Decoding Digital Twin Jargon! 🤯 Part 3: IoT, VR & More

Feb 26, 2024

You made it! Welcome to part 3!

The world of digital twins and related technologies can feel like a language all its own. Fear not! This final instalment (for now) of our “Decoding Digital Twin Jargon” series unravels the mysteries of commonly encountered terms that empower positive transformations for our buildings and cities.


Unlocking the potential of digital twins:

We’ve already delved into the core concepts of digital twins and explored the world of Visual Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in previous instalments. Now, let’s unlock the potential of these technologies by understanding the supporting tools and concepts:

Building the Ecosystem:

  • 360 and 3D Modelling: This is the magic behind creating digital replicas of real-world objects. Imagine using a computer program to sculpt and shape objects into visual walkthroughs or three dimensions, just like moulding clay in your hands. This technology plays a crucial role in digital twins, allowing for the creation of highly detailed and accurate representations of physical assets and enabling you to see the space from anywhere.
  • Application Programming Interface (API): Imagine a digital translator. APIs enable different software applications to communicate seamlessly, allowing data to flow freely. This empowers, for instance, maintenance software to share crucial information with energy monitoring software, fostering efficient and data-driven building management.
  • Building Information Modelling (BIM): This is your building’s digital blueprint on steroids. BIM creates a 3D model of a building enriched with detailed data about its components and systems, facilitating collaboration and optimisation throughout the construction lifecycle, from design and visualisation to cost estimation, scheduling, and maintenance.
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or Drone: These are essentially flying robots! Controlled remotely or following pre-programmed instructions, drones can be equipped with cameras and sensors to perform tasks like aerial photography, mapping, and even deliveries. They’re particularly useful for inspecting large areas or capturing data in hard-to-reach places.

Simulating and Optimising:

  • Building Performance Simulation: Think of it as a virtual test drive for your building. This technology allows architects and engineers to assess a building’s future performance under various conditions, helping to optimise factors like heating, cooling, lighting, and overall energy consumption, leading to more sustainable and cost-effective structures.
  • Cloud Computing: Rent your virtual workspace! Cloud computing provides access to computer resources and services over the internet, eliminating the need for physical hardware and software management. This cost-effective solution offers data storage, software applications, and computing power for tasks like data processing and analysis, making building management more accessible and efficient.

Streamlining Processes:

  • Dynamo and Revit: These are the digital wizards of the architectural and engineering world. They empower professionals to create custom workflows and automate tasks within BIM, akin to building visual “recipes” that streamline complex operations and enhance efficiency in design and modelling projects.
  • Energy Management System (EMS): This software solution is your building’s energy watchdog, monitoring, controlling, and optimising energy usage. This translates to reduced consumption, improved efficiency, and lower energy costs for building owners and occupants.

Beyond Buildings into the compliance that governs them:

  • Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG): This framework measures a company’s impact on the environment, society, and governance practices. Digital twins play a crucial role in monitoring ESG commitments and actions, aiding organisations in demonstrating their dedication to sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical leadership.

Keeping Track and Staying Safe:

  • Golden Thread (or Digital Thread): The continuous flow of data and information throughout the lifecycle of a physical asset, from design and construction to operation and maintenance.  This concept ensures transparency, accountability, and safety throughout a building’s life cycle. It involves meticulously collecting, documenting, and managing information about a building’s design, construction, and ongoing maintenance, guaranteeing easy access to critical details and enhancing overall safety and responsiveness.
  • Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR): Imagine a 3D laser scanner creating detailed maps of the world. LiDAR utilises lasers to measure distances and create accurate 3D models of environments, proving invaluable for surveying, monitoring, and navigation tasks in various applications.

The Power of Smart Machines:

  • Machine Learning (ML): This technology empowers computers to learn from data, enabling them to recognize patterns, make predictions, and improve their performance over time. This translates to tasks once solely performed by humans, such as image recognition, text understanding, and even making predictions, allowing our devices to become increasingly intelligent and capable.
  • Deep Learning (DL): A subfield of ML, DL mimics the way the human brain learns, training artificial neural networks to perform tasks and make predictions. It excels in areas like image recognition, speech understanding, and decision-making, making it a valuable tool for various applications.
  • IoT / Sensor Technology: These are like the tiny spies of the digital world, constantly collecting data about their surroundings. Temperature, pressure, motion, light – you name it, sensors can measure it! This data is then converted into electrical signals and sent for analysis, enabling automation, monitoring, and control in various applications, we can even set up alerts and alarms to make you more proactive or prevent incidents before they happen.

Predictive and Remote Management:

  • Predictive Maintenance: No more waiting for breakdowns! Predictive maintenance leverages data and technology to anticipate when equipment might malfunction, allowing proactive repairs and saving time and money. Think of it as a crystal ball for your machines, giving you a heads-up before they cause problems.
  • Remote Monitoring: Keep an eye on things from afar! Remote monitoring allows individuals and organisations to observe, track, and manage equipment, systems, or processes from a distance using the digital twin technology. This enables real-time data collection, information gathering and management without physically being present
  • Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID): Imagine a high-tech barcode that uses radio waves instead of lines. That’s essentially RFID! Tiny tags containing unique IDs are attached to objects or embedded in products. When scanned by a reader, these tags transmit data, allowing you to track inventory, manage assets, and even control access in buildings.

Immersive Experiences:

  • Augmented Reality (AR): Think of it as “X-Ray vision” for technicians. AR superimposes digital information onto the real world, allowing, for instance, maintenance engineers to see real-time instructions or animated diagrams overlaid on physical machinery, aiding in quicker and more efficient task completion.
  • Roomscale VR: Imagine stepping into a room where the walls, floor, and even the ceiling transform into a digital world. You and your team can explore this immersive environment together, collaborating and interacting with virtual objects – all without needing individual headsets. This revolutionises collaborative work, training simulations, and even remote management, allowing groups of people to experience the digital twin of your asset together in a shared physical space in your office. 
  • Spatial Computing: Think of it as giving your computer a sense of place. This technology combines digital information with the physical world, allowing computers to “see” and understand their surroundings.
  • Virtual Reality (VR): Imagine stepping into a simulated world. VR creates a computer-generated environment that users can explore and interact with as if they were physically present. By wearing a headset you can immerse yourself in a 3D world that responds to your movements, offering potential applications for training, design simulations, and even leisure activities.


Unlocking the Power of Digital Twins (Without the Jargon!)

So now we know that digital twins are like smart mirrors for the real world, reflecting the status and behaviour of physical buildings and cities and that by constantly feeding data into this digital twin, we unlock a treasure trove of possibilities:

  • Make better decisions, faster: Get real-time and historical insights to make informed choices about design, operation, and maintenance.
  • Boost efficiency and save money: Optimise processes, identify potential problems before they happen, and predict equipment failures, leading to cost savings and smoother operations.
  • Team up seamlessly: Everyone involved can access the same information in a shared digital space, fostering collaboration and clear communication.
  • Drive innovation and sustainability: Test new ideas and scenarios in the virtual world before implementing them physically, and optimise energy consumption for a greener future.

Still confused?  Don’t worry about the technical details! We take care of the complex stuff behind the scenes. All you need to do is experience the benefits firsthand and see how digital twins can help you save up to 46% within your first year.  

So, ditch the jargon and embrace the future! Let’s unlock the power of digital twins together. Get in touch – [email protected]