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  1. Mohiminul Islam Fardin

    Online Survey for MSc Dissertation

    Hello everyone, I am Mohiminul Islam Fardin, A postgraduate student at London Southbank University Studying MSc Construction Project Management. My dissertation topic is "Cost and Benefit of Digital Twinning". The main aim of this study is to investigate the effect of benefits and impact of costs on implementing digital twin on UK construction and for that, I would like to request you all to participate an online survey . here is the link to that form https://forms.gle/gDu1VHqgBFiUCoez9 . In this survey, you will be asked to rate the industry-recognized benefits and costs of Digital Twin on their importance when deciding on the implementation of the digital twin. Please do participate and give your valuable feedback, so that, I can complete my dissertation on time and can help the construction industry with new set of paths. Feel free to share this with your known industry related people. Survey form Link: https://forms.gle/gDu1VHqgBFiUCoez9
  2. A group of researchers at University of Manchester (including myself) are conducting a research study into perceptions around “urban digital twins”, to capture opportunities, challenges, and gaps. Since digital twin applications are still in their infancy, no specific knowledge of digital twins is required to take part in the project. We wish to interview individuals involved professionally with the urban environment or digital twins. No prior preparation is required. The study will involve a 1hr virtual interview and the opportunity to check the anonymised notes afterwards. The full participant information for the study is here. If you would like to participate, please book a slot using this link. We would also welcome any other collaboration opportunities around urban digital twins - please reply here or get in touch with guy.marshall@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk if this may be of interest. Thanks for reading! Guy
  3. The Digital Twin Journeys workstream has taken world leading research and turned it into accessible and useful information to enable those who are just starting out on their digital twin journeys to get ahead. We have learnt about more than just innovative technologies and their implementation, we have learnt about the type of thinking that makes this research ground-breaking. To take this research forwards and discover what your Minimum Viable Twin is, check out the infographic, the final summary of our workstream. Join Desmond and Mara as they embark on a journey of their own to develop a digital twin. As you follow them, you will learn about an approach to design thinking and iterative development that paves the way for effective digital twin prototyping. Read the full infographic here. We have taken our journey through assessing the need of users as they utilise our services. This enables the interventions that we make to be tailored to their needs, considering the ecosystem of services they rely on and the differing levels of access to these services. We have learnt that care needs to be taken when selecting whether to create your own solution from scratch, buy something pre-existing or work with partners. The Deep Dish project used well established code to handle computer vision, the sensors used in the Staffordshire bridges projects were not custom made for it. In short, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. As digital twins were themselves first conceived by NASA as a way of managing assets in the most inaccessible place, space, so too have we learnt how we can manage inaccessible assets from space with the help of satellite telemetry. But we also discovered how important skilled data scientists are to making this technique accessible to industry. We learned that digital twin prototypes can be used as a tool for their own continuous cycle of improvement, as each iteration teaches us how to better classify, refine and optimise the data we use in our decision-making. The key to it all is the decisions that we make, the way that we change the world around us based upon the information that we have in front of us. We have learnt that working with decision makers is central to creating digital twins that improve outcomes for people and nature as part of a complex system of systems. We can provide these stakeholders with the information that they need to realise our collective vision for a digital built Britain. 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). Check out the rest of the outputs on the CDBB Digital Twin Journeys page.
  4. To asset owners and managers, understanding how people move through and use the built environment is a high priority, enabling better, more user-focused decisions. However, many of the methods for getting these insights can feel invasive to users. The latest output from Digital Twin Journeys looks at how a researcher at the University of Cambridge has solved this problem by teaching a computer to see. Watch the video to learn more. Working from the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, Matthew Danish is developing an innovative, low-cost sensor that tracks the movement of people through the built environment. DeepDish is based on open-source software and low-cost hardware, including a webcam and a Raspberry Pi. Using Machine Learning, Matthew has previously taught DeepDish to recognise pedestrians and track their journeys through the space, and then began training them to distinguish pedestrians from Cambridge’s many cyclists. One of the key innovations in Matthew’s technique is that no images of people are actually stored or processed outside of the camera. Instead, it is programmed to count and track people without capturing any identifying information or images. This means that DeepDish can map the paths of individuals using different mobility modes through space, without violating anyone’s privacy. Matthew’s digital twin journey teaches us that technological solutions need not be expensive to tick multiple boxes, and a security- and privacy-minded approach to asset sensing can still deliver useful insights. To find out more about DeepDish, read about it here. 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).
