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  1. The idea of a Digital Twin [DT] needs to advance in a standardized and formal manner. As @DRossiter87 pointed out, this is necessary to "support the consistent adoption of, and interoperability between, digital twins for the built environment within the UK" To aid in this endeavour, it is useful to delineate the difference between the following terms: “DT General Use Case” [GUC]: a very short sentence, possibly consisting of two or three words – ideally a verb followed by a noun – ultimately concerned with the brief and blunt statement of the central business aim that is motivating the use and implementation of a DT, e.g., ‘optimize traffic’. “DT Use Case Scenario” [UCS]: a documentation of the sequence of actions, or in other words, DT-user interactions executed through a particular DT case study or an actual DT real-world project. “DT Use”: a typical technical function or action executed by any DT throughout the course of any UCS. Accordingly, the DT uses are seen as the standard building blocks by which a standard common language can be founded. Such a standard language, which can possibly be machine-readable as well, can be used in documenting and detailing the DT-user interactions in a standard format to facilitate their publishing and sharing of knowledge. Below is a figure of a “DT uses taxonomy”. It is made up of three distinct hierarchical levels, these are respectively: ‘Included Uses’ containing four high-level cornerstone uses that are, besides rare exceptional cases, included in and executed by almost every DT throughout any UCS (i.e. Mirror, Analyse, Communicate and Control); ‘Specialized Uses’ including special forms of the Included Uses, where each specialized use enjoys unique strengths suitable for specific purposes; and “Specialized Sub-Uses” at the lowest hierarchical level of the taxonomy, which further differentiates between variant types within a Specialized Use at the higher level by virtue of very fine inherent variations that distinguish one type from another and thus, enhances the DT’s practical adequacy in dealing with alternative contexts and user specifically defined purposes. The table below include a formal definition of each DT Use. DT Use Definition Synonyms 01 Mirror To duplicate a physical system in the real world in the form of a virtual system in the cyber world. Replicate, twin, model, shadow, mimic 1.1 Capture Express in a digital format within the virtual world the status of a physical system at a point of time. (Usually, offline DT) collect, scan, survey, digitalize 1.2 Monitor Collecting information related to the performance of a physical system. (Online or Offline DT) Sense, observe, measure 1.3 Quantify Measure quantity of a physical system’s particulars, instances or incidents. (Online or Offline DT) Quantify, takeoff, count 1.4 Qualify Track the ongoing status of a physical system (Online or Offline DT) Qualify, follow, track DT Use Definition Synonyms 02 Analyse To create new knowledge and provide insights for users and stakeholders about a physical system. Examine, manage 2.1 Compute To perform conventional arithmetical calculations, traditional mathematical operations and functions and simple statistical techniques like correlations Calculate, add, subtract, multiply, divide 2.2 Mine To uncover, identify and recognize the web of interdependencies, interconnected mechanisms, complex processes, interwoven feedback loops, masked classes, clusters or typologies, hidden trends and patterns within the physical system. Learn, recognize, identify, detect, AI, ML, BDA 2.3 Simulate To explore and discover the implications and possible emerging behaviours of a complex web of interacting set of variables. 2.3.1 Scenario To find out the implications, impacts or consequences of implementing pre-defined scenarios (akin to non-destructive tests) What-if, evaluate, assess 2.3.2 Stress-Test To identify the scenarios that may lead to failure or breakdown of physical system (akin to destructive tests) Test, inspect, investigate 2.4 Predict Concerned with futures studies 2.4.1 Forecast to predict the most likely state of a real system in the future, by projecting the known current trends forward over a specified time horizon. foresee 2.4.2 Back-cast To question or prove in a prospective manner, how the physical system is operating towards achieving the pre-set aims and goals. manage, confirm 2.5 Qualitize Enhance and improve the quality of the outcomes or deliverables produced by an intervention in real world. 2.5.1 Verify Verify conformance and compliance of physical system with standards, specifications and best practice. Validate, check, comply, conform 2.5.2 Improve Inform the future updating, modifying or enhancing the current standards to be in better coherence and harmony with the actual operational and usage behaviours and patterns. Update, upgrade, revise DT Use Definition Synonyms 03 Communicate To exchange collected and analysed information amongst stakeholders. interact 3.1 Visualize To form and vision a realistic representation or model of current or predicted physical system. review, visioning 3.2 Immerse To involve interested stakeholders in real-like experiences using immersive technologies such as VR, AR and MR. involve 3.3 Document Document and represent gathered and/or analysed data in a professional manner and technical language, forms or symbols. Present 3.4 Transform To modify, process or standardize information to be published and received by other DT(s) or other DT users (e.g. a National DT) or overcome interoperability issues Translate, map 3.5 Engage To involve citizens and large groups of people including marginalized groups in policy and decision-making processes. Empower, include DT Use Definition Synonyms 04 Control To leverage the collected and analysed information to intervene back into the real world to achieve a desirable state. Implement, execute 4.1 Inform To support human decision making throughout the implementation of interventions in the real world. Support, aid 4.2 Actuate Using CPS and actuators to implement changes to physical system. Regulate, manipulate, direct, automate, self-govern Standardised set of ‘DT Uses’ can help avoid miscommunication and confusion while sharing or publishing DT Use Case Scenarios and their content explicitly explaining the 'know-how'. It can also support the procurement of DT services by ensuring the use of a one common language across the supply chain and stakeholders. Al-Sehrawy R., Kumar B. @Bimal Kumarand Watson R. (2021). Digital Twin Uses Classification System for Urban Planning & Infrastructure Program Management. In: Dawood N., Rahimian F., Seyedzadeh S., Sheikhkhoshkar M. (eds) Enabling The Development and Implementation of Digital Twins. Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality. Teesside University Press, UK.
