society to tackle the urgent and cross-silo challenges of achieving carbon reduction targets and effectively coordinate disaster response. We will also be able to derive the greater benefits of securely connecting our data assets. This process will require debate and deliberation along the way and invite many questions to which answers might not be immediate or clear. That is because our vision to create a digital built Britain is not complete or static; it is an evolving development emerging from multiple voices and viewpoints across a wide range of organisations – big and small, public and private, clients and contractors. Our webinar marking the publication of the report attracted a range of questions and this is precisely what is needed to interrogate the approach, to challenge its strengths, identify weaknesses and test resilience. Some people are keen to know if CDBB has started to build a prototype to demonstrate the framework but, as the pathway document explains, we must first build consensus on the prosed approach to an IMF – one cannot happen without the other. Work is underway to create a thin slice of an IMF to start to establish and test a common language and apply this early framework to a platform being developed by the Construction Innovation Hub (CIH) and put it under scrutiny. But first we need to map out the approach that will enable a demonstrable piece of the framework. The top-level academic contribution to the developing framework will also be studied closely to ensure it is robust and resilient, able to withstand change, to grow and expand. Challenge will simultaneously come from the bottom-up when organisations will input to test competency. The IMF is designed to make connections between digital twins and provide operators and decision-makers with resilient and secure verified data sharing to enable a wider view of the implications of decisions and insights that invite timely interventions and potentially better outcomes. The decision-making and the form it takes is the responsibility of organisations and businesses themselves and beyond the scope of this report – but we do want to hear your views. With that in mind we have created two new communities here on the DT Hub – Architects and Developers – dedicated to the discussion around the development of the IMF and the operational implementation of the Framework within organisations. Our Architects Community has been established for those involved in real-world application and implementation of information management. The group will test and calibrate the NDT programme’s approach to the IMF and provide a forum for discussion on challenges, opportunities and the practicalities for implementation. Our Developer Community, comprising information management, data science and integration specialists, is bringing scrutiny to the IMF approach and has been established to provide a rich discussion area for the core concepts, tenets and philosophies of the Framework and its constituent parts. If you have ideas, questions or observations about the Pathway document then please engage with us via these two new communities. Achieving alignment, interoperability, protocols, governance and standards to allow individual businesses to flourish while serving the interests of society needs engagement and contribution from as many of you as possible. It is time to collaborate at scale. I look forward to working together to shape an IMF to secure the sharing of data, enabling insight to drive informed decision-making is an essential process, unlocking value and delivering better outcomes for the greater good.
  22. I've been drafting a Digital Twin Policy for HE and would appreciate any feedback. Some of it is quite HE-specific, but I'm hoping that the broader structure and themes is accessible to non-HE people. What do you think? [Very very draft] Highways England Digital Twin Policy Purpose of this document: Definition: To agree a working definition of Digital Twin for Highways England, and provide some context on the National Digital Twin programme. Principles: To establish a consistent and generally accepted set of principles for the creation and use of Digital Twins by Highways England and associated supply chain projects, and align these to the Information Principles described in our Information Vision & Strategy. Architecture: To describe the common data and technology underpinnings of Digital Twin development within Highways England, including infrastructure, integration, and interfaces, aligned with National Digital Twin programme's Information Management Framework. Capability: To highlight the skills we require as an organisation in order to be an informed client and custodian of Digital Twins. Ethics: To set guidelines around the ethical implications of using Digital Twins to manage the Strategic Road Network. Governance: To document how we will govern Digital Twins within Highways England as a collaborative body of practice, as well as how we will quantify and capture the benefits of investment in Digital Twins. This document should be read as contributing to the realisation of Highways England's Information Vision and Strategy and abide by our Information Management System. CDBB imagery showing the digital representation of physical assets. Section 1: Definition and context Our definition of a Digital Twin is as follows: A Digital Twin is a digital representation of a physical thing (and its operation) that one can query. This definition helps us to distinguish between the concept of a Digital Twin, and the more established practice of BIM. The key differences are: Digital Twins can and should be part of the construction phase, but the focus of their use is on the operation of existing physical assets (e.g. the 99%+ of assets that are not currently under construction). Within our organisation (and the wider industry), there is often a loss of data capability as projects move from construction