  5. We all want the built environment to be safe and to last. However, minor movements over time from forces such as subsidence can impact how well our assets perform. It can also make connecting and modifying assets harder if they have shifted from the position in which they were built. If the assets are remote or hard to access, this makes tracking these small movements even more difficult. The latest instalment from the Digital Twin Journeys series is a video showing the construction and built environment sectors what they need to know about remote sensing and using satellite data, featuring the Construction Innovation Hub-funded research by the Satellites group based at the Universities of Cambridge and Leeds. Using satellite imaging, we may be able to detect some of the tell-tale signs of infrastructure failure before they happen, keeping services running smoothly and our built environment performing as it was designed over its whole life. You can read more from the Satellites project by visiting their research profile. This research forms part of the Centre for Digital Built Britain’s (CDBB) work at the University of Cambridge. It was enabled by the Construction Innovation Hub, of which CDBB is a core partner, and funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).
  6. Intelligent infrastructure is a new trend that aims to create a work of connected physical and digital objects together in industrial domains via a complex digital architecture which utilises different advanced technologies. A core element to this is the intelligent and autonomous component. Two-tiers intelligence is a novel new concept for coupling machine learning algorithms with knowledge bases. The lack of availability of prior knowledge in dynamic scenarios is without doubt a major barrier for scalable machine intelligence. The interaction between the two tiers is based on the concept that when knowledge is not readily available at the top tier, the knowledge base tier, more knowledge cab be extracted from the bottom tier, which has access to trained models from machine learning algorithms. It has been reported that the need for intelligent autonomous systems – based on AI and ML – operating in real-world conditions to radically improve their resilience and capability to recover from damage. It has been expressed the view that there is a prospect for AI and ML to solve many of those problems. A claim has been made that a balanced view of intelligent systems by understanding the positive and negative merits will have impact in the way they are deployed, applied, and regulated in real-world environments. A modelling paradigm for online diagnostics and prognostics for autonomous systems is presented. A model for the autonomous system being diagnosed is designed using a logic-based formalism, the symbolic approach. The model supports the run-time ability to verify that the autonomous system is safe and reliable for operation within a dynamic environment. However, during the work we identified some areas where knowledge for the purpose of safety and reliability is not readily available. This has been a main motive to integrate ML algorithms with the ontology. After decades of significant research, two approaches to modelling cognition and intelligence have been investigated and studied: Networks (or Connectionism) and Symbolic Systems. The two approaches attempt to mimic the human brain (neuroscience) and mind (logic, language, and philosophy). While the Connectionism approach considers learning as the main cognitive activity, the Symbolic Systems are broader, they also look at reasoning (for problem solving and decision making) as the main cognitive activity besides learning. Although, learning isn’t the focus of Symbolic Systems, powerful – but limited – methods were applied, such as ID3 (define) and its different variations and versions. Furthermore, the Connectionism approach is concerned with data while Symbolic Systems are concerned with knowledge. Psychologists have developed non-computational theories of learning that have been the source of inspiration for both approaches. Psychologists have also differentiated between different types of learning (such as learning from experience, by examples, or a combination of both). In addition, unlike in animals (it is difficult to test intelligence in non-human creatures), human psychologists have also produced methods to test human intelligence. Mathematicians have also contributed statistical methods and probabilistic models to predict behaviour or to rank a trend. The subject of Machine Learning (ML) is the bag for all algorithms used to mine data in the hope that we can learn something useful from the data, which is usually distributed, structured or unstructured, and of significant size. Although there are several articles on the differences and similarities between Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning, and articles on the importance of the two schools, there are no real or practical attempts that have been reported in the literature to practically use or combine the two approaches together. Therefore, this is an attempt to settle the ongoing conflicts between the two existing thoughts for modelling cognition and intelligence in humans. We argue that two-tiers intelligence is a mandate for machine intelligence as it is the case for human. Animals, on the other hand, have one-tier intelligence, which is the intrinsic and the static know-how. The harmony between the two tiers can be viewed from different angles, however they complement each other, and both are mandatory for human intelligence and hence machine intelligence. The lack of availability of prior knowledge in dynamic complex systems of is without doubt a major barrier to scalable machine intelligence. Several advanced technologies are used to control, manipulate, and utilise all parts whether software, hardware, mobile assets such as robots, or even infrastructure assets such as wind turbines. The two-tiers intelligence approach will enhance the learning and knowledge sharing process in a setup that heavily relies on some sort of symbiotic relationships between its parts and the human operator.