  2. As part of my last post Consolidating Concepts: Scope, I discussed a potential structure that a concepts and principles standard related to digital twin could adopt. In this post, I’ll consider how this structure aligns to the Gemini Principles. I’d greatly appreciate your views as to whether I’ve gotten this right! Using ISO/DIS 23247-1 (Digital Twin framework for manufacturing. Part 1. Overview and general principles) as a basis, I presented the following structure, now modified to include standard clause numbering: Scope Normative References Terms and Definitions Overview of Digital Twin for the Built Environment Concept of the Digital Twin Digital Twin for the Built Environment Applications (Uses) of Digital Twin for the Built Environment Benefits of Digital Twin for the Built Environment Observable Built Environment Elements General Principles of the Digital Twin Framework for the Built Environment Overview Standardization Scope of the Digital Twin Framework for the Built Environment Requirements of the Digital Twin for the Built Environment Hierarchical modelling of Digital Twin for the Built Environment Considering the topics to be covered, a lot of good reference information is available within the Gemini Principles, the values set out by CDBB to aid the development of a National Digital Twin (NDT). Pages 10 include definitions (3) as well distinguishing features of a digital twin (4.1); Page 11 also includes several purposes which could form the basis of (4.3); Pages 12-13 focus on the national digital twin application (4.3) as well as list several benefits (4.4); Pages 16 outline the nine principles at high level (5.1); and Pages 17-23 begin to establish the requirements of these principles (5.3). However, it is clear to see that the Gemini Principles does not cover all of these topics. For example, it does not include any information about what elements a built environment digital twin may wish to observe/monitor (4.5), cover the standardization scope (5.2) or deal with the hierarchical modelling (5.4). In which case, where can we find this information? For example, reports such as Flourishing Systems discuss different levels of aggregation: Component, System, and System of Systems. Could this form the basis of our Hierarchical modelling? I wonder what other good information could also be extracted from Flourishing Systems… And there we have it, the Gemini Principles appear to be an ideal basis for the production of such a standard. Reading this: Have I correctly interpreted the content of the Gemini Principles? What other documents could also support the production of such a standard? Please let me know in the comments as we consolidate the communities’ views around what concepts and principles are important to capture before the webinar on the 11th February at 10:00. Join us as we delve deeper into a formalised set of concepts and principles for digital twins in the built environment.
  3. During December, the Digital Twin Hub and BSI hosted a Digital Twin Standards Landscape Workshop based on the recently published Draft Standards Landscape Report (final version to follow). The workshop highlighted the need to prioritize the development of a standard outlining the concepts and principles related to digital twins for the built environment. This post explores, at high level, what such a standard might cover and asks you, the reader, to consider the questions posed to inform how it is potentially developed. Please comment under this post with any answers you may have or insights you wish to share; referencing the question were relevant. There are many types of standards. BS 0, the standard for standards, provides a list of different types of British Standard. When producing concepts and principles, these are typically drafted as a guide: Such a guide would need to follow the structure given within the ISO/IEC directives. Foreword Introduction Scope Normative References Terms and Definitions Clauses and Sub-clauses Annexes Bibliography Introduction: The introduction provides specific information or commentary about the content of the document. While optional, introductions help provide context. The introduction is a great place to outline why such a standard is needed as well as the benefits it helps to realize. Question 1: What context would you like the introduction to cover? For example: How the document supports the concept of data for the public good. Scope: The scope defines the subject of the document and the aspects covered. In developing the standards roadmap, a provisional scope has already been written! Question 2: Does this scope capture what this document needs to cover? Normative References: Lists documents cited within the normative clauses needed to understand the content. Standards such as BS EN ISO 19650-1 may need to be cited, for example, and would appear as a normative reference. Question 3: What documents do you think will need to be cited? Terms and Definitions: Lists the definitions necessary to understand the terms used in the document. As a new domain, there will likely be several terms and definitions which will need to be captured beyond the terms typically used within the built environment. Many of which may already be included within the DT Hub Glossary. Question 4: What terms and definitions do you think will need to be included? Clauses and Sub-clauses: The normative content of the document. Unlike a management system standard, there is not a defined structure for a set of concepts and principles. As referenced within the Draft Standards Landscape Report, ISO/DIS 23247-1 outlines the concepts and principles of digital twins for manufacturing. Within, it uses the following structure (adapted to suit the built environment): Question 5: Do these headings capture what this document needs to cover? And there we have it, the potential outline of the concepts and principles standard related to digital twin for the built environment. Please let us know your thoughts by commenting on the five questions posed, or if there is anything else you wish to raise. In addition, there will also be a workshop 10:00-12:00 on the 11th of February to discuss this topic in detail, so please mark your calendars (invites to follow). Your views are invaluable as we steadily realize the National Digital Twin programme, share them here!
  4. I'd like to share with everyone a recent report by the AMRC set out to Untangle the Requirements of a Digital Twin defining and justifying a digital twin to be A live digital coupling of the state of a physical asset or process to a virtual representation with a functional output. This is an accumulation of the research AMRC has been doing in this space over several years working both with multiple sectors of industry and academic institutions so I'm keen to hear your thoughts on the approach taken to breakdown the requirements of having a digital twin defined in this way. Does it match your approaches to having a digital twin? Where do you find the emphasis being of deploying such systems? https://www.amrc.co.uk/pages/digital-twin-report For those of you unfamiliar with the work AMRC are doing in the digital twin space, a few cascading findings and metrics still stem from a previous report back from 2018. https://www.amrc.co.uk/files/document/219/1536919984_HVM_CATAPULT_DIGITAL_TWIN_DL.pdf AMRC_Digital_Twin_AW.pdf
  5. Casey Rutland

    Is it? Or is it not?

    Is it? Or is it not? For a few years now, parts of our sector and indeed other sectors, have been researching, defining and promoting digital twins. If we observe anything, it’s that chatter (including within the DT Hub) has been rife with the ‘what is/isn’t a digital twin...’ I’m no expert, and don’t yet claim to offer a resolution to clarify the topic, but I do think a discussion hosted within the DT Hub would be of use. This discussion is something that will provide greater clarity and implementation for those less involved in this definition process and yet vitally important to the delivery of whatever a digital twin of the future is destined to be. Let’s learn from BIM implementation I wear many hats in my career and most of them are related to the implementation and ‘normalisation’ of BIM processes. As Vice Chair of the UK BIM Alliance and Chair of the UK & Ireland Chapter of buildingSMART International, I’m afforded a view of the sector from various different levels of stakeholders and the challenges they face in an ever-changing world as they prepare to digitalise. The silent majority are perhaps the key to unlocking the transformation to a digital sector and it’s vital that the BIM message reaches them and connects in a meaningful way to each and every one of them... BIM in the UK has been ongoing for over a decade and my feeling is that there is at least another to go before we reach ‘business as usual’. It’s exactly the same for Digital Twins. All vocal parties involved here in the DT Hub seem keen to navigate more smoothly through the same sectoral challenges and one of those, in a similar vain to BIM, is “is this a Digital Twin or not”? Acknowledging that BIM in the UK has formerly been going through the same sector engagement, we can also see similar issues appearing now with the concept behind Digital Twins being taken over by technology providers rather than sector stakeholders and subsequently being marketed in that way. It’s by no means a UK-only challenge, with many global discussions observed. Hence, we’re rapidly on the way to Digital Twins being defined by technologies rather than their use and value to us as people. A human-centric approach to any digital transformation will almost always achieve greater adoption and ultimately ‘success’ than one led purely by technology. Hence the CDBB National Digital Twin Programme envisages the built environment as a system of systems, comprising economic infrastructure, social infrastructure and the natural environment. The CDBB Gemini Principles neatly position Digital Twins in a way that forces one to consider the overall business need (the ‘why’) and all the potential societal benefits. Other DT Hub discussions have touched on the possibility of a Turing-type test. The original Turing test was created by Alan Turing to determine whether or nota machine was discernible from a human. Whilst the test is valuable for determining artificial intelligence, it’s also one that is evaluated by humans and hence quite challenging to ensure all evaluators are equal. Perhaps a technology-driven test that provides both a score and a ‘time taken’, introducing a level of competition between creators of Digital Twin systems might help adoption. So here’s the proposition... we hold a workshop (or two) to discuss and investigate the need for a test, the type of test, ‘what’ is being tested, what the thresholds might be, and anything else that’s relevant to the topic of ascertaining whether or not someone’s proposed Digital Twin is actually a Digital Twin. I have three questions to start the discussion here in this thread... 1. Do you feel the need for a ‘test’ to determine whether or not a Digital Twin is a Digital Twin? Can we continue without a formal ‘test’ or should we actively seek to develop something absolute to filter out what we’ve been able to do for many years and focus on true Digital Twin solutions and the search for the allusive Digital Twin unicorn?! 2. If we do need a test, will a simple yes/no suffice? Or does a ‘score have more longevity? If you ever saw the HBO series Silicon Valley, you may be familiar with the Weismann Score, a fictional test and score for online file compression. It enabled the fictional tech companies to demonstrate the success of their software and algorithms by testing their performance for file compression. Would a similar test be suitable for our purposes, with a threshold for determining if a proposed Digital Twin is a Digital Twin and would it then cater for future digital developments and emerging technologies? 3. Finally, are you keen and able to join a virtual workshop?