to operations as operators have typically been unable to exploit BIM products. By designing our construction models as nascent Digital Twins we have the opportunity to define the data and logic required to operate an asset at the start of the lifecycle, and ensure that the models we create during construction have operational value. The emphasis on being able to query Digital Twins is important. A Digital Twin should not be a static representation of an asset, it should reflect the logic of that asset in operation. This means that Digital Twins need to expose not just the material properties of an asset (e.g. location, dimensions, materials, etc.) but also the business logic governing that asset (e.g. how we as the infrastructure owner can intervene on that asset to change how it performs). This allows Digital Twins to enable better organisational decision-making through simulation and 'what if' scenarios. In order to realise the two points above, the data schema underpinning Digital Twins is necessarily more complex, and more focused on relationships rather than properties. BIM data standards, such as COBie or Uniclass focus on the hierarchies of assets, and their properties (e.g. "span belongs to bridge and is made of steel"). Emergent Digital Twin data models (including our own Highways England Ontology) capture not just the properties of assets but how the relate to their wider environmental and operational context (e.g. "span is corroded by road salts, damaged by vehicle incursions, is maintained when the flange has 20%+ corrosion, and supports a flow of 50,000 vehicles per day travelling on the M25 (as well as a broadband internet cable) causing significant safety and KPI impact in the event of failure"). Creating these data models demands the creation and maintenance of a deep 'knowledge graph' of the organisation. Imagery courtesy of the CDBB. They emphasise that new assets should be view as interventions on the wider existing system. In the UK, construction annually adds only circa 0.5% by value to infrastructure as a whole. The quality of the services delivered to the economy, environment and society is determined by the 99.5% of infrastructure that already exists. Construction of new assets is important but to make a significant difference to service quality, value, and outcomes for people the focus should be on the infrastructure that already exists. CDBB believe that viewing and operating our infrastructure as a system of systems will deliver better outcomes for citizens, the Information Management Framework will help enable improved secure, resilient data sharing across the built environment to make sure the better information gets in the right hands, at the right time, to make the better decision. Where possible we seek to align with, and contribute to, the Centre for Built Britain's National Digital Twin programme. More information is available on the CDBB's website and we would also encourage staff to join the Digital Twin Hub. If you are new to the concepts behind the Digital Twin and the National Digital Twin programme, we would recommend reading their publication 'The approach to delivering a National Digital Twin for the United Kingdom'. The NDT's Gemini Principles Section 2: Principles Digital Twins are ultimately an extension of data and information. As such, we believe that the principles set out in our Information Vision & Strategy are applicable to our development of Digital Twins (albeit with the need for a subject matter specific interpretation). ID Information Vision & Strategy principles Digital Twin interpretation Relevant Gemini principle(s) 1 We will use information as best we can, even if it's not perfect. "We will use Digital Twins as best we can, even if it's not perfect." Our digital infrastructure is a work in progress. As such, we will design and develop a shared set of principles, architecture, governance, and capability that allows us to incrementally develop Digital Twins over the coming investment cycles. This means building upon and evolving our existing in-house digital infrastructure, avoiding creating undue reliance on proprietary solutions, and carefully managing the benefits case associated with investment. Public good Value creation 2 We will create the trust people have in our information by assuring its fitness for purpose. "We will create trust in our Digital Twins by assuring their fitness for purpose." We will ensure that the data that informs (or is presented in) our Digital Twins is subject to our Information Management System. We will assess the condition of data and its fitness-for-purpose so that health-warnings/uncertainties can be applied to the outputs of our Digital Twins (where necessary), and identify remediation activities where necessary. Quality 3 Information can affect people's lives and we will use it transparently and ethically. "Digital Twins can affect people's lives, and we will use them transparently and ethically." As a public body, we shouldn't use Digital Twins in any manner that we would not be comfortable being public knowledge. Where possible we should seek to openly publish our approach to Digital Twins, including this policy document. This demands a detailed consideration of the ethics of our use of Digital Twins, as well as their potential for bias, which is covered later in this document. Public good Openness 4 We need to understand how the information we collect is used by others to make sure it is good enough for everyone. "We need to understand how the outputs of our Digital Twins are used by others, to ensure that they are fit for purpose." We understand that Digital Twins are only as good as the data and logic that go into them. Where staff or organisations are using Digital Twins to support decision making then we must be aware of the sensitivity of these decisions. We must then confirm that the data and logic used by the Digital Twin can provide sufficient accuracy to