  7. Motion sensors, CO₂ sensors and the like are considered to be benign forms of monitoring, since they don’t capture images or personal data about us as we move through the buildings we visit. Or at least, that’s what we want to believe. Guest blogger Professor Matthew Chalmers (University of Glasgow) helped develop a mobile game called About Us as part of the CDBB funded Project OAK. The game takes players through a mission using information from building sensors to help them achieve their aims — with a twist at the end. He writes about why we all need to engage with the ethics of data collection in smart built environments. Mobile games are more than just entertainment. They can also teach powerful lessons by giving the player the ability to make decisions, and then showing them the consequences of those decisions. About Us features a simulated twin of a building in Cambridge, with strategically placed CO₂ sensors in public spaces (such as corridors), and raises ethical questions about the Internet of Things (IoT) in buildings. The premise of the game is simple. While you complete a series of tasks around the building, you must avoid the characters who you don’t want to interact with (as they will lower your game score), and you should contact your helpers — characters who will boost your score. You can view a map of the building, and plan your avatar’s route to accomplish your tasks, based on which route you think is safest. On the map, you can watch the building’s sensors being triggered. By combining this anonymous sensor data with map details of which offices are located where, you can gather intelligence about the movements of particular characters. In this way, you can find your helpers and avoid annoying interactions. If you’ve avoided the bad characters and interacted with the good characters while completing your tasks, you win the game. However, a twist comes after you have finished: the game shows you how much could be inferred about your game character, from the exact same sensors that you had been using to make inferences about other characters. Every task in the game exposes some sensitive data about the player’s avatar, and reinforces the player’s uncomfortable realisation that they have exploited apparently neutral data to find and avoid others. What does this tell us about the ethics of digital twins? Our journeys through the built environment can reveal more than we intend them to, e.g. our movements, our routines, where we congregate, and where we go to avoid others. All this information could inadvertently be revealed by a building digital twin, even though the data used seems (at first glance) to be anonymous and impersonal. The game used CO₂ levels as an example of apparently impersonal data that, when combined with other information (local knowledge in this case), becomes more personal. More generally, data might be low risk when isolated within its originating context, but risk levels are higher given that data can be combined with other systems and other (possibly non-digital) forms of information. The Gemini Principles set out the need for digital twins to be ethical and secure, but About Us demonstrates that this can be surprisingly difficult to ensure. Collecting data through digital twins provides aggregate insights — that’s why they’re so useful — but it also creates risks that need ongoing governance. It’s vitally important that citizens understand the double-edged problem of digital twins, so that citizens are more able to advocate for how they want the technology to be used, and not used, and for how governance should be implemented. Gamification is now a well-established technique for understanding and changing user attitudes toward digital technology. About Us was designed to create a safe but challenging environment, in which players can explore an example of data that could be collected in distributed computing environments, the uses to which such data can be put, and the intelligence that can be gathered from resulting inferences. The ultimate purpose of Project OAK is to enable anyone concerned with how data is managed (e.g., data processors, data subjects, governance bodies) to build appropriate levels of trust in the data and in its processing. Only if we recognise the ethical and legal issues represented by digital twins can we start to give meaningful answers to questions about what good system design and good system governance look like in this domain. Information about this project is available on their GitHub 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.
  8. 50 downloads

    This research aimed to investigate the breadth and depth of digital twin blockers, galvanising the community towards greater engagement and collaboration to solve a complex set of national challenges. The DT Hub’s strategic approach was cyclical, beginning with highlighting the challenges and the opportunities faced by members. The project consisted of a series of strategy jams with the community interspersed by activity on the DT Hub in a ‘call-and-response’ manner. This approach became more effective as the project progressed. First, community thinking was used to seed the Roadblock Identification Jam, whose outputs in turn were put back into the community for further comment, refinement and validation. The next step was to kick off a discussion on the relative importance of different roadblocks to feed into the Roadblock Prioritisation Jam. Again, the outputs were subsequently checked in the wider community. The final DT Hub activity was preparatory to the Roadblock Prototyping Jam, consisting of a brainstorm to find ways around certain blockers, the results of which were fed into the final Jam – evaluating the problem definition and trying to find solutions. The research resulted in recommendations to support the DT Hub in tackling gaps, prioritising pressing issues and galvanising engagement to tackle the blockers. In summary, they are to: · Form a digital twin accelerator programme · Review the online community platform · Leverage the convening power of the DT Hub for engagement with others · Lead on the development of vision and value for digital twins · Evaluate and progress the Strategy Jam ideas · Introduce a problem-solving toolkit · Conduct a meta-analysis to compare this research with other findings and DT Hub resources. You can also access the full report.
  9. This is the question we’ll be diving into for a quick 8 minutes during the next Gemini Call Tuesday 1st February at 10.30am-11.00am. Did you know that radar satellites continuously scan the earth, emitting and receiving back radar waves? These satellites do not rely on daylight to image and so we can collect radar measurements day and night, and even through clouds. Using different processing techniques, this data can be used to create 3D digital elevation models, map floods and measure millimetres of movement at the Earth’s surface – all from hundreds of kilometres up in space. And did you know there is free data available to track pollutants, monitor ground changes and track vegetation? There is. In huge volumes. Petabytes of data are held in archives which allow us to look backwards in time as well as forwards. With all this opportunity, it can seem a bit daunting on where to get started. To know more read this blog. Hope to see you next Tuesday for introduction to the topic and some signposting on where you can go to find out more to make the most of such data for your own assets.
