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  1. We hope you have enjoyed taking part in today's roundtable. Please add your thoughts and ideas here.
  2. Marek Suchocki

    Flexible Digital Twins

    A digital twin is a digital representation of something that exists in the physical world (be it a building, a factory, a power plant, or a city) and, in addition, can be dynamically linked to the real thing through the use of sensors that collect real-time data. This dynamic link to the real thing differentiates digital twins from the digital models created by BIM software—enhancing those models with live operational data. Since a digital twin is a dynamic digital reflection of its physical self, it possesses operational and behavioral awareness. This enables the digital twin to be used in countless ways, such as tracking construction progress, monitoring operations, diagnosing problems, simulating performance, and optimizing processes. Structured data requirements from the investor are crucial for the development of a digital twin. Currently project teams spend a lot of time putting data into files that unfortunately isn’t useful during the project development or ultimately to the owner; sometimes it is wrong, at other times too little, or in other cases an overload of unnecessary data. At the handover phase, unstructured data can leave owner/operators with siloed data and systems, inaccurate information, and poor insight into the performance of a facility. Data standards such as ISO 19650 directly target this problem that at a simple level require an appreciation of the asset data lifecycle that starts with defining the need in order to allow for correct data preparation. Implementing a project CDE helps ensure that the prepared data and information is managed and flows easily between various teams and project phases, through to completion and handover. An integrated connected data environment can subsequently leverage this approved project data alongside other asset information sources to deliver the foundation of a valuable useable digital twin. To develop this connected digital twin, investors and their supply chains can appear to be presented with two choices: an off-the-shelf proprietary solution tied to one vendor or the prospect of building a one-off solution with risk of long term support and maintenance challenges. However, this binary perspective is not the case if industry platforms and readily available existing integrations are leveraged to create a flexible custom digital twin. Autodesk has provided its customer base with the solutions to develop custom data integrations over many years, commencing with a reliable common data environment solution. Many of these project CDEs have subsequently migrated to become functional and beneficial digital twins because of a structured data foundation. Using industry standards, open APIs and a plethora of partner integrations, Autodesk’s Forge Platform, Construction Cloud and recently Tandem enable customers to build the digital twin they need without fear of near term obsolescence or over commitment to one technology approach. Furthermore partnerships with key technology providers such as ESRI and Archibus extend solution options as well as enhancing long term confidence in any developed digital twin. The promises of digital twins are certainly alluring. Data-rich digital twins have the potential to transform asset management and operations, providing owners new insights to inform their decision-making and planning. Although digital twin technologies and industry practice are still in their youth, it is clear that the ultimate success of digital twins relies on connected, common, and structured data sources based on current information management standards, coupled with adoption of flexible technology platforms that permit modification, enhancement or component exchange as the digital twin evolves, instead of committing up front to one data standard or solution strategy.
  3. Version 1.0.0

    66 downloads

    This paper describes the work done on the understanding of infrastructure interdependencies and impact on the overall system. The work on the model described in this report started in September 2021. Access to the data was given at the end of October 2021 and the technical work ran until mid-January 2022. The work was led by Lars Schewe and primarily carried out by Mariel Reyes Salazar. The integration of the multiple different networks was carried out by Maksims Abalenkovs. We achieved to demonstrate that we can integrate the data from a digital twin into component networks models and could connect these with an overarching coordinating algorithm. This allows us to propagate failures in the networks and then analyse the impacts on the different networks. The observed runtimes for the test networks indicate that the implemented methods will work on realistic networks and that implementing more complex models is feasible in follow-up projects. The technical work planned in the work package was to model each of the component networks, build models that allow to propagate failures through each of them, and propose methods to propagate the failures between them. To structure the work, the team proposed three levels of detail for the network models and two levels for the integration. In addition, the objective functions for the underlying optimization problems were to be developed. Due to unavailability of data and the short timescale, it was decided to focus on the first levels for all networks and the integration. As no data was available that could guide the definition of an objective function, this work was not undertaken. The basic models were implemented in Python and tested on a small-scale model of part of a UK town. This allowed to demonstrate that the overall methodology is sound and that data from a digital twin can be transferred to more detail network models and the results can be played back to the digital twin.