  6. I recently posed a question in this forum to clarify thoughts on the need for a digital twin ‘test’... a way of determining if a proposed digital twin is actually what everyone can agree upon and that matches expectations. A test will serve as an invaluable tool for educating and up-skilling, avoidingconfusion and set a direction for implementation. This is something particularly close to my heart as we’re currently (still) experiencing this in global BIM discussions. Whilst on the topic of BIM, the test could be a great way of identifying what a typical BIM process deliverable is and how a digital twin might differ. This is particularly pertinent as we’re currently observing digital twin negativity and the misconception that digital twins are ‘just BIM’. Take a look at the attached image, a snapshot of a Twitter Poll... this may be just a small sample, but of 113 people on twitter who responded to this tweet by a Canadian colleague, just over HALF of them think digital twins are software vendors marketing vaporware - a product that doesn’t come to fruition. The other half are of the impression that digital twins are a ‘technology’. Clearly there’s work to be done... Personally, I think we need a mutually agreed distinction to engage and involve a wider group of professionals from within our sector and outside of it to really progress and deliver the benefits outlined in The Gemini Principles. Comments you’ve provided so far suggest that a test could be helpful, although some of you share the concern that the time taken to form a test may be better spent developing a digital twin. Other comments have highlighted the need to avoid being short-sighted in the ‘boundaries’ of a test. If we are to develop a test, it will need to be flexible enough to cater for edge cases and to evolve over time as technologies and possibilities become more easily achievable - i.e. when the goal posts move! Do we need to define a baseline case, so that all proposed digital twins are measured against it? If so, what are the fundamentals? For example, which of the following might be considered a digital twin: • www.lightningmaps.com (near real-time data visualization of weather systems); • https://www.tidetimes.org.uk/ (log of expected highs and lows of a tidal system); and • www.googlemap.com (periodically updated traffic system with patterns and disruptions) Each of these are similar but constitute different fundamentals. LightningMapsuses weather station data, while TideTimes uses a database of pre-established tide peaks and throughs. Is the collection of (near) real-time data fundamental, or something that is only applicable to specific use case? Once we have the fundamentals, which digital twins need to be tested? If we are ultimately aiming for a national digital twin, surely we need to test all of them to ensure compatibility and value if it is to be included/connected to it? If this is the case, then I’m talking myself into the notion that a simple yes/no or pass/fail will never be enough... We need to find a way to identify and celebrate the (positive) extremes, to encourage the development of borderline cases to become true digital twins and to seek new directions and measures of ‘what looks good’ as the sector integrates digital twins into its decision-making. It looks like we have a LOT to discuss in the proposed workshop on the 17thNovember to explore why, what and how we should be measuring. Outline agenda below, to be informed by the ongoing forum discussions. The Why - Discussing the pros and cons of a digital twin test. Objectives & Activities for looking at intuitive tests for digital twins Summary of initial industry feedback. A Yes/No, Pass/Fail or a Sliding Scale? Existing 'test' examples that could be leveraged from other industries. Discussing what elements make up a digital twin. I hope you will continue the discussion on this thread, which will give us time to prepare the workshop materials and key discussion points and to do that, I have some questions to continue the discussion... 1. In YOUR role in either procuring, creating, maintaining or analysing/interacting with a digital twin, what should we be testing or measuring? Please let us know what your involvement (current or proposed) is and what we should be measuring/testing to help in that role. 2. What, in your opinion, makes a digital twin - real? Let’s keep this short, give me your top 5! 3. How do we best differentiate what we should typically deliver in a BIM process and a digital twin? Digital twins are a huge opportunity for bettering the entire built environment design, procurement, operation and provide tangible benefits to society. What therefore can we do to promote the relationship (and a distinct difference) between BIM and digital twins? The workshop will take place on the 17th November from 14:00 – 16:00. Register on Eventbrite to receive joining instructions. See you there! C
  7. Predicting the future is something intrinsic to the human condition. Whether we are thinking about lunch, retirement, or developing a world-shaking invention like the iPhone. What if the biggest barrier to realising the potential of innovation is not technology, but belief? Predictions of the future from the 1950s included people flying around in their own helicopters to do their daily chores. Ignoring the acceptability of helicopters powering up and blowing the contents of everyone’s gardens everywhere, this future could have happened. There is no technological boundary to everyone having a helicopter in their garden or on the street. However, it was believed correctly that flying machines are extremely dangerous and that their ownership and piloting should be rigorously controlled. That then, is why that idea never took off. It may be tempting to scoff at this suggestion entirely, but there are now several places only accessible by plane and even a housing estate in Florida where every resident owns a plane as their primary means of transportation. If you would like your own home with an attached hanger, check them out here. The motor vehicle faced very similar push back from the populace and the media when they were introduced. They were smelly, loud and dangerous, not to mention costly. However, once the car had been accepted as an ordinary part of everyday life, the risk increased as they became faster. Cars were now so intrinsically embedded in our society that the idea of removing them had become unconscionable. Digital twins will undergo the same process of becoming publicly acceptable as the question of risk continues to arise. The idea of a building or a motorway self-managing might seem like a stretch to the layperson, but this has already begun with Building Management Systems and Smart Motorways. It is important that we acknowledge the ability of these systems to fail and make sure that we have integrated fail safes that perform the equivalent role of airbags in cars. Similarly, the idea of the smartphone underwent a similar process of becoming acceptable to the general public not so long ago. They were already present in our society when the iPhone was released, but it was the iPhone that made the concept of the smartphone mainstream. Was it that the technology was superior? In part perhaps. What really made the difference was that Apple sold us a lifestyle choice. That narrative around the iPhone, its versatility thanks to the app store and its good looks were what really made the difference. The technology already existed, but it had never been brought together effectively as a whole product. The app store enabled owners to customise their experience and created a platform for services that today is worth billions of dollars. The Digital Twin is to the Internet of Things what the iPhone was to the smartphone. The concept of connecting things to the internet makes sense and smart speakers and smart devices have had some success. However, the concept of the internet of things is nebulous at its core. Its story raises questions, we connect things to the internet. That’s it. It’s up to the developers of technology to take that idea and turn it into real products. You