  10. 3Cell currently going through one of the largest transformations in the company’s history. So far, 3Cell has mainly been an expert/engineering services provider to multinationals, including mobile operators and mobile network equipment manufacturers. However, we are now working on our own exciting range of products and solutions. 3Cell has prototyped a fully autonomous drone offering that will significantly simplify and digitalise telco site surveys. Our drone offering can operate autonomously to complete surveying missions and use the data collected to generate 3D site models, report on signal strength measurements, manage digital asset data and identify any structural site issues. 3Cell’s grant fund application for Innovate UK has been submitted and waiting for the result. 3Cell have conducted initial research into providing a full end-to-end autonomous drone telecommunications survey solution (elipptic), developing the base architecture for the software platform, and identifying the necessary hardware and cloud engine specifications. This project enables 3Cell to develop a novel AI engine, utilising 3D modelling of the tower and surrounding areas (identifying blocking points) to provide a full survey report and equipment inventory with insights (e.g. antenna positioning/direction) to maximise ROI and 5G network performance, removing the reliance on end-user experience. However this solution could apply to other industries as well where 3D modelling and its data acquisition required. We have already partnered with a range of innovative organisations to turn the prototype into an industrial offering. These include Brunel University, IUK, Cambridge Wireless, UK5G, BT and the University of Westminster. We are getting a range of technical, financial and commercial support from these partners. After all collaborative projects, we expect the first version of the industrialised solution to be working at client sites by late 2022. As part of our solution development and transformation effort, we are calling for organisations or individuals who have an interest in running pilot projects, 5G/Drone trials and in asset digitisation those that can help us increase awareness and build a network in the industry, as well as those that are working on similar drone-based (telco/non-telco) solutions.
  11. Sensor technology has come a long way over the last 30 years, from the world’s first, bulky webcam at the University of Cambridge Computer Science Department to near ubiquitous networks of sleek sensors that can provide data at an unprecedented volume, velocity and quality. Today, sensors can even talk to each other to combine single points of data into useful insights about complex events. The new webcomic ‘Coffee Time’ by Dave Sheppard, part of the Digital Twin Journeys series, tells the story of this evolution and what it means for what we can learn about our built environment through smart sensors. Starting with a simple problem – is there coffee in the lab’s kitchen? – researchers in the early 1990s set up the world’s first webcam to get the information they wanted. Today, people in the Computer Lab still want to know when the coffee is ready, but there are more ways to solve the problem, and new problems that can be solved, using smart sensors. Smart sensors don’t just send information from point A to point B, providing one type of data about one factor. That data needed to be collated and analysed to get insights. Now sensors can share data with each other and generate insights more instantaneously. The West Cambridge Digital Twin team at the computer lab have looked at how specific sequences of sensor events can be combined into an insight that translates actions in the physical world into carefully defined digital events. When someone makes coffee, for example, they might turn on a machine to grind the coffee beans, triggering a smart sensor in the grinder. Then they’d lift the pot to fill it with water, triggering a weight sensor pad beneath to record a change in weight. Then they would switch the coffee machine on, triggering a sensor between the plug and the outlet that senses that the machine is drawing power. Those events in close succession, in that order, would tell the smart sensor network when the coffee is ready. These sequences of sensor triggers are known as complex events. Using this technique, smart sensors in the built environment can detect and react to events like changes in building occupancy, fires and security threats. One advantage of this approach is that expensive, specialist sensors may not be needed to detect rarer occurrences if existing sensors can be programmed to detect them. Another is that simple, off-the-shelf sensors can detect events they were never designed to. As the comic points out, however, it is important to programme the correct sequence, timing and location of sensor triggers, or you may draw the wrong conclusion from the data that’s available. Something as simple as wanting to know if the coffee is ready led to the first implementation of the webcam. Digital twin journeys can have simple beginnings, with solving a simple problem with a solution that’s accessible to you, sparking off an evolution that can scale up to solve a wide range of problems in the future. You can read and download the full webcomic here. You can read more from the West Cambridge Digital Twin project by visiting their research profile. This research forms part of the Centre for Digital Built Britain’s (CDBB) work at the University of Cambridge. It was enabled by the Construction Innovation Hub, of which CDBB is a core partner, and funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).
  12. 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.