  4. Version 1.0.0

    171 downloads

    CReDo aims to demonstrate how the National Digital Twin programme could use connected digital twins to increase climate resilience. This first phase of the project investigates how to implement a digital twin to share data across sectors to investigate the impact of extreme weather, in particular flooding, on energy, water and telecoms networks. The current digital twin integrates flood simulations for different climate change scenarios with descriptions of the energy, water and telecoms networks, and models the interdependence of the infrastructure to describe the resilience of the combined network. CMCL Innovations were engaged by the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB )and the Connected Places Catapult (CPC) as part of CReDo to develop a digital twin of assets from Anglian Water, BT and UK Power Networks. The digital twin combines a description of the logical connectivity between the assets with flood data to resolve the effect of floods on individual assets and the corresponding cascade of effects across the combined network. It demonstrates how to achieve basic interoperability between data from different sectors, and how this data might be combined with flood data for different climate scenarios to begin to explore the resilience of the combined network and identify vulnerabilities to support strategic decision making and capital planning. The first phase of the digital twin and an accompanying visualisation were implemented on DAFNI, the Data & Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure. This report describes the use and technical implementation of the current digital twin. Recommendations are made for how it could be extended to improve its ability to support decision making, and how the approach could be scaled up by the National Digital Twin programme.
  5. By 2050, an estimated 4.1 million people will be affected by sight loss in the UK, making up a portion of the 14.1 million disabled people in the UK. How might digital twins create opportunities for better accessibility and navigability of the built environment for blind and partially sighted people? A new infographic presents a conception of how this might work in the future. In their work with the Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, the Smart Hospitals of the Future research team have explored how user-focused services based on connected digital twins might work. Starting from a user perspective, the team have investigated ways in which digital technology can support better services, and their ideas for a more accessible, seamless experience are captured in a new infographic. In the infographic, service user Suhani accesses assistive technology for blind people on her mobile phone to navigate her journey to an appointment at an eye hospital. On the way, she is aided by interoperable, live data from various digital twins that seamlessly respond to changing circumstances. The digital twins are undetectable to Suhani, but nevertheless they help her meet her goal of safely and comfortably getting to her appointment. They also help her doctors meet their goals of giving Suhani the best care possible. The doctors at the eye hospital are relying on a wider ecosystem of digital twins beyond their own building digital twin to make sure this happens, as Suhani’s successful journey to the hospital is vital to ensuring they can provide her with care. Physical assets, such as buildings and transport networks, are not the only things represented in this hypothetical ecosystem of connected digital twins. A vital component pictured here are digital twins of patients based on their medical data, and the team brings up questions about the social acceptability and security of digital twins of people, particularly vulnerable people. No community is a monolith, and disabled communities are no exception. The research team acknowledges that more research is needed with the user community of Moorfields to understand the variety of needs across the service pathway that digital twins could support. As such, developers need to consider the range of users with different abilities and work with those users to design a truly inclusive ecosystem of digital twins. The work by the Smart Hospitals research team raises wider questions about the role of digital technology both in creating more physical accessibility in the built environment but also potentially creating more barriers to digital accessibility. It is not enough to create assistive technologies if not everyone can – or wants to – have access to those technologies. ‘The role of digital technologies in exacerbating potentially digital inequalities is something that needs to be looked at from a policy perspective, both at the hospital level, but also more generally, from a government Department of Health perspective,’ says Dr Michael Barrett, the project’s principal investigator. Dr Karl Prince, co-investigator, reflects that, ‘The traditional questions when it comes to this type of technology are raised as to: do they have access to equipment, and do they have the technical ability?’ The lesson is that you can build digital twins that create a better experience for people if you design digital systems from the perspective of an ecosystems of services, with input from users of that ecosystem. Through exciting case studies, the project raises vital questions about digital ethics and the potentially transformative effects of digital twins on the physical built environment. To read the infographic in detail, click here. You can read more from the Smart Hospitals project by visiting their research profile page. This research forms part of the Centre for Digital Built Britain’s (CDBB) work at the University of Cambridge. It was enabled by the Construction Innovation Hub, of which CDBB is a core partner, and funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). To join the conversation with others who are on their own digital twin journeys, join the Digital Twin Hub.