safely inform those decisions. Quality 5 We must continually earn the right to look after our customers data. "Our Digital Twins should not directly or indirectly provide information on individuals or small groups of people." The movement of our customers on the road network, and potentially related networks such as rail, will likely be a key data input to Digital Twins. However, clear limitations and governance must be placed upon how customer data is used within Digital Twins, including aggregation, anonymisation, and clear rules to avoid 'toxic combinations'. Security 6 Information is a valuable resource that will be kept safe and secure from accidents and attacks. "Our Digital Twins must not materially increase our risk of data breach or loss of customer data." Digital Twins require substantial quantities of information in order to work effectively. Any centralised storage of information on this scale will increase the risk of data loss, and whilst this risk can never be fully mitigated, we must take steps to ensure that we are securing our data storage infrastructure in accordance with best practice. Security 7 Looking after information has a cost we should understand and account for. "We will be aware of the on-going cost of maintaining our Digital Twins." As per the previous point, even using public cloud resources there will be a substantial on-going cost for the storage and computation (not to mentioned resource) associated with running our Digital Twins. In addition, there is always an opportunity cost associated with expenditure, and we should seek to ensure that we are delivering a return on taxpayer's funding. Curation 8 We all have a responsibility to look after our information so that it is fit for purpose. "We will build our Digital Twins with clear data and logic ownership and stewardship responsibilities." The component parts of the Digital Twin, including data and logic (algorithms) must have clearly defined owners, lineage, and steward roles to ensure that they remain fit-for-purpose. Quality Curation 9 Decisions made with information create better outcomes for our customers, stakeholders and ourselves. "We will tie our use of Digital Twins to clearly defined outcomes for our customers, stakeholders and ourselves." Digital Twins cannot simply be 'shiny things'. As part of the Governance described in this policy we will be clear on the benefits case associated with our investment in Digital Twins, and the outcomes that we are seeking to deliver. Insight 10 The value of information is only realised when it's used to help make decisions. "The value of Digital Twins is only realised when they are used to help make decisions." This is probably the most important principle. We will use Digital Twins to affect a positive (and cost-effective) change on how we build, operate, and maintain our network. All development of Digital Twins must be able to demonstrate how it will contribute to this goal. Insight Section 3: Architecture The use of Digital Twins will likely vary substantially across our business. Different teams will work at different stages of the asset lifecycle (e.g. plan, design, build, operate/maintain, dispose), and consequently their teams will have different skillsets, ways of working, and levels of supplier involvement. This does not, however, mean that our use of Digital Twins across the business must be disconnected and siloed. If we end up with a number of standalone Digital Twins then we are likely to miss the greater benefit of understand how our infrastructure behaves throughout the lifecycle. We believe in a 'federated' model, one where parts of the business can design and develop Digital Twins to meet there use cases, but which ensures adherence to common standards described in this policy. The diagram below describes, at exceptionally high level, the common 'schema' and 'data' layers that we should seek to create to support our federated Digital Twins in the application layer. Key to this architecture is the use of open platforms wherever possible, whether those are open data standards, open source tools, or solutions shared with other Digital Twin owners. We want to avoid Digital Twins within Highways England becoming entirely dependent upon proprietary solutions and walled gardens, and we believe that there are lessons to be learned from the successes and failures of BIM in this respect. Ultimately we want to own our own destiny in this space, and build capability within Highways England. Indicative components of the Highways England federated Digital Twin Image web part, showing Indicative components of the Highways England federated Digital Twin. WThis architecture will build upon existing and proposed corporate services that will be accessible to the organisation and its supply chain, as per the table below. Component Current Position End State Position Schema (structure) Our Corporate Ontology provides a logical map of our organisation from a data perspective. Our Data Modelling standards provide guidance as to what artefacts should be created to document new systems (including Digital Twins). We will continue to develop our Corporate Ontology as we create Digital Twins, with a focus on increasing boths its completeness, and the ease with which Highways England staff can view, edit, and use the Ontology to keep it up-to-date and to inform the design of Digital Twins. We will work to align our Corporate Ontology with data standards specified under the NDT's Information Management Framework and adopt all or part of their Foundational Data Model once this becomes available. Data Storage (inc. Graph) Our Azure-based common data environment, Data-as-a-Service (DaaS), provides a corporate approach to storing and sharing information within Highways England. We will expand DaaS to incorporate a graph database built to reflect the schema set out in our Corporate Ontology, and populated with datasets relevant to our Digital Twins. Data