  13. Our latest output from the Digital Twin Journeys series is a webcomic by David Sheppard. 'Now We Know' tells the story of a fictional building manager, Hank, who isn't sure how a building digital twin can help him in his work when the existing building management system tells him what he thinks he needs to know. This same tension plays out around real-world digital twin development, as advocates point to the promise of perfect, right-time information to make better decisions, while others remain unconvinced of the value that digital twins can add. As the West Cambridge Digital Twin research team developed a prototype digital twin, they encountered this barrier, and found that working with the building-manager-as-expert to co-develop digital twin capability is the way to go. While they grounded iterations of the prototype in the building managers' present needs, they were also able to present the potential capability of the digital twin in ways that demonstrated its value. This is mirrored in the fictional narrative of the comic in the consultation between the Cambridge Digital Twin Team expert and the building manager, Hank. Involving end users, like building occupants and managers, in the design and development of digital twins will ensure that they meet real-world information needs. Both people and data bring value to the whole-life management of assets. Many uncertainties exist in the built environment, and in many cases when pure data-driven solutions get into trouble (e.g. through poor data curation or low data quality), expertise from asset managers can bolster automated and data-driven solutions. Therefore, incorporating the knowledge and expertise of the frontline managers is crucial to good decision-making in building operations. The benefits of this hybrid approach work in the other direction as well. While the knowledge developed by building managers is often lost when people move on from the role, the digital twin enables the curation of data over time, making it possible to operate buildings beyond the tenure of individual staff members based on quality data. At present, the knowledge of experienced asset managers in combination with existing building information, is greater than the insights that early-stage digital twins can offer. But that does not mean that the promise of digital twins is a false one. It simply means that there is still a long way to go to realise the vision of right-time, predictive information portrayed in the comic. Digital twin prototypes should be developed in partnership with these experienced stakeholders. You can read more from the West Cambridge Digital Twin project by visiting their research profile, and find out about more Digital Twin Journeys on the project's homepage. This research forms part of the Centre for Digital Built Britain’s (CDBB) work at the University of Cambridge. It was enabled by the Construction Innovation Hub, of which CDBB is a core partner, and funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).
  14. A new infographic, enabled by the Construction Innovation Hub, is published today to bring to life a prototype digital twin of the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) on the West Cambridge campus. Xiang Xie and Henry Fenby-Taylor discuss the infographic and lessons learned from the project. The research team for the West Cambridge Digital Twin project has developed a digital twin that allows various formats of building data to function interoperably, enabling better insights and optimisation for asset managers and better value per whole life Pound. The graphic centres the asset manager as a decision maker as a vital part of this process, and illustrates that each iteration improves the classification and refinement of the data. It also highlights challenges and areas for future development, showing that digital twin development is an ongoing journey, not finite destination. The process of drawing data from a variety of sources into a digital twin and transforming it into insights goes through an iterative cycle of: Sense/Ingest - use sensor arrays to collect data, or draw on pre-existing static data, e.g. a geometric model of the building Classify - label, aggregate, sort and describe data Refine - select what data is useful to the decision-maker at what times and filter it into an interface designed to provide insights Decide – use insights to weigh up options and decide on further actions Act/Optimise - feed changes and developments to the physical and digital twins to optimise both building performance and the effectiveness of the digital twin at supporting organisational goals. Buildings can draw data from static building models, quasi-dynamic building management systems and smart sensors, all with different data types, frequencies and formats. This means that a significant amount of time and resources are needed to manually search, query, verify and analyse building data that is scattered across different databases, and this process can lead to errors. The aim of the West Cambridge Digital Twin research facility project is to integrate data from these various sources and automate the classification and refinement for easier, more timely decision-making. In their case study, the team has created a digital twin based on a common data environment (CDE) that is able to integrate data from a variety of sources. The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) schema is used to capture the building geometry information, categorising building zones and the components they contain. Meanwhile, a domain vocabulary and taxonomy describe how the components function together as a system to provide building services. The key to achieving this aim was understanding the need behind the building management processes already in place. This meant using the expertise and experience of the building manager to inform the design of a digital twin that was useful and usable within those processes. This points to digital twin development as a socio-technical project, involving culture change, collaboration and alignment with strategic aims, as well as technical problem solving. In the future, the team wants to develop twins that can enhance the environmental and economic performance of buildings. Further research is also needed to improve the automation at the Classify and Refine stages so they continue to get better at recognising what information is needed to achieve organisational goals. You can read more from the West Cambridge Digital Twin project by visiting their research profile. This research forms part of the Centre for Digital Built Britain’s (CDBB) work at the University of Cambridge. It was enabled by the Construction Innovation Hub, of which CDBB is a core partner, and funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). To see more from the Digital Twin Journeys series, see the homepage on the CDBB website.