  6. You’re invited to a webinar on 2nd March to find out how collaboration through connected digital twins can help plan resilient cities and infrastructure. The National Digital Twin programme has developed a Climate Resilience Demonstrator (CReDo), a pioneering climate change adaptation digital twin project that provides a practical example of how connected data can improve climate adaptation and resilience across a system of systems. Watch the film Tomorrow Today, and try the interactive app to see what CReDo has been working towards. The CReDo team will use synthetic data developed through the project to show how it is possible to better understand infrastructure interdependencies and increase resilience. Join the webinar to hear from the CReDo team about the work that has happened behind the scenes of developing a connected digital twin. CReDo is the result of a first-of-its-kind collaboration between Anglian Water, BT and UK Power Networks, in partnership with several academic institutions. The project has been funded by Connected Places Catapult (CPC) and the University of Cambridge, and technical development was led by CMCL and the Hartree Centre. This collaboration produced a demonstrator that looks at the impact of flooding on energy, water and telecoms networks. CReDo demonstrates how owners and operators of these networks can use secure, resilient, information sharing across sector boundaries to adapt to and mitigate the effect of flooding on network performance and service delivery. It also provides an important template to build on to turn it to other challenges, such as climate change mitigation and Net Zero. Hear from members of the CReDo team – including the asset owners, CPC, and the technical development team - about the demonstrator they have delivered and the lessons they learned. If you’re interested in using connected digital twins to forge the path to Net Zero, then this event is for you. Register for our end-of-project webinar on 2nd March, 10:30 – 12:00: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/credo-collaborating-and-resilience-through-connected-digital-twins-tickets-228349628887
  7. Ali Nicholl and Sophie Peachey (IOTICS) present a Feature Focus on Cooperative Ecosystems - Evolution of Trust
  8. On the Gemini Call on 16th November we had Sheikh Fakhar Khalid - @Khalid - Chief Scientist at Sensat, present a Feature Focus on 'Automation Enabled Digital Twins', which created a lot of discussion and questions! Khalid has kindly agreed to carry on the discussion of the key topics that came up. If you'd first like to watch his presentation, you can view it here. Here are the key questions that were asked, so that you can add your own thoughts and Khalid will be checking in to respond! (Note that we had a few questions around dimensions, so we have grouped them for you) What standard is applied to the data to achieve semantic interoperability? Or is this all just siloed tech? Is the 'digital thread' a thread through time or a thread through process? Or both? Is a digital twin 3D or 4D? Why does a digital twin need to be three dimensional? Surely the definition doesn't require that? On '3D', shouldn't we make a distinction between the digital twin and the visualisation of the digital twin? Is there a danger of using "levels". It makes "lower level" twins look less mature, even though that might be all that is needed for that use case. We saw that with BIM - where some "chased" the levels What do you think? Please share below... (And don't forget to register for next week's Gemini call here)
  9. ‘CReDo is a small step to something potentially huge. It is something tangible that people can see and interact with, taking away the mystique of digital twins’, Matt Webb, Head of Enterprise Data, UK Power Networks The message coming out of the National Digital Twin programme’s webinar, ‘Increasing our climate resilience through connected digital twins’, is that working together is vital for safeguarding our future. The CReDo project leads the way in showing how collaboration and the sharing of data can dramatically improve our resilience to extreme weather conditions caused by climate change. Held at the same time as the COP26 climate conference, the webinar on 2 November 2021 launched the Climate Resilience Demonstrator (CReDo) to over 220 attendees from 17 countries and multiple industry sectors. It introduced the CReDo team and collaboration partners and covered the scope of the project, also hosting a panel interview and open Q&A session. Chaired by Arup’s Global Digital Energy / Digital Twin Leader and Gemini Call Chair, Simon Evans, the event began with the internet premiere of the new CReDo film, a poignant piece about the climate emergency and how it affects us all, especially the most vulnerable. The film offers a view of a world where engineers can make critical decisions based on data from connected digital twins, and improve resilience in a way which makes a difference to people’s lives. CReDo project lead, Sarah Hayes, reflected on the reality of the film and explained how CReDo is developing a climate change adaptation digital twin looking at the impact of flooding on infrastructure interdependencies across energy, water and telecoms networks. Alongside, Sarah introduced the CReDo app, produced by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI UK), which invites users to see how connected digital twins can change outcomes for those faced with extreme weather in the fictional town of Sunford City. Sarah explained how the app has been developed to show what a CReDo digital twin can do and that both the film and the app are based on the same fictional storm Ruby, a storm caused by climate change. The app was developed with manufactured data to present a realistic scenario that asset owners could be faced with. Behind the scenes, the technical team is working with the real data to develop the CReDo digital twin. CReDo Technical Architect, Tom Collingwood summarised the key elements of the project, which bring together climate projection data with flood data, and asset data to calculate system impact to inform a greater understanding of the system effects caused by asset failure. These insights can then be used to inform decisions concerning operational and capital planning to increase resilience across the infrastructure system as a whole. The digital twin demonstrator will show the bigger picture about what can be achieved through knowledge exchange and cross-sectoral cooperation. ‘We’re talking about people, and that’s what matters at the end of the day,’ Tom said, bringing his presentation on the challenges and successes of CReDo’s technical approach to a close. CReDo project partners, represented by Tom Burgoyne, Anglian Water; Louise Krug, BT; Matt Webb, UK Power Networks; and Tamar Loach, Connected Places Catapult, agree that the ambition relies on close collaboration and a joined-up approach to make it work. Data sharing between networks, enabled using an