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A Flexible Build Environment with Digital Twins

By Construction Tech Review | Monday, May 20, 2019

FREMONT, CA: A digital twin is a virtual construct of physical assets, people, processes, or systems. It creates an interface that bridges the gap between physical and digital world entities. While technologies exist since 2002, the introduction of the internet of things (IoT) has made its implementation cost-effective.  Digital Twins enable the project managers to answer difficult questions and understand all the challenges before the actual implementation.

 A Digital twin has a wide range of applications. Build management system, for instance, uses twins to hold build information modeling (BIM) data along with creating an automation system and sensor networks to bring the whole model at a place.

Modeling a Twin

Ideally, a digital twin is modeled long before the construction begins. An architect alters the building plans throughout the planning stages. The twin updates and auto computes the new parameters. As a result, it can assess a building’s physical features such as a building’s airflow dynamics or its effect on the local traffic in the area. Unlike the physical structure, its digital replica can be changed numerous times, which enables the architect to make a better decision.

Impact of Digital Twins

A digital twin improves the system integrations and interactions. And these improvements result in a better assessment involved in construction. Factors such as security risks, efficiency across the interacting sub-systems and, the effect of integration processes as the construction advances are better assessed with the help of digital twins. Moreover, technologies like AI and IoT provides the digital twins with relevant data generated from similar projects and better connectivity with other construction devices. The direct implication is cost-cutting and a better understanding of the on-going construction.

Data Collection

Ideally, the data for digital twins must come from various sources such as wireless sensor networks, embedded sensors, and other cloud services. This variety enhances the intelligence factor and laces the twins with the experience that is crucial for a high-budget construction project.

Concerns

Lack of data standards is a significant challenge that bugs the use of digital twins. Other issues like Cybersecurity and overhead of having a twin also hinder the widespread adoption of these digital replicators. While most of the digital twins are proactively build for cyber attacks, an awareness of the requirements and approaching the appropriate tech provider allows a business to leverage this technology.

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