How can the digital drive physical interventions?
Quite simply, though insight gained from information.
For example, I have a Nest Thermostat in my living room. It is a physical device that inputs sensor information into a digital twin of my home’s thermal conditions. Through the use of IFTTT, a free web-service, I have connected that same information to a Twitter account that will notify me when my living room temperature reaches above 25°.
Following this insight, I can decide on whether I should undertake an intervention such as opening a window or, if a trend is seen, install some Brise Soleil (#Fancy). Without needing user input, I am receiving notifications from my digital twin about my physical asset.
Does the digital need to duplicate the physical?
No, the digital twin only needs to represent the physical asset relevant to the decisions you want to inform. A simple decision (do I need to open the window?) needs very little information, a more complex decision (do I need to upgrade the local utility infrastructure to support an increased demand?) needs a lot of information. The frequency, detail and degree of information will depend on the decisions being made. For example, internal temperature information might need to be captured frequently (once per minute?), but geospatial information in relation to building settlement is unlikely needed as frequently (once per month?). You may have also noticed that I haven’t mentioned geometric (3D) models at all. Depending on the type of information you need, a digital twin may not need geometric models and will likely look very different when compared to the physical asset.
If you want to find out more, the UK’s Digital Framework Task Group (DFTG) is currently undertaking a lot of research into the concept of digital twins and how they can fully support decision making within the built environment. They have already outlined the key concepts within the Gemini Principles as well as a Roadmap of the work they plan to undertake, both of which are well worth a look!
Dan Rossiter, Sector Lead at BSI
This text was originally published at www.BIMblog.house