information management framework, will help us to create resilient infrastructure systems and allow us to adapt to extreme weather events caused by climate change. The active Q&A session underlined the need for the CReDo approach, emphasising the opportunities that joined-up systems and processes can deliver to this sector and others in reducing risk. Robin Pinning from the Hartree Centre, part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, noted the need for culture change in understanding and in recognising the value of data, along with a drive for investment. One further topic, data security, is also at the forefront of everyone’s minds and CReDo is working towards establishing the framework to cover technical, legal, procedural and security concerns and applying federated access protocols. ‘Data and information are going to be key in mitigating climate change. Bringing that data together in digital twins is going to propel us to enhance resilience,’ Gavin Shaddick, Joint Centre for Excellence in Environmental Intelligence The expectation is that CReDo will be scalable to other networks, contexts and locations. Gavin spoke live from COP26, having seen at the conference a real understanding that data sharing in order to inform a bigger picture view is an important theme in developing resilience, adaptation and the pathway to Net Zero. There is no doubt that there will be technical challenges but desire for cross-sector collaboration for data sharing is growing fast. Gavin told the webinar, ‘Work that is going into CReDo on data interoperability and information management is directly transferable and this will make connecting digital twins much easier, both from the technological point of view and the learning in the non-technical aspects including data sharing agreements, how these are formulated and how to involve people in wide interdisciplinary groups’. Robert Pinning supports this view and believes that the project will translate easily to industry and the public sector, acting to speed up adoption of new projects and use cases. ‘There is a need to develop more use cases like CReDo to show the value that can be derived from digital twins,’ Tamar Loach, Technology Initiative Director, Connected Places Catapult. Ultimately, demonstrating the value will be down to collaborative effort across academia and industry, public and private sectors, within regions and nations, and globally. As this climate resilience project and similar use cases for connected digital twins catalyse action and enable change, then as a society we will be better positioned to adapt and respond to the challenges that face us. The CReDo team at the National Digital Twin programme would like to thank Simon Evans, the invited panel and the webinar guests for their valuable contributions at this event. For more information, contact Rachel Judson, credo@cdbb.cam.ac.uk Watch the webinar recording: View the CReDo film and try the app
  10. Digital twins can help organisations achieve various goals. In some cases, the end goal is for buildings and infrastructure to last longer, use less energy, and be safer. In others, it is enhancing the lives of people who interact with the built environment and its services. As highlighted by the Gemini Principles, these are not mutually exclusive aims, so wherever you are on your digital twin journey, it is important to consider other perspectives on the hybrid digital and physical systems you create. How will your digital twin fit into a wider ecosystem that provides services to all kinds of people? How will your asset’s performance impact the wider built environment and those who need to navigate it? Whose lives will be better if you share data securely and purposefully. In the first output from the Digital Twin Journeys series, the team working on the Smart Hospital of the Future research project, enabled by the Construction Innovation Hub, shared case studies from two smart hospitals and reflect on the innovations they saw during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this two video mini-series, the research team shares insights about how existing digital maturity enabled these hospitals to respond to the pandemic in agile ways, transforming to a hybrid physical and digital model of care distributed across multiple sites. They also explored how individual asset digital twins fit into a wider landscape of ecosystem services, guiding how we approach interoperability to achieve better outcomes. These insights inform the way we think about the role of digital twins in the smart built environments of the future. Dr Nirit Pilosof reflects that, ‘Digital twin as a concept can promote the design of the new system, the design process of the built environment and the technologies, but also really help operate… the hybrid models looking at the physical and virtual environments together.’ If health care is enabled by connected digital twins, how could the design of hospitals – and whole cities – change? In the videos, the team also discusses the limitations and ethics of services enabled by digital data and the use of digital technologies to improve staff safety, from isolated COVID wards to telemedicine. They frame service innovation as an iterative and collaborative process, informed by the needs of digital twin users, whether those are the asset owners and operators, or the people benefitting from the services they provide. According to project co-lead Dr Michael Barrett, ‘The people who need to drive the change are the people who are providing the service.' After the COVID crisis, we can better recognise what we have learned from implementing digital services at scale, as more people than ever have relied on them. The team reflect that having the right people in the right roles enabled the smart hospitals in these cases to transform their services rapidly in response to the need. The same human and organisational infrastructure that is creating the smart hospital of the future is also needed to create the flexible, responsive built environments of the future. Digital Twin Journeys can start from the perspective of available technology, from a problem-solving perspective, or from the perspective of users experiencing a service ecosystem. The smart hospitals project demonstrates the value of the latter two approaches. Hospital staff were instrumental in shaping the digitally-enabled service innovation to keep them safe and offer better services on and offsite, but project co-lead Dr Karl Prince points out how people accessing those services have to navigate a variety of different services in the built environment to get there. As we begin to connect digital twins together, we need to consider not just our own needs but the needs of others that digital twins can address. For more on this project, including links to their publications, see the team’s research profile on the CDBB website. Keep up with the Digital Twin Journeys series on the CDBB website or here on the Digital Twin Hub blog.