cannot procure an internet of things; you cannot own one. A digital twin however is procurable. It is also neatly definable to the layperson. You have a physical asset and a digital representation of that asset; these twins communicate with each other so that you can manage your assets more effectively. You can see the digital twin, make changes to it and they happen in the physical twin. This simplicity of narrative is exactly what sold the first iPhone. Your email, music, calls and the internet are all in one place. It’s a very simple idea to communicate despite it being a very complex product. If you compare this sales pitch with the O2 XDA, the rival smartphone at the time, you see a focus on technical specifications. The advert did not answer how this product will make your life easier or better, instead it focused on power and speed, which for an enthusiast (such as myself, who owned an O2 XDA) is very enticing, but for the wider population made little or no headway. It is the narrative of the Digital Twin and the National Digital Twin that makes the difference, having prepared the groundwork for public acceptability with the Gemini principles of purpose, trust and function we have learnt the lessons of the past when adopting an innovation so that we do not need to sacrifice the individual’s rights and safety for the general public good as we did for cars. Similarly, with the story of the National Digital Twin we have learnt the lesson of the iPhone, that innovation must be tailored to people’s lifestyles, that is not simply a technology for the sake of it, but something that will enhance our lives in an easily understandable way. We have a challenge then, if the brand is as important as the technology, how do you think Digital Twins should be marketed? What should be the story we tell?
  8. UK infrastructure, like many industries, is going through a period of significant transformation with digital technologies underpinning much of this change. The current COVID19 situation will perhaps catalyse the pace of change as we consider a new normal. ‘Digital Twin’ in particular is emerging as a core capability that will underpin UK infrastructure as digital transformation continues to evolve. Being a relatively new concept in the infrastructure sectors, the most common question I get asked is ‘what is a digital twin?’ Indeed, the more people I speak to, the greater my belief that there is a better question: ‘What could a Digital Twin be?’ The real beauty of Digital Twin is that the market is emerging, the ‘what’ is still being explored by those who will own and utilise them, predominately owner/operators of UK infrastructure assets. You can, of course, speak to many organisations who can articulate a vision for Digital Twins that are tailored to their goods and services, and in my experience, these are generally valid examples. Here are a few examples: [Engineering Provider] Enabling clients to adjust parameters and assess the impact of real world behaviours to understand how an asset will perform over its whole life. [Technology Provider] Allowing clients to integrate or simulate real world feedback to see how changing components within a system might affect overall risk profiles. [Contractor] Allowing digital production management to evolve design data through the build process, ensuring an asset is ready for use in its operational phases. [IT provider] Portraying a vision of enterprise systems being linked to real time information from sensors, leveraging internet of things capability. All of the above are great examples of Digital Twin capabilities when considering the Gemini Principles definition ‘a realistic digital representation of assets, processes or systems in the built or natural environment’. What excites me most, is what would happen if we considered integrating all these capabilities to create a fully integrated enterprise, to include supply chains and perhaps even citizens? Think of what could be achieved, a design change could be tested against real time data in a simulation to assess how it would perform in operational life. Not only that, the link to enterprise systems would mean the impact on cost, risk, supply chain and other business metrics could also be tested. The possibilities are endless. Importantly many businesses already have the component pieces, they are however isolated rather than being integrated. Taking this very broad, all-encompassing view, is tough for businesses to digest as they identify likely investment needs, work through value creation and understand risks. This is difficult when thinking about things on such a grand scale. This is why a good first step might be to develop a roadmap showing what a Digital Twin could be for your organisation. This could be done by underpinning a high-level vision and working backwards to prioritise what to do now, in the mid and long term to help you get there. A roadmap should not be considered a fixed plan and must evolve with your business as it changes, however it provides direction and initial guidance on where to focus investments and create early value. By taking this approach, digital twins can become part of an organization’s integrated enterprise. By developing an integrated enterprise utilising the framework as set out in the ICE Project 13 (http://www.p13.org.uk/) , organisations will not constrain themselves by worrying too much about ‘what is a Digital Twin’, and can instead focus on what Digital Twin could be. This approach is being promoted by the water sector regulator OFWAT, termed ‘systems thinking’. Systems thinking encourages a big picture mindset, identifying the pieces of the puzzle to create that big enterprise picture and approaching each piece of the puzzle in a structured way, towards a common goal. The next big step for an integrated enterprise is to think about federating information across multiple organisations to create a National Digital Twin. It is this global opportunity that we should all be excited about, through collaboration between government, academia and industry the UK can be a world leader in the evolution of the digital economy. To achieve this, we need to think big, be prepared to fail, not hold back and work together to evolve UK infrastructure to be a world leading centre of excellence. Kevin Reeves is the Director of Internet of Things and Digital Twin at Costain.
  9. I'm thinking of promoting our HE Ontology in the hopes of a) being able to explain to normal people what we're doing (and why) and b) hopefully securing some interest and feedback from the wider community and ideally other road operators. It's also been a useful opportunity to condense and reiterate to myself what on earth I've been doing with my life. Anyway, before I fire this into the ether, I thought it might be useful to get some feedback. The draft article is here should you be interested... https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/draft/AgGQLPmRvH_kkgAAAXMLChJcc3Cpv-7oz99HbLpUZI7xX7d0XAb4vwRXGvs2CeEVWQ8VnAE Thanks in advance!
  10. When asked by a relatively senior member of staff here what the Digital Twin is all about, and why they should care, I pulled together some SmartArt (pictured) to try to explain the component parts of an infrastructure organisation's twin. Keen to get the wider community's thoughts on this approach. Digital Twins are having a bit of moment here at Highways England, to the extent that our principle risk is not a lack of twins, but a surfeit of incompatible twins. I'm beginning to think that the ‘Digital Twin’ of a complex organisation such as HE will actually need to function as a hierarchical system of systems. We need to understand how our organisation functions and what it looks like from a conceptual data perspective (the Schema), we then need a single source of truth, preferably one structured as a graph to reflect the Ontology (the Data), and finally there will be the specific manifestations of the above for different parts of the business (e.g. BIM, digital product catalogues, design, porfolio management etc. etc.) which should be united by the common schema and data above.