  15. Digital twins enable asset owners to use better information at the right time to make better decisions. Exploring the early stages of a digital twin journey – understanding the information need – are Staffordshire Bridges researcher Dr Farhad Huseynov and Head of Information Management Henry Fenby-Taylor. Network Rail manages over 28,000 bridges, with many being more than 150 years old. The primary means of evaluating the condition of the bridges is through two assessment programmes; visual examination and Strength Capability Assessment. Every conceivable form of bridge construction is represented across Network Rail’s portfolio of assets, from simple stone slabs to large estuary crossings, such as the Forth Bridge. Managing a portfolio of this diversity with frequent and extensive assessments is a considerable challenge. Condition monitoring The current process for condition monitoring involves visual examination by engineers and takes place every year, along with a more detailed examination every six years. The visual inspection provides a qualitative outcome and does not directly predict the bridge strength; it is conducted to keep a detailed record of visible changes that may indicate deterioration. The load-carrying capacity of bridges is evaluated every five years through a Strength Capability Assessment, conducted in three levels of detail: Level 1 is the simplest, using safety assumptions known to be conservatively over-cautious (i.e. 1-dimensional structural idealisation). Level 2 involves refined analysis and better structural idealisation (i.e. grillage model). This level may also include the use of data on material strength based on recent material tests, etc. Level 3 is the most sophisticated level of assessment, requiring bridge-specific traffic loading information based on a statistical model of the known traffic. Understanding the information and insights that asset owners require helps shape what data is needed and how frequently it should be collected – two essential factors in creating infrastructure that is genuinely smart. During the discussions with Network Rail, the research team found that Level 3 assessment is only used in exceptional circumstances. This is because there is no active live train load monitoring system on the network; hence there is no site-specific traffic loading information available for the majority of bridges. Instead, bridges failing Level 2 assessment are typically put under weight and/or speed restrictions, reducing their ability to contribute to the network. This means that there is potentially huge value in providing Level 3 assessment at key sites with greater frequency. Digital twins for condition assessment The Stafford Area Improvement Programme was setup to remove a bottleneck in the West Coast Main Line that resulted in high-speed trains being impeded by slower local passenger and goods trains. To increase network capacity and efficiency, a major upgrade of the line was undertaken, including the construction of 10 new bridges. Working with Atkins, Laing O’Rourke, Volker Rail and Network Rail, a research team including the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC), the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) and the Laing O’Rourke (LOR) Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology at the University of Cambridge is collaborating with Network Rail to find a digital twin solution for effective condition monitoring. Two bridges in the scheme were built with a variety of different sensors to create a prototype that would enable the team to understand their condition, performance and utilisation. Both bridges were densely instrumented with fibre optic sensors during construction, enabling the creation of a digital twin of the bridges in use. The digital twin’s objective is to provide an effective condition monitoring tool for asset and route managers, using the sensor array to generate data and derive insights. Identifying challenges and solutions Meetings were held with key stakeholders including route managers and infrastructure engineers at Network Rail to learn the main challenges they face in maintaining their bridge stock, and to discover what information they would ideally like to obtain from an effective condition monitoring tool. The team liaised closely with the key stakeholders throughout to make sure that they were developing valuable insights. Through discussions with Network Rail about the team’s work on the two instrumented bridges in the Staffordshire Bridges project the following fundamental issues and expected outcomes were identified: A better understanding of asset risks: How can these be predicted? What precursors can be measured and detected? A better understanding of individual asset behaviour Development of sensor technology with a lifespan and maintenance requirement congruent with the assets that they are monitoring How structural capability be calculated instantly on the receipt of new data from the field Development of a holistic system for the overall health monitoring and prognosis of structures assets Realistic traffic population data in the UK railway network. (Can this be predicted with sufficient accuracy for freight control and monitoring purposes?) To address these issues, the team instrumented one of the bridges with the following additional sensors, which, combined, produce a rich dataset: Rangefinder sensors to obtain the axle locations. A humidity and temperature sensor to improve the accuracy of weight predictions against variations in ambient temperature. Accelerometers to calculate rotational restraints at the boundary conditions and therefore improve the accuracy of weight predictions. Cameras to categorise passing trains. Data from these sensors feeds into a finite element model structural analysis digital twin that interprets the data and provides a range of insights about the performance of the bridge and the actual strain it has been put under. Applying insights to other bridges Significantly, information from the instrumented bridge sites is relevant to adjacent bridges on the same line. Having one bridge instrumented on a specific route would enable Level 3 assessment for other structures in their portfolio and those of other asset owners, including retaining walls, culverts, and other associated structures. Just as the new bridges relieved a service bottleneck, digital twins can resolve procedural and resource bottlenecks by enabling insights to be drawn about the condition of other assets that weren’t instrumented. This is a valuable insight for those developing their own digital twins, because given that one bridge is instrumented it follows that where trains cannot have diverted course, then any other bridges along that same stretch of track will be undergoing the same strain from the same trains. This insight will enable teams implementing sensors to be able to efficiently implement a sensor network across their own assets. One of the outcomes of the Staffordshire Bridges project is development towards a holistic approach for the overall health monitoring and prognosis of bridge stocks. Such changes improve workforce safety by reducing the requirement for costly site visits while maintaining a healthy bridge network. You can read more from the Staffordshire Bridges project by visiting their research profile. This research forms part of the Centre for Digital Built Britain’s (CDBB) work at the University of Cambridge. It was enabled by the Construction Innovation Hub, of which CDBB is a core partner, and funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). To keep up with the Digital Twin Journeys project, check out the Digital Twin Journeys home page.