  11. RachelJudson

    Planning Golden Thread

    Click here for video As citizens and professionals we accept that the planning process is there to uphold standards of safety, aesthetic, technical and social requirements. However, the planning process has suffered from many years of tinkering and making good. We now have a planning process that is dependent on outdated approaches and incompatible with the rest of the development industry. It is slow, which presents problems in the UK where we need to build, a lot, quickly. Planning risks preventing this building from happening at pace and of a higher quality. This situation presents, of course, a golden opportunity for a fully digitised end-to-end process which could: reduce the planning bottleneck automate those parts of the process that can be Increase transparency of the process open up new means of engaging stakeholders with the planning process, by for example visualising proposed developments and so increasing understanding allow us to see projects in context, with other proposed developments, rather than in isolation allow access to, and sharing of, crucial data (like structural and fire safety information) facilitate the use of modern methods of construction most importantly, give a more accurate understanding of build costs and timescales In order to bring this about, we have to standardise and digitise (as far as it is possible and desirable) the rules under which designs are created, assessed, and ultimately built. At the same time we have to find ways to generate and use interoperable data. This problem is what the group from Bryden Wood, 3D Repo, London Borough of Southwark and CDBB have been working on. We have developed a model which is open and based on the established BIM Collaboration Framework (BCF). It presents the data associated with planning so that it can be queried and interrogated. You can see a summary in the video above and read more about it here; Planning Golden Thread statement attached below 3DRepo technical write up Bryden Wood technical write up Bryden Wood Schema We know that many of the barriers associated with a change like this will be cultural rather than technical so we are seeking partners in the planning and development system who would like to test the model and collaborators who would like to fund the next stage of development. Please get in touch! You can also hear more about this on the Gemini Call on Tuesday, 18 May at 10:30 with Miranda Sharp and Jack Ricketts of Southwark Council. Link to DT Hub Calendar
  12. Who are we Game engine technology is at the heart of heralding a new age of content creation, immersive storytelling, design driven development, and business process innovation. These tools are now being utilised to work along side your data to create a visual front end digital twin, to allow for a more immersive, controllable and completely customisable digital twin application. Unreal Engine is a game engine created by Epic Games to allow developers to create their own games and immersive 3D worlds. This technology has seen fast adoption across a number of industries including Manufacturing, Automotive, Film and Media, Architecture, Engineering and Construction [AEC]. As the need to collaborate virtually with stakeholders and end-users has increased, and the need to customise unique applications and visualise our 3D models and data becomes more important, it is where the role of game engines in AEC is making a mark. Unreal Engine is a free, open source tool for creators to develop their custom real-time experiences. Unreal Engine and Digital twins Data alone can often be confusing and hard to understand, its not until the data is contextualised that you are able to better understand the data and turn it into information that can benefit the project. This is where the Unreal Engine is here to support the Digital Twin communities, with its unique ability to aggregate data sources, from 3D geometry, BIM metadata, 4D construction data and IoT Hubs. Users are able to have a centralised location to contextualise the data in its native environment and allow users to build custom applications around it. Getting involved in our future roadmap... As we see more and more companies developing large scale digital twin applications, here at Epic Games we want to make sure we are providing everything you need to make your own digital twin applications with Unreal Engine. To allow you to integrate your existing data, geometry and IoT hub information into a visual platform for sharing with the world. We'd love to hear from you about how you see the world of digital twins evolving. Going forward, which tools and features will you find most valuable in creating digital twins? What kinds of training and support would you like to have access to from Epic Games on this? To help them serve you better, please take their survey about the current state of digital twins, and share your ideas or what you would like to see happen. Take the survey here Results of this survey will be shared to the community for wider awareness. In the mean time you can check out a recent article we shared with one of our customers in China:
  13. 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
  14. Dave Murray

    Test Engineering and DTs

    I am considering starting a network for topics related to Lifecycle V&V (Validation and Verification) centred on Evaluation and Testing, and this message is to poll the level of potential interest. I imagine the network would offer the following: · A place for Test Engineers from different market sectors to share experiences and gain knowledge · Support for those areas where DT activity is low but growing, the Defence Sector is an example, to benefit from the experiences of other sectors Test Engineers have a mix of technical and customer skills that are central to successful project implementation. The DT concept provides a lifecycle project-thread that provides Test Engineers with an unprecedented opportunity to exercise their skills. Maybe finding a way to maximise this opportunity might also attract more people to the career, and be a way to improve recruitment into the world of Engineering? If we launch this Network, would you consider joining it? Dave Murray
  15. Helena

    Cyber-Physical Fabric Summit

    until
    The DT Hub is proud to be the host of the Cyber-Physical Fabric Summit on 19 July 2021. 10:00 – 16:00 This online summit will explore the power of federated digital twins and cyber-physical infrastructure at a national scale, and is supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering, BEIS, UKRI, GoScience, Alan Turing Institute, Centre for Digital Built Britain and Robotics Growth Partnership. This summit will pull together stakeholders across these infrastructure landscapes. It will explore a bold, expansive vision for a cyber-physical fabric at a national scale to power prosperity and take time, cost and risk out of many vertical initiatives and moonshots. This new horizontal infrastructure would stitch together our physical and digital worlds, weaving together threads such as data, AI, synthetic environments, connected digital twins, living labs, connected smart machines and social science. It could be as transformative as the world wide web and, like the web, would be owned by nobody but used by everybody. The objective is to connect these stakeholders and hopefully foster greater understanding and alignment. If you would like to attend, please register here: Please feel free to share this event with anyone else you feel might be interested in this event.