  11. In my first article, I explored the basic concept of digital twins. Fundamentally, they are a digital replica of a physical thing - a ‘twin’. But depending on maturity, this replica can range from a simple representation of a local component, all the way to a fully integrated and highly accurate model of an entire asset, facility or even a country, with each component dynamically linked to engineering, construction, and operational data. This broad range of what a digital twin can be has made defining and understanding them extremely difficult, with disagreement on what level of maturity or features constitute a ‘true’ digital twin. Inflated market expectations, promising more than is currently achievable, have further complicated things. In this second article (attachment below), I put forward a maturity spectrum in an attempt to offer more clarity and understanding. Undoubtedly there will be critics, but it has been tested extensively cross-industry and seems to offer a clear framework for simply articulating what a digital twin is at each element of maturity. I welcome feedback as industry continue working to create a common definition.
  12. As everyone who works within the built environment sector knows, the essential starting point for any successful construction project is the establishment of a solid foundation. With that in mind the Digital Twin Hub is thrilled to announce the publication of its first ever digital twin foundation guide: Digital Twins for the Built Environment. The Purpose The purpose of this guide is not to be exhaustive but to document, at a high level, knowledge and examples of Digital Twin use cases that have been shared through the development of the DT Hub and engagement with our early members. It is hoped that by sharing this knowledge all members of the DT Hub will benefit from a common understanding of foundational concepts and the ‘How, What and Why’ of Digital Twins and that this shared knowledge will enable more meaningful discussions within the DT Hub. The Structure To provide a relatable structure we have broken down the concepts into the different phases of the asset lifecycle. This should provide a greater sense of clarity of how Digital Twins can be applied to support real business problems against tangible examples. The Role of the Community The creation of this guide has demonstrated that there is complexity in distilling foundational concepts. For this publication we have focused on what we hope will benefit the community. To maximise the value we must therefore develop, refine and iterate this guide in partnership with the members. We actively encourage the community to provide feedback, both positive and negative in nature. More importantly than this, we hope that as part of this feedback process the community will be able to suggest potential alterations or amendments to continue increasing the value offering of the document. DTHUb_NewbieGuide_May2020_(1).pdf
  13. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published over 22,000 formal standards supporting the dissemination of good practice to a range of sectors from agriculture to retail. Due to the breadth of topics covered it is difficult to conceive of a domain which hasn’t been at least partially standardized. In fact, as of 2019, ISO had four standards published which referenced digital twins: ISO 14033 (Quantitative Environmental Information) ISO 15704 (Requirements for enterprise-referencing architectures) ISO 18101-1 (Oil and Gas interoperability) ISO 30146 (Smart City ICT Indicators) And, more interestingly, one of these saw the first definition for a digital twin included within an ISO document: Within ISO, there are several requirements which need to be conformed to when producing a definition. These requirements are outlined within two standards: ISO 10241-1 (general requirements and examples of presentation) ISO 704 (principles and methods) ISO 10241-1, which covers the structure of a term including how to structure a definition and referencing; and ISO 704, which covers the principles of doing terminology work. These standards state that when developing a definition, it should: Be a single phrase specifying the concept and, if possible, representing that concept within a larger system; The digital twin definition from ISO/TS 18001 does so by referencing other key terms such as digital assets and services. This provides a relationship to other related terms. In doing so, this definition makes digital twin a type of digital asset being used to create value. Be general enough to cover the use of the term elsewhere; This definition is specific enough to capture what a digital twin is in a generalist sense, while also being sufficiently generic that the same definition can be used in other standards. This is vital to achieve a harmonization of concepts across a disparate suite of documentation. Not include any requirements; and In addition, this definition doesn’t say what needs to be done for something to be considered a digital twin. This is important as definitions are meant to inform, not instruct. Be able to substitute the term within a sentence. Finally, and possibly the most challenging requirement, a definition needs to be able to substitute for the term within a sentence. For example: This exemplar organization utilizes a digital twin to improve the effectiveness of their predicative maintenance systems This exemplar organization utilizes a digital asset on which services can be performed that provide value to an organization to improve the effectiveness of their predicative maintenance systems Within the Gemini Principles, there is also another definition to consider: However, while this definition isn’t suitable for ISO as it wasn’t designed to meet these requirements, the inclusion of “realistic digital representation” might help enhance the ISO definition. And there we have it. The ISO definition for digital twin is, technically speaking, a good example of an ISO definition. However, does the definition sufficiently capture the correct concepts and relationships outlined within the Gemini Principles? Following the criteria above, how would you define a digital twin?
  14. A lot of the early thinking on digital twins has been led by manufacturers. So, what do digital twins mean to them and what insights could this provide for the built environment? This blog is the second in series that looks at what we can learn from the development of digital twins in other sectors. It draws on key findings from a report by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. This includes industry perspectives on: The definition of digital twins Key components of digital twins Types of twin and related high-level applications and value The report “Feasibility of an immersive digital twin: The definition of a digital twin and discussions around the benefit of immersion” looks partly at the potential for the use of immersive environments. But, in the main, it asks a range of questions about digital twins that should be of interest to this community. The findings in the report were based on an industry workshop and an online survey with around 150 respondents. We’ve already seen that there are many views on what does or does not constitute a digital twin. Several options were given in the survey, and the most popular definition, resonating with 90% of respondents was: A virtual replica of the physical asset which can be used to monitor and evaluate its performance When it comes to key components of digital twins, the report suggests that these should include: A model of the physical object or system, which provides context Connectivity between digital and physical assets, which transmits data in at least one direction The ability to monitor the physical system in real time. By contrast, in the built environment, digital twins may not always need to be “real-time”. However, looking at the overall document, the position appears to be more nuanced and dependent on the type of application. In which case, “real-time” could be interpreted as “right-time” or “timely”. In addition, analytics, control and simulation are seen as optional or value-added components. Interestingly, 3D representations are seen by many as “nice to have” – though this will vary according to the type of application. In a similar fashion to some of our discussions with DT Hub members, the report looks at several types of digital twin (it is difficult to think of all twins as being the same!). The types relate to the level of interactivity, control and prediction: Supervisory or observational twins that have a monitoring role, receiving and analysing data but that may not have direct feedback to the physical asset or system Interactive digital twins that provide a degree of control over the physical things themselves Predictive digital twins that use simulations along with data from the physical objects or systems, as well as wider contextual data, to predict performance and optimise operations (e.g. to increase output from a wind farm by optimising the pitch of the blades). These types of twin are presented as representing increasing levels of richness or complexity: interactive twins include all the elements of supervisory twins; and predictive twins incorporate the capabilities of all three types. Not surprisingly, the range of feasible applications relates to the type of twin. Supervisory twins can be used to monitor processes and inform non-automated decisions. Interactive twins enable control, which can be remote from the shop-floor or facility. Whereas, predictive twins support predictive maintenance approaches, and can help reduce down-time and improve productivity. More sophisticated twins – and potentially combining data across twins – can provide insight into rapid introduction (and I could imagine customisation) of products or supply chains. Another way of looking at this is to think about which existing processes or business systems could be replaced or complemented by digital twins. This has also come up in some of our discussions with DT Hub members and other built environment stakeholders – in the sense that investments in digital twins should either improve a specific business process/system or mean that that it is no longer needed (otherwise DT investments could just mean extra costs). From the survey: Over 80% of respondents felt that digital twins could complement or replace systems for monitoring or prediction (either simple models or discrete event simulation) Around two-thirds felt the same for aspects related to analysis and control (trend analysis, remote interaction and prescriptive maintenance) with over half seeing a similar opportunity for next generation product design While remote monitoring and quality were seen as the areas with greatest potential value. Cost reduction in operations and New Product Development (NPD) also feature as areas of value generation, as well as costs related to warranty and servicing. The latter reflects increasing servitisation in manufacturing. This could also become more important in the built environment, with growing interest in gain-share type arrangements through asset lifecycles as well as increasing use of components that have been manufactured off-site. It would be great if you would like to share your views on any of the points raised above. For example, do you think built environment twins need the same or different components to those described above? And can digital twins for applications like remote monitoring and quality management also deliver significant value in the built environment?