Exchange (inc. API) Our intention is to extend the functionality of DaaS to include for an 'HE API', as well as Master Data Management functionality to deliver a 'single source of truth' of data drawn from systems of record across the organisation. Highways England will publish data externally through a common set of documented open data feeds managed as a single holistic service (e.g. the 'HE API'). These data feeds will reflect the underlying structure of data specified in our Corporate Ontology and data models. IoT / Sensors Our intention is to extend the functionality of DaaS to handle real time 'event' data. This will allow DaaS to serve information from sensors into Digital Twins. Though in practice is it also possible that sensors will report directly into Digital Twins and then subsequently share that data with DaaS for wider distribution. The risk we face with the adoption of IoT is that, to date at least, it has been extremely piecemeal. This is in part because, in many cases, the marginal cost of sensors does not yet make it cost-effective to deploy them ubiquitously. Often our IoT data doesn't even make it on to the HE IT estate. We are going to come to a point where centralised management of data from IoT becomes substantially more important for us an organisation in order to avoid different departments and Digital Twins needing to make duplicate investments. Some evolution of our common data environment will need to accommodate this change. Our corporate approach to data modelling and creating a common data environment underpins our federated approach to Digital Twins within Highways England. More information on our corporate solution, and how it is available to build digital solutions within Highways England, is available on our Data-as-a-Service SharePoint page. We will work to understand the division of responsibility, and necessary interconnections, between Data-as-a-Service and other Digital Twin and data management solutions including HEADDS and BIF. Diagrammatic representation of current data collation within Highways England Image web part, showing Diagrammatic representation of current data collation within Highways England. Section 4: Capability The capability that our Digital Twins provide us as an organisation should stem logically from our definition of a Digital Twin as "a digital representation of a physical thing (and its operation) that one can query." We should look for our Digital Twins to provide us with capabilities beyond what can be realised by existing BIM systems and other digital technologies. There are (at least) two dimensions to the capability that Digital Twins will provide us, breadth (e.g. the proportion of our portfolio of assets that is represented by a Digital Twin), and depth (e.g. the range of queries that it is possible for us to conduct using those Digital Twins). The question of breadth is a relatively simple one of scale, which hopefully deploying our Digital Twins cost-effectively on scalable public cloud solutions will help realise. The question of depth is much more interesting as it relates to the functionality of the Digital Twins we build, and the use cases that we want to realise. Our aim is for Digital Twins to provide us with a range of functionality, including: The ability to run 'what if' scenarios to understand the consequences of changes to how we manage our network. These scenarios should be able to consider a range of parameters including the performance of assets, the configuration of the network, maintenance policy, traffic management, and the impact of external factors including levels of customer demand, weather, incidents, and disruption to other transport and utility services. Exchange of information with other organisations, including other road operators and stakeholders (e.g. Local authorities, Transport Scotland, Transport for Wales, emergency services), transport operations (e.g. Network Rail, TfL, HS2, HAL, MAG) and utility operators (e.g. UKPN, National Grid, water companies). Highlighting inter-dependencies with other organisations, we know that our infrastructure is crucial to other organisations working effectively, whether it's the transport of crucial supplies, providing a route for maintenance teams to get to asset failures on other networks, or in some cases literally supporting 3rd party cables and pipes with our structures. Our Digital Twin will understand these inter-dependencies and highlight potential choke-points. Mapping of assets to outcomes, in other words how do individual assets on our network contribute (or not) to the overall performance of the network itself. We have all seen instances where the failure of individual, relatively insignificant assets can result in substantial disruption to how the network as a whole operates. As an organisation we should be aware of these potential choke-points, not only in terms of how they effect our business, but also in terms of how they impact our stakeholder's goals. Mapping of organisational workflows to outcomes, in other words how do our organisation's decision-making processes and operating model influence and potentially change the real world outcomes. Presenting a time-series view of the organisation, for all of the functionality listed above we should be able to see change over time, both looking back into the past, and projecting into the future. Whilst we continue to develop our Digital Twins to deliver this functionality we need to be mindful of the training and staff capabilities that we need to build within the business, who should be accountable within the business for owning them, and what we should be looking to procure through our supply chain. Key roles will likely include: Data owner; Data steward; Product owner; Platform developer; Software developer; UI/UX developer; Technical project manager; Business analyst; Data analyst; Data scientist; Data architecture; Technical SME; Benefits manager. Consequently, any