The idea of a digital twin isn’t new, in fact, NASA began using full-scale virtual mock-ups of space capsules in the 1970s to forecast the performance of machines in outer space. As the Internet of Things (IoT) gains traction though, digital twin technology is now finally affordable to a wider and more diverse user.

Digital twins are virtual versions of a real object, such as a building or network of buildings, a product, or even a city. A January 2019 article, published by research giant Gartner, noted that 24% of organizations that have either Internet of Things solutions in production or IoT projects already in progress are already using digital twins. The article notes that another 42% plan to use twins within the next three years.

A June 8, 2020 press release from Valuates, a company that provides market insights, says the global electrical digital twin market size was USD $2.69 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD $9.35 billion by the end of 2026. This growth is due to major players now delivering goods and solutions to help build the digital twin that forms a central part of the power utilities digital transformation.

The article notes that “An electrical digital twin allows utilities to optimize grid performance with a single truth source for data, allowing for automated data exchange between internal and external systems. The electrical digital twin unifies protection data which is traditionally contained in separate systems and allows for automated synchronization with field data. These advantages are expected to increase the digital twin market size.”

Digital Twin For Construction

For owners and property developers, a digital twin can unlock untapped opportunities across the lifecycle of any physical asset. The key is thinking big.

This video from Microsoft highlights the opportunities:

Twinning is more than just a simulation that assists users in understanding what’s happening in real-time. It’s predictive, able to test hypothetical scenarios before putting any money into a new project. Lessons learned can be applied, reducing risk and increasing return on investment.

A digital twin creates other powerful opportunities, including:

  • Enhancing planning, production, and/or operation and maintenance activities.
  • Making better decisions because they are driven by data.
  