  15. Context DT Hub activities focus on a set of thematic areas (themes) that are based on shared opportunities and challenges for members. These themes are areas where collaboration can help members to gain greater understanding and make progress towards realising the potential benefits of digital twins. The first theme is called “Testing digital twin concepts”. The focus is on: Helping DT Hub members increase common understanding of digital twin definitions and concepts, then test and refine this thinking in specific use cases and projects where there is potential to deliver significant value Why start with this theme? Each of the members we spoke to felt that it is difficult to systematically plan and progress digital twins without a clear understanding of what digital twins are, when something is classified as a digital twin, and what are the key concepts or building blocks that lie behind these twins. In other words, discussing digital twin concepts and definitions is a “foundational” activity that is needed to underpin future activities. Moreover, it is difficult to think about making digital twins more connected and interoperable, as stepping-stones towards a national digital twin, if the approach to each twin is inconsistent. Scope This theme will build on work being done through the NDT Programme, including the Gemini Principles, and feed back ideas and recommendations based on real-world experience from members and from the wider market. There are other reasons why this work is needed. As with other major technology developments, from the internet of things to AI, a growing range of players will claim to have tech solutions for digital twins. There is a risk here of “twinwash”. If every sharp-looking 3D visualization is labelled as a “digital twin”, regardless of whether or not it bears any relation to real-world physical assets, this can create confusion and risks devaluing “real” twins. Tackling this theme can help digital twin owners start to address questions like: What makes my digital twin a twin? What types of areas (e.g. related to data, models, analytics, control systems etc) do I need to consider in creating digital twin strategies and planning for individual digital twin projects? What can I learn from the approaches taken by others to defining and scoping digital twins -including how this relates to specific use cases? How do I relate and connect multiple digital twins within my organization? How does my twin (and the approach I’m taking to it) relate to other third-party twins? For example, how will a water pipeline twin connect with a highways or city twin? Related to the first bullet above, at least some DT Hub members would like to see the creation of a “Turing test for twins”. In other words, to have an agreed set of criteria established as the minimum threshold for a twin to be considered a twin. At the same time, there is also a desire for flexibility - the scope of twins will vary according to the intended purpose and specific use case. For example, not all twins will involve real-time control and actuation. Objectives The main objectives for this theme are then to: Provide insights on “good” approaches to describe and classify digital twins and their constituent elements – building on the Gemini Principles Understand (from examples) how other industries have advanced their digital twin journeys Apply this thinking to specific use cases in existing or planned founding member digital twins in areas where there is the potential to deliver significant value Help DT Hub members to achieve greater consistency across their organizations and with supply chains and partners Develop an intuitive “test” for what constitutes a digital twin Feedback learnings into the evolution of the “Commons” and the Gemini Principles Get involved You can already start to get involved, including by: Commenting on the posts in the dedicated space for this theme Starting your own topic where you have ideas to share Joining one the Digital Twin Talks which are focused on this theme and which we will promote on the home page - you can also watch the videos from previous talks here We want this theme to be driven by member’s views and priorities, so it would also be great if you would like to comment on this post including on: Existing initiatives that could feed into this work Use cases that we should prioritise to test emerging thinking on digital twin concepts Specific digital twin projects you are be working on Your views that on what makes a digital twin a twin
  16. Digital technologies are no longer considered tools to satisfy a need for efficiency, they are active agents in value creation and new value propositions [1]. The term “digital twin” has entered the regular vocabulary across a myriad of sectors. It’s consistently used as an example of industry revolution and is considered fundamental to transformation, but the broad scope of the concept makes a common definition difficult. Yet it’s only once we understand and demystify the idea - and can see a path to making it reality - that we will start to realise the benefits. Heavy promotion by technology and service providers has inflated expectations, with most focusing on what a digital twin can potentially achieve when fully implemented, which is like buying a unicorn even if currently cost-prohibitive. Few refer to the milestones along the journey, or incremental value-proving developments. This is evidenced, in part, by the fact that only 5% of enterprises have started implementing digital twins, and less than 1% of assets have one [2]. Over the course of three blogs, I will attempt to demystify the concept and break through the platitudes, answering the fundamental questions: What is a digital twin? What type of new skills and capabilities are required? Will a digital twin generate value? And will it support better decision making? “Digital” in context Digital twins are symptomatic of the broader trend toward digitalisation, which is having a profound effect on businesses and society. Widely cited as the “fourth industrial revolution” [3] or Industry 4.0 (broadly following: steam power (c1760-c1840), electricity (c1870-c1914) and microchips (c1970)), it’s characterized by a fusion of technologies that blur the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres – such as artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles and Internet of Things (IoT). Though the exact dates of the earlier revolutions are disputed, their timeframes were slower than the rapid pace and scale of today’s disruption, and still they saw companies and individuals that were slow or reluctant to embrace change being left behind. The digital revolution is unique, and derives in part from a new ability to massively improve quality and productivity by converging technologies and sources of data within a collaborative framework, which inherently challenges the business and organisational models of the past. Not only