  16. Something (hopefully) of interest to share. A colleague at the University of Bristol, Dr Maria Pregnolato, was in Westminster this week as part of the Sense about Science event, talking to parliamentarians about how Digital Twins can predict when infrastructure fails. With others, Maria is exploring how DTs can increase the resilience of infrastructure. One project features a case study using the Clifton Suspension Bridge - more detail is here. This and other work is informing discussions with policymakers as it is seen as important to recognise that the value from DTs will be diminished if a number of Challenges to Implementation are not addressed, including: Compelling definitions and unclear processes Standardising protocols for data management Supporting engineering companies in the digital transition. It would be interesting to hear the thoughts of others.
  17. 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.
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    The Climate Resilience Demonstrator (CReDo) project from the National Digital Twin programme is holding a webinar to launch the project to a global audience in conjunction with the COP26 climate conference on 2nd November at 10:30-12. This webinar replaces the weekly Gemini Call, and the DT Hub community are encouraged to sign up, as well as inviting their wider networks to attend. The climate emergency is here now, and connected digital twins are an important part of achieving net zero and climate resilience. The CReDo team will present how the project meets this urgent need, and will premiere two exciting outputs – a short film and an interactive visualisation of how connected data across three infrastructure networks can provide better insights and lead to better resilience of the system-of-systems overall. Only if we come together to securely share data across sectors can we plan a smarter, greener, more resilient built environment. Book your spot today! Keep an eye on the DT Hub website for updates about the CReDo programme.
  19. Digital Twins are a way of getting better insights about the assets you commission, design, construct or manage, enhancing their performance and the outcomes for people who use them. But how do you get started creating one? What are the questions you need to ask yourself and potential challenges you’ll face? What lessons have been learned that may have slipped through the cracks of academic papers and published case studies? ‘Digital Twin Journeys’ will present lessons learned by our researchers in digital twin projects enabled by the Construction Innovation Hub. Culminating in a report for industry professionals who are involved with developing their first digital twins (March 2022), this series of outputs will highlight in various engaging formats many of the processes, decisions and insights our researchers have explored during their own digital twin journeys. Hear from the researchers themselves about how they have developed digital twin processes and tools, and the key themes that run through their projects. The outputs will be shared on the DT Hub blog, and will be collated on a dedicated page on the CDBB website. But first, we want to hear from you! Let us know in the comments what you still want to know about the process of developing digital twins.