  16. 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.
  17. DRossiter87

    Breaking Barriers: Interoperability

    During our research activities within the DT Hub, several barriers relating to the use of digital twins were identified. This blog post is one of a series which reflects on each barrier and considers related issues so that we can discuss how they may be addressed. As our members, and indeed other organisations active in the built environment, develop data and information about their assets, the ability to ensure that this data can be used within other tools is a priority. To do so, the data needs to be interoperable. One definition of interoperability is: In brief, if data can be shared between systems it is considered interoperable. Typically, this can be achieved in one of two ways: Both systems use the same formal description (schema) to structure the data; or One system transforms its data using an intermediate formal description (schema) to structure the data The simplest solution appears to be (1), to have all systems create, use and maintain information using the same schema. This would mean that information could be used in its default (native) format and there would be no risk of data being lost or corrupted during its transformation. However, this isn’t practicable as, from a technical perspective, it is unlikely that the broad range of information needed to support every possible purpose could be captured against the same schema. In addition, public procurement directives require performance-based technical specifications as opposed to naming specific software. This means that an organization may be challenged if they specify their supply chain use a particular piece of software as it would circumvent directives around competition and value for money. As it is not possible to guarantee that the same schema will be used throughout, it is far more practicable to identify which established industry schema is most suitable to accept data within (2) depending on the purpose of using this information. In doing so, there is an added benefit that the information you receive may be open data. Typically misused as a synonym for interoperability, open data is important for sharing but for a specific reason. Open data, in brief, is un-restricted data. By using proprietary software and systems the schema used to structure that data is hidden. As a user of that software you are effectively given permission by the vendor to use that structure to view your information. For built environment assets this can be a problem as the physical asset can outlast the software used to design and manage it. Meaning that in 50 years a tool that allows access to this information may not exist - or sooner given the cannibalistic nature of the software industry. Consider SketchUp for example. Since its release in 2000, it has been owned by three different organizations: @Last Software, Google, and Trimble. The permission to use the SKP schema has changed hands several times. Who will produce software to view these files in 30 years’ time? To ensure enduring access to asset information, either bespoke schemas need to be developed and maintained internally, or an established open schema needs to be used. However, while several open schemas are readily available (such as IFC, PDF, PNG, MQTT) they can raise concerns related to access, control and abuse of the data within. These concerns, thankfully, can be offset through control. Using open data structures, it is possible to ensure that only the information you wish to exchange is delivered. By using proprietary structures hidden information can also be exchanged which cannot be controlled; potentially causing a larger risk than their open counterparts. Conversely, to produce a “need-to-know” dataset an open data approach is, ironically, easier to control. When considering which methodologies to use, open data benefits typically outweigh its risks. The use of these open data structures will not only unlock interoperability between digital twins within an organization but will be the mechanism that enables a secure national digital twin. Access to appropriate data about our national infrastructure is currently held behind proprietary schema. Let’s make Britain’s data open again! We hope you enjoyed this short piece on breaking the barriers related to interoperability. What specific challenges have you faced relating to the implementation of interoperability? Do you consider open data in this content is an opportunity or a threat? Would you prefer the National Digital Twin to be based on an open or a propriety schema? the_pathway_towards_an_imf.pdf the_pathway_towards_an_imf.pdf DTHUb_NewbieGuide_May2020_(1).pdf HUB Version_DT Standards Roadmap_November 2020 (3).pdf DT Hub SII SUMMARY - Published.pdf
  18. It is proposed that the Information Management Framework (IMF) for the creating of a National Digital Twin will consist of three technical elements: the Foundation Data Model (FDM), Reference Data Library (RDL) and Integration Architecture (IA). The IMF will underpin the creation of an environment which supports the use, management and integration of digital information across the life-cycle of assets. The IMF will also enable secure, resilient information sharing between organisations and will facilitate better decision making across sectors. The National Digital Twin Programme has initiated work investigating this approach with a thin slice of the IMF for the Construction Innovation Hub, to support the development of CIH’s Platform Ecosystem. This thin slice of the IMF is called the FDM Seed. The FDM describes basic concepts such as space-time which are attributable across all areas of our industry. By developing this, the FDM provides a way to explore relationships between these different areas. The FDM Seed is an inception of the above concept and is proposed by starting smaller and watching the development grow - similar to a seed. The first steps of the FDM Seed project is to survey the landscape, to investigate what ontologies and Data models are already in use out there, what they can do, and their limitations, and assess what tools may be useful as a starting point for the FDM and the RDL. The starting point for the FDM is a top-level ontology, this contains the fundamental and generic types of things that exist and the fundamental relationships between them. The survey of Top-Level Ontologies (TLOs) uncovered a surprisingly high number of candidate