this, but the online connection of all assets together (the Internet of Things), is the key enabler to the next phase of industrial development. The complexity of assets, and cost of developing and operating them makes any promise of efficiency gains and improved performance immensely attractive. However, the reality of digital transformation to offer these rewards has too often fallen short. The failure comes from a rush to introduce digital technologies, products, and services without understanding the work processes in which they will be used, or the associated behaviours and joined up thinking required to make them effective. While individual products and services have their place, significant gains in efficiency and productivity will only come by weaving a constellation of technologies together and connecting them with data sources, followed by supporting management and application of that data through project, asset and organisational developments. Is data the “new oil” or the “new asbestos”? and how can industry start tangibly benefiting from the digital twin concept? With data apparently the “new oil”, or maybe the “new asbestos”, and against a backdrop of digital transformation being viewed by many sceptics as a fashionable buzzword, how can industry start tangibly executing and harnessing the benefits of the digital twin concept? Digital twin basics Fundamentally, a digital twin is just a digital representation (model) of a physical thing - its ‘twin’; and therein lies the complexity of this industry agnostic concept. Other commonly used terms, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), Building Lifecycle Management (BLM) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) represent similar concepts with some important distinctions, that are all part of the same theme of data generation and information management. The term “digital twin” first appeared in 2010, developing from the conceptual evolution of PLM in 2002 [4]. Since then, it’s meaning has evolved from simply defining a PLM tool into an integral digital business decision assistant and an agent for new value and service creation [5]. Over time many have attempted to define the digital twin, but often these definitions focus on just a small part of the asset lifecycle, such as operations. “A digital twin can range from a simple 2D or 3D model with a basic level of detail, to a fully integrated model of an entire facility with each component dynamically linked to engineering, construction, and operational data” A digital twin can range from a simple 2D or 3D model of a local component, with a basic level of detail, all the way to a fully integrated and highly accurate model of an asset, an entire facility, or even a country [6], with each component dynamically linked to engineering, construction, and operational data. There is no single solution or platform used to provide a digital twin, just as there isn’t one CAD package used to create a drawing or 3D model. It’s a process and methodology, not a technology; a concept of leveraging experience-based wisdom by managing and manipulating a multitude of datasets. While a fully developed digital model of a facility remains an objective, practically speaking, we are delivering only the “low hanging fruit” pieces of this concept for most facilities now. These fractional elements, however, all point towards a common goal: to contribute a value-added piece that is consistent with the overall concept of the digital twin. As technology and techniques improve, we predict the convergence of the individual parts and the emergence of much more complete digital twins for industrial scale facilities, and ultimately entire countries. “There is no single solution or platform used to provide a digital twin, just as there isn’t one CAD package used to create a drawing or 3D model” The ultimate aim is to create a “single version of truth” for an asset, where all data can be accessed and viewed throughout the design-build-operate lifecycle. This is distinctly different to a “single source of truth”, as a digital twin is about using a constellation, or ecosystem, of technologies that work and connect. The digital twin promises more effective asset design, project execution, and facility operations by dynamically integrating data and information throughout the asset lifecycle to achieve short and long-term efficiency and productivity gains. As such, there is an intrinsic link between the digital twin and all the ‘technologies’ of the fourth industrial revolution, principally IoT, artificial intelligence and machine learning. As sensors further connect our physical world together, monitoring the state and condition, the digital twin can be considered the point of convergence of the internet-era technologies, and has been made possible by their maturity. For example, the reducing costs of storage, sensors and data capture, and the abundance of processing power and connectivity. The digital twin is a data resource that can improve design of a new facility or to understand the condition of an existing asset, to verify the as-built situation, run ‘what if’ simulations and scenarios, or provide a digital snapshot for future works. This vastly reduces the potential for errors and discontinuity present in more traditional methods of information management. As asset owners pivot away from document silos and toward dynamic and integrated data systems, the digital twin should be become an embedded part of the enterprise. Like the financial or HR systems that we expect to be dynamic and accurate, the digital twin should represent a living as-built representation of the operating asset, standing ready at all times to deliver value to the business. Each digital twin fits into the organisation’s overall digital ecosystem like a jigsaw, alongside potentially many other digital twins for different assets or systems. These can be ‘federated’ or connected via securely shared data - making interoperability and data governance key. In simple terms, this overall digital ecosystem consists of all the organisational and operational systems, providing a so-called ‘digital thread’. Author: Simon Evans. Digital Energy Leader, Arup. Delivery Team Lead, National Digital Twin Programme [1] Herterich, M. M., Eck, A., and Uebernickel, F. (2016). Exploring how digitized products enable industrial service innovation. 24th European Conference on Information Systems; 1–17. [2] Gartner, Hype Cycle for O&G [3] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/digital-disruption-has-only-just-begun/ [4] Digital Twin: Manufacturing Excellence through Virtual Factory Replication. White Paper, pages 1 – 7 [5] Service business model innovation: the digital twin technology [6] Centre of Digital Build Britain, The Gemini Principles
  17. If you weren't allowed to use the terms "digital" and "twin" how would you describe what a digital twin is (in less than 20 words) to someone not in the know?