  20. Humanner project looking for R&D Partners Digital Twin for co-creators of the innovative social solutions It is time to align people and environmental needs through new interconnected collaborative organizational models. Establish the bridge between the virtual and offline world as well as connect academics and communities to focus on social impact by providing the missing valuable functions of the social technology for the common good. We want everyone to be able to share and take joint action on everyday experiences and quality of life concerns; at a local, national and global level. Humans are keystone species in whatever environment they inhabit. - We have known as human beings that our planet is small, fragile and interconnected. Citizen Social Science in the age of the ALPHA GENERATION To do this by holistically connect the disconnected and isolated dots with each other and communities of GLOCAL society to use technologies and methods to collectively solve problems by holistic approach and Eco-System Design thinking to improve the.. Humanity’s relationship to its environment Humanity’s relationship to technology, and Humanity’s relationship to itself The vision of the Humanner is - ‘To progress our society, economy and environment through collective innovation.’ THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE LACK OF A COLLECTIVE DESIRE FOR A POSITIVE FUTURE BUT THE LACK OF A COLLECTIVE VEHICLE FOR POSITIVE ACTIONS. How Can Technology Accelerate Social Evolution? Digital collective intelligence We sorely lack more concerted support and action to assemble new combinations of tools that can help the society think and act at a pace as well as scale commensurate with the problems we face. We need an entirely different model of dealing with reality, a new frame of mind, a collective intelligence. This is an ability to come into communion with a group and act as a single unit of intelligence. Multi Layered Collaborative Semantic Social Network for collective social innovation ecosystem management Humanner's system work with a MULTI FUNCTIONAL holistic multisolving approach so that make the investment more impactful. Single investment of time and money - Defined as a way of solving multiple problems with multisolving approach brings together stakeholders from different sectors and disciplines to tackle public issues in a cost-efficient manner 1/ "Normal" days (GLOCAL) - Collective Social Innovation Network 2/ In Crisis situation can turn into - Collective Crisis Management System SOCIETY - ISO 37105 Descriptive Framework for Cities and Communities - provides a framework to describe the key entities within a city. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/citizen-social-science-age-alpha-generation-humanner-/
  21. hello as a masters student currently I'm doing my thesis related to digital twin, and I just proposed a cloud based tool that can control and monitor IoT device through cloud using BIM Model File. I've tested the tool and it is now working but my worry is which standard or ontology that states the relation between BIM and IoT device specially for Controlling? thanks in advance
  22. I have joined the Digital Twin Hub in hopes to tap into some of the leading minds in visioning the future of a digitally enabled, open and collaborative built environment. I see the Digital Twin agenda as a means to push people and projects to think about their data as part of larger systems, that interconnect and learn from each other. But I come to this forum as someone who cannot claim to be leading on digital detail or technicality: instead, I bring the social side. I see the potential of Digital Twins to help us understand our built environment better, and in turn make better future decisions to serve society better. I have seen this in other blog posts as "People First". So the purpose of this post is to introduce my current project - which aims to not only use technical data to influence better social decisions, but to interweave social at Better Places Social Value Toolkit Project: a Knowledge Transfer Partnership between Stantec and University of Reading The project proposes to develop an industry leading approach to spatially mapping social value and wider outcomes of strategic land development projects with the intention to influence value-based decision making as early as possible. We are now progressing the project and undertaking some market research in relation to social value. The two-year project (started Sept 2020) is being funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Innovate UK. The project will be conducted via a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Stantec and the University of Reading. We received very positive feedback on our links with industry, the market need, and our proposition to create a unique toolkit proposition utilizing data analytics to spatially calculate social value outcomes. The University is contributing academic and research expertise. We are excited to be working with and to introduce Flora Samuel, who is the author of the recently published Social Value Toolkit for Architecture. I (Cara Mullholland) will be delivering the project with us and joined Stantec in September following completion of a PhD in “Social Value Management in Infrastructure Megaprojects”. Our Stantec team is led by Jenny Hughes (Climate Change and Social Value Manager) and Keith Mitchell (Director, Community Development and Infrastructure with a history in transport planning). We hope that by linking in with those leading social value related work for digital projects in the built environment we are going to develop relationships that can lead to productive collaboration that increases the impact of all our work. We want to connect with the best practices of social value data collection, measuring and reporting to ensure our efforts can build together. We look forward to hearing from anyone who feels our work may align, or would be happy to talk to anyone who may want more information on what we are up to. Please see the press release here on our website for further information of the project award, and our current project page here.
  23. Guest

    AMEST 2020

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    The 4th IFAC AMEST’20 Workshop will bring together experts from academia and industry to discuss the latest advances in digital technologies and their impact on reliability, maintenance and asset management. The workshop will cover a broad range of research and application topics exploring the role of data-driven maintenance and asset management within the domains of manufacturing and infrastructure. Ajith Parlikad, who works on digital twins for CDBB and CSIC, is co-organising the AMEST conference in Cambridge in Sept 2020. He will be doing a special session on "Digital Twins for Infrastructure" focussed on use of digital twins through life, including asset management and maintenance. For earlybird tickets visit: https://onlinesales.admin.cam.ac.uk/conferences-and-events/department-of-engineering/amest/amest-2020
  24. Alexandra Robasto

    Digital Twins: The Next Phase of the AI Revolution?

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    The Turing Talk: Part of the IET EngTalk Series and BCS Lecture Series The idea of an Intelligent Digital Avatar conjures up many images from a complete virtual world that one can safely define, develop and play in to rogue robots running amok and destroying mankind. The reality is much less dramatic but no less far reaching and exciting. This year’s Turing Talk will be delivered by Mark Girolami; an academic statistician and the Sir Kirby Laing Professorship of Civil Engineering at the University of Cambridge. Mark will discuss Digital Twins and chart their history to present day technological capability, looking at some of the advances being made and the opportunities along with the open challenges faced to realise the potential of Digital Twins. Link to the event
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