TLOs with 40 being identified and reviewed, many more that we could have imagined. Fig 1.General classification of the TLO – taken from A Survey of Top-level Ontologies The final survey of top-level ontologies is, we think, the first of its kind. We were looking for an ontology that was rigorous, simple and with sufficient explanatory detail to cover our scope of interest, which is very broad. There are roughly two groups of TLOS, Foundational and Generic: The foundation are rigorous, principled foundations and provide a basis for consistent development and would be suitable for the FDM. The Generic tended to generalisations of lower level, rather than principled and lack a principled basis for extension, and therefore not suitable for the structure of the FDM, though likely to be use for the FDM generic lower levels. An RDL provides the classes and properties to describe the detail of an asset. The survey hoped to identify the most prominent of Industry Data Models and show the best starting point for the IMF RDL. There are many different RDLs in use across sectors. For the purpose of the FDM seed a limited analysis was carried out, but the list is open, and more candidates will be added for future consideration. Surveying and analysing the most commonly used RDLs will mean we are able to give guidance to organization when mapping their existing RDLs to the NDT. Next steps The Survey papers have now been published. We encourage you to engage with the National Digital Twin Programme to find out more about the approach, the results of the survey and the Assessments of the TLOs and Industry Data Models & RDLs. You can find these resources under the 'Files' tab. The Programme is now in the process of gathering their recommendations for the TLOs to use to start the work on the FDM Seed thin slice. We anticipate basing the FDM development on one of the TLOs, bringing in elements from others, based on the survey & analysis.
  19. Strategic planning for life after Covid-19 brings an unprecedented opportunity to change the way we view and manage our infrastructure. Mark Enzer, from CDBB makes the case for putting people first. The current pandemic has been a powerful but unforgiving teacher. It has demonstrated the importance of data and the power of digital models to derive insights from those data, to help us model outcomes, to guide the pulling of the levers to control “R” and to help us make better more-informed decisions. Covid’s disruptive impact across all sectors and societies has also revealed the interconnections and interdependencies between our economic and social infrastructure, highlighting the importance of creating resilient, sustainable and secure infrastructure systems upon which essential services depend. So why change our view of infrastructure? We have created an amazing, complex machine on which we wholly depend. Without it, our lives would be immeasurably worse. Society would not survive. That machine is infrastructure – our built environment. However, we don’t appreciate the relationship between infrastructure and our wellbeing. Therefore, we don’t set objectives in terms of outcomes for people and society. And although we understand each part of the built environment, we do not manage it as a whole. Therefore, we don’t know how to address its systemic vulnerabilities or make it work better. If we envision, plan and manage infrastructure differently, we can make it what it should truly be: A platform for human flourishing. Putting people first The Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) and the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) have recently published ‘Flourishing systems’, which makes the case for a people-focused systems-based vision for infrastructure. As we consider priorities following the Covid-19 outbreak, we have an opportunity to plot a new course that recognises the fundamental role of infrastructure in the social, economic and environmental outcomes that determine the quality of people’s lives. To do this, we must see infrastructure as a complex, interconnected system of systems that must deliver continuous service to society. Infrastructure is so much more than just a series of construction projects. Adopting a system-of-systems approach makes it possible to address the great systemic challenges such as achieving net-zero carbon emissions, improving resilience and preparing for a circular economy. It also unlocks the potential of digital transformation across the built environment. How digitalisation delivers value With the ongoing digital transformation of the infrastructure industry, we have the opportunity to deliver huge benefit for people – for whom infrastructure ultimately exists. Digital transformation encompasses how we function as organisations, how we deliver new assets and how we operate, maintain and use existing assets. Bringing digital and physical assets together creates cyber-physical systems – smart infrastructure. Effectively, this is applying the fourth industrial revolution to infrastructure. Making better use of asset and systems data is central to this vision because better analysis of better data enables better decisions, producing better outcomes, which is the essential promise of the information age. As part of this, we must recognise digital assets, such as data, information, algorithms and digital twins, as genuine ‘assets’, which have value and must be managed effectively and securely. In time, as data and digital assets become valued, data itself will be seen as infrastructure. We are now at a point where the vision for effective digitalisation of the whole of the built environment is within reach. Enabling secure, resilient data sharing Managing complex interconnected systems requires the appropriate tools. CDBB’s National Digital Twin programme sets out a structured approach for effective information management across the system as a whole. This approach is informed by ‘The Gemini Principles’ and is driven by the NIC’s ‘data for the public good’ report. The recent paper ‘Pathway Towards an Information Management Framework’ suggests an approach for the development of an Information Management Framework to enable secure, resilient data sharing across the built environment. It is this that will enable data connections between digital twins, which is at the heart of the concept of the ‘National Digital Twin’ – an ecosystem of connected digital twins. All systems go Taking a systems-based approach to our infrastructure will improve our ability to deliver desirable outcomes for people and society – around accessibility, inclusion, empowerment, resilience and wellbeing – not just for now but for generations to come. It will also better equip us to address the urgent global systemic challenge of climate change. It’s time to see infrastructure differently – as a system of systems that provides a platform for human flourishing. flourishing-systems_final_digital.pdf