development of a Digital Twin within Highways England must include for a consideration of the resources required to maintain, administer, and continuously improve the Digital Twin throughout its lifecycle. This will need to consider and engage on the appropriate division of responsibility between HE Directorates, ITD, and the supply chain. Section 5: Ethics Digital Twins of our infrastructure are a potentially transformative technology that will change how we interact with, and manage, our built environment. Consequently, it is worth our considering the ethics of when and how we develop Digital Twins so as to control for unintended or biased outcomes. In many ways, the conversation around ethics of Digital Twins is an extension of the conversation on the ethics of Artificial Intelligence in general. As such, it makes sense to take guidance from the wider body of literature on this topic. A good reference point is The Alan Turing Institute's 'Understanding artificial intelligence ethics and safety' This states that: The Institute's report lays out the following potential harms of AI, all of which extend to Digital Twins, and many of which you will have started to see instances of emerge in the real world: Bias and discrimination; Denial of individual autonomy, recourse, and rights - particularly pertinent to Digital Twins of infrastructure that need to account not just for the predominance of users, but also for minority and disadvantaged user groups. Non-transparent, unexplainable, or unjustifiable outcomes - when we are spending public money, we need to be able to explain the process that determine our investment decisions. Invasions of privacy - our principles earlier in this document touch upon the risk violating data protection legislation. Isolation and disintegration of social connection; Unreliable, unsafe, or poor-quality outcomes - again, particularly relevant when dealing with physical infrastructure. The report then goes on to lay out what steps we should seek to take in order to ensure that we are building an ethical platform. Rather than paraphrase the Institute's report into its entirety in this policy, the recommendation is that we use the guidelines set out in this report as the ethical framework that we apply to the development to Digital Twins. FAST Track Principles from the Turing Institute Image web part Section 6: Governance Collectively, the definition, principles, architecture, ethics, and governance should allow different parts of Highways England to conduct Digital Twin development whilst minimising the risk of inconsistent, redundant, unaligned, or unethical development. The Digital Twin working group exists as a cross-directorate informal meeting to exchange knowledge on the development and application of Digital Twins within and beyond Highways England, and to see to develop common standards. Our Governance should seek to ensure that: This policy is visible within the business; Parts of the business are not developing or engaging in Digital Twin work in ignorance of this wider coordination effort; The members of the Digital Twin working group are able to support digital transformation as it occurs across the business, including Digital by Default, Operational Excellence, Asset Management Transformation, Digital Roads, Digital for Customers, etc; Whilst the Digital Twin is not formally a subsidiary of any other body, we should look to report back into the relevant governance of the programmes listed above, as well as ITD's DDAT board. Broadly, the governance should follow: Digital Twin working group: meeting every two months with representatives from MP, Ops, SES, ITD, and other interested Directorates and suppliers. Responsible for drafting and maintaining this Digital Twin policy and other guidance documents. Representation at Digital by Default, OE 2025, AM Transformation, Digital Roads, Digital for Customers, DDAT, via one or more named members of the Digital Twin working group. This is intended as soft governance where the membership of the Digital Twin working group, and the guidance documents that it originates, can influence and report on the development of digital capabilities across the business.
  23. I've decided to stop dithering and try to set out a concise, to-the-point, Digital Twin Policy for HE. Here's what I have in terms of outline contents, with some help from @Neil Thomspon What am I missing? Topic to be covered: Definition: To agree a working definition of Digital Twin for Highways England, and provide some context on the National Digital Twin programme. Principles: To establish a consistent and generally accepted set of principles for the creation and use of Digital Twins by Highways England and associated supply chain projects, and align these to the Information Principles described in our Information Vision & Strategy. Architecture: To describe the common data and technology underpinnings of Digital Twin development within Highways England, including infrastructure, integration, and interfaces, aligned with National Digital Twin programme's Information Management Framework. Capability: To highlight the skills we require as an organisation in order to be an informed client and custodian of Digital Twins. Ethics: To set guidelines around the ethical implications of using Digital Twins to manage the Strategic Road Network. Governance: To document how we will govern Digital Twins within Highways England as a collaborative body of practice, as well as how we will quantify and capture the benefits of investment in Digital Twins. Federation: Collectively, the definition, principles, architecture, ethics, and governance should allow different parts of Highways England to conduct Digital Twin development whilst minimising the risk of inconsistent, redundant, unaligned, or unethical development.
  24. 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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