  18. This blog was first produced following discussions with digital twin owners about the importance of learning more from other industries. It also relates to the first “theme” that we identified as a priority for the DT Hub, which looks at digital twin definitions and concepts. We hope you enjoy reading this piece and welcome your comments as well as your thoughts on other topics where you would like to hear more from us. The idea of digital twins in space may seem like science fiction – or at least a long way removed from the day-to-day challenges of the built environment. But, in fact, the aerospace industry has been at the forefront of many of the technology innovations that have transformed other areas. Before Michael Grieves coined the term digital twin in 2002, NASA was using pairing technology to operate and repair remote systems in space. Digital twins, in the aerospace sector, have since gone way beyond simulations. This is driven by a need to accurately reflect the actual condition of space craft and equipment and predict potential future issues. While the crew of Apollo 13 may have relied on a physical double as well as digital data, future space stations and trips beyond our atmosphere will be using digital twins to deliver the right kinds of insights, decision support and automation needed to achieve their missions. Despite the great distances and the technological advancement of space technologies there are valuable parallels with industries back on earth. For example, digital twins of remote and autonomous vehicles (like the Mars Exploration Rover) could provide useful lessons for similar vehicles on earth, from robots in nuclear facilities and sub-sea environments, through to delivery vehicles in a logistics centre or drones on a building site. More specifically, a 2012 paper co-authored by NASA provided several insights into the approach to digital twins in aerospace, including the following definition: A Digital Twin is an integrated multiphysics, multiscale, probabilistic simulation of an as-built vehicle or system that uses the best available physical models, sensor updates, fleet history, etc., to mirror the life of its corresponding flying twin Digital twins could represent a significant shift away from a heuristic (i.e. past-experience based) approach to one using sophisticated modelling combined with real-life data. This shift impacts design and build, certification and ongoing operation. The drivers behind this change include a need to withstand more extreme conditions, increased loads and extended service life. (Imagine a manned trip to Mars, or one of the new commercial space ventures that call for vehicles to be used again and again). The paper also looked at some of the needs and priority areas for digital twins, including: more accurate prediction of potential materials failures; as well as the condition of other systems in space vehicles by connecting multiple models with data from the physical twin. If digital twins can add value in the harshest environment imaginable, what applications could this have for the built environment? One example is the interesting parallels between assessment of the risks of cracks and failures in long-life space vehicles and long-term structural monitoring of bridges and other infrastructure. The required level of fidelity (i.e. the level of detail and accuracy) as well as the extent to which real-time data is needed, may vary considerably – but many of the same principles could apply. More widely, the authors of the paper felt that the parallels and benefits from developing digital twins for aerospace could extend across manufacturing, infrastructure and nanotechnology. The ideas explored in the paper also go well beyond monitoring and towards automation. For complex space missions, vehicles may not be able to get external help and will need to be self-aware, with “real-time management of complex materials, structures and systems”. As the authors put it: “If various best-physics (i.e., the most accurate, physically realistic and robust) models can be integrated with one another and with on-board sensor suites, they will form a basis for certification of vehicles by simulation and for real-time, continuous, health management of those vehicles during their missions. They will form the foundation of a Digital Twin.” Such a digital twin could continuously forecast the health of vehicles and systems, predict system responses and mitigate damage by activating self-healing mechanisms or recommend in-flight changes to the mission profile. While the context may be very different, our discussions with DT Hub members and others in the market suggest that built environment infrastructure owners and operators are aiming to achieve many of the same aspirations as NASA – from better prediction of potential issues through to actuation and self-healing. Which space twin applications and ideas do you think we could apply to the built environment? We would welcome your comments on this piece as well as your thoughts on other topics where you would like to hear more from us.
  19. Context: DT Hub activities focus on a set of thematic areas (themes) that are based on shared opportunities and challenges for members. These themes are areas where collaboration can help members to gain greater understanding and make progress towards realising the potential benefits of digital twins. The first theme is called “Testing digital twin concepts”. The focus is on: Helping DT Hub members increase common understanding of digital twin definitions and concepts, then test and refine this thinking in specific use cases and projects where there is potential to deliver significant value Why start with this theme? Each of the members we spoke to felt that it is difficult to systematically plan and progress digital twins without a clear understanding of what digital twins are, when something is classified as a digital twin, and what are the key concepts or building blocks that lie behind these twins. In other words, discussing digital twin concepts and definitions is a “foundational” activity that is needed to underpin future activities. Moreover, it is difficult to think about making digital twins more connected and interoperable, as stepping-stones towards a national digital twin, if the approach to each twin is inconsistent. Scope: This theme will build on work being done through the NDT Programme, including the Gemini Principles, and feed back ideas and recommendations based on real-world experience from members and from the wider market. There are other reasons why this work is needed. As with other major technology developments, from the internet of things to AI, a growing range of players will claim to have tech solutions for digital twins. There is a risk here of “twinwash”. If every sharp-looking 3D visualization is labelled as a “digital twin”, regardless of whether or not it bears any relation to real-world physical assets, this can create confusion and risks devaluing “real” twins. Tackling this theme can help digital twin owners start to address questions like: What makes my digital twin a twin? What types of areas (e.g. related to data, models, analytics, control systems etc) do I need to consider in creating digital twin strategies and planning for individual digital twin projects? What can I learn from the approaches taken by others to defining and scoping digital twins -including how this relates to specific use cases? How do I relate and connect multiple digital twins within my organization? How does my twin (and the approach I’m taking to it) relate to other third-party twins? For example, how will a water pipeline twin connect with a highways or city twin? Related to the first bullet above, at least some DT Hub members would like to see the creation of a “Turing test for twins”. In other words, to have an agreed set of criteria established as the minimum threshold for a twin to be considered a twin. At the same time, there is also a desire for flexibility - the scope of twins will vary according to the intended purpose and specific use case. For example, not all twins will involve real-time control and actuation. Objectives: The main objectives for this theme are then to: Provide insights on “good” approaches to describe and classify digital twins and their constituent elements – building on the Gemini Principles Understand (from examples) how other industries have advanced their digital twin journeys Apply this thinking to specific use cases in existing or planned founding member digital twins in areas where there is the potential to deliver significant value Help DT Hub members to achieve greater consistency across their organizations and with supply chains and partners Develop an intuitive “test” for what constitutes a digital twin Feedback learnings into the evolution of the “Commons” and the Gemini Principles Activities We’ve already started on the first set of activities for this theme and created some content for you to dive into including: A Webinar to start to relate this to the Gemini principles and to identify some initial use case priorities Research into interesting examples from other industries of approaches to defining and developing twins Creation of blog-style “conversation starters” (for example insights from aerospace and manufacturing as well as thoughts on approaches to defining twins) as well as links to interesting external sources based on this research. We are adding these to a dedicated space for theme 1 What next? There are still plenty of opportunities for you to get involved, including activities to flesh out this theme. This includes an online “jam” – a virtual event that we’ll host on the DT Hub, dates to be confirmed. We want this theme to be driven by member’s views and priorities, so it would be great if you would like to comment on this post including on: Existing initiatives that could feed into this work Use cases that we should prioritise to test emerging thinking on digital twin concepts Specific digital twin projects you are be working on Your views that on what makes a digital twin a twin
  20. The first theme that we are addressing in the Hub is “Testing digital twin concepts”. This was identified as a key foundational element by the DT Hub members – to help increase understanding and inform the development of strategies and projects. It will build on the Gemini Principles and generate recommendations to feed into the National Digital Twin (NDT) “Commons” stream. The theme is summarised as “helping DT Hub members to increase common understanding related to digital twin definitions and concepts, and then to test and refine this thinking within specific use cases and projects where there is potential to deliver significant value.” You can find out more on the objectives, activities and selection process for the theme in the attached document. DT Hub Theme 1 report 19 December 2019.pdf
  21. Aerospace was one of the first industries to develop digital twins. This academic paper helps to identify the initial research papers around the concept, and the scope of Digital Twins within several sectors as they emerged https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351978917304067
  22. This article includes an interesting short video from SAPPHIRE NOW 2017, providing a Digital Twin Demo involving wind farms https://www.challenge.org/insights/what-is-digital-twin/
  23. Siemens has outlined three types of digital twin: Product, Production and Performance. How well do these relate to built environment use cases? https://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/global/en/our-story/glossary/digital-twin/24465
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