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    As digital transformation accelerates across the built environment, Costain is collaborating across the value chain to move towards the Integrated Enterprise, connecting Digital Twins to ask complex What If questions of UK infrastructure. The focus of the 2nd series of digital twin talks is to explore the complex topic associated with the interconnection of digital twins in order to access the compound benefits that this can deliver. It cannot be expected by any solution provider, that “their” digital twin solution is one that can hope to achieve complete market monopoly given the bespoke nature of individual organisations and sectors requirements, histories and aspirations. It is, therefore, imperative that during the creation of these solutions one is considerate of design practices that are conducive in enabling the connection with other solutions [and their needs]. This practice will of course require governance but early reflection on this ambition can ultimately lower the technical hurdles that may emerge in line with potential integration frameworks.
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    Cities are complex places made up of lots of interconnected systems. Currently, policies, strategies and the digital tools that help to define them, struggle to reflect this complexity and interconnectedness. Will digital twins and the ability to federate, help cities to become more holistic in the way they plan infrastructure and services? The focus of the 2nd series of digital twin talks is to explore the complex topic associated with the interconnection of digital twins in order to access the compound benefits that this can deliver. It cannot be expected by any solution provider, that “their” digital twin solution is one that can hope to achieve complete market monopoly given the bespoke nature of individual organisations and sectors requirements, histories and aspirations. It is, therefore, imperative that during the creation of these solutions one is considerate of design practices that are conducive in enabling the connection with other solutions [and their needs]. This practice will of course require governance but early reflection on this ambition can ultimately lower the technical hurdles that may emerge in line with potential integration frameworks.
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    Neil will introduce the Geospatial Commission's National Underground Asset Register pilot project, focussing on delivering high value use cases, while building in flexibility and interoperability. The focus of the 2nd series of digital twin talks is to explore the complex topic associated with the interconnection of digital twins in order to access the compound benefits that this can deliver. It cannot be expected by any solution provider, that “their” digital twin solution is one that can hope to achieve complete market monopoly given the bespoke nature of individual organisations and sectors requirements, histories and aspirations. It is, therefore, imperative that during the creation of these solutions one is considerate of design practices that are conducive in enabling the connection with other solutions [and their needs]. This practice will of course require governance but early reflection on this ambition can ultimately lower the technical hurdles that may emerge in line with potential integration frameworks.
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    This talk will describe a range of applications for digital twins which represent populations and their behaviour at fine geographical scales. Insights from spatial analysis, data science and AI will be advanced in order to support decision-making across multiple inter-connected sectors and subsystems. The focus of the 2nd series of digital twin talks is to explore the complex topic associated with the interconnection of digital twins in order to access the compound benefits that this can deliver. It cannot be expected by any solution provider, that “their” digital twin solution is one that can hope to achieve complete market monopoly given the bespoke nature of individual organisations and sectors requirements, histories and aspirations. It is, therefore, imperative that during the creation of these solutions one is considerate of design practices that are conducive in enabling the connection with other solutions [and their needs]. This practice will of course require governance but early reflection on this ambition can ultimately lower the technical hurdles that may emerge in line with potential integration frameworks.
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    For the UK’s digital twin ecosystem to flourish, key decision-makers must be acutely aware of the commercial incentive structures and narratives that underpin strategic collaboration across different problem domains and time horizons. In this talk, Tom explores some of the key commercial barriers to sustainable, human-centred growth across the UK’s digital twin ecosystem and highlights ongoing work conducted by techUK’s cross-market Digital Twin Working Group (DTWG). The focus of the 2nd series of digital twin talks is to explore the complex topic associated with the interconnection of digital twins in order to access the compound benefits that this can deliver. It cannot be expected by any solution provider, that “their” digital twin solution is one that can hope to achieve complete market monopoly given the bespoke nature of individual organisations and sectors requirements, histories and aspirations. It is, therefore, imperative that during the creation of these solutions one is considerate of design practices that are conducive in enabling the connection with other solutions [and their needs]. This practice will of course require governance but early reflection on this ambition can ultimately lower the technical hurdles that may emerge in line with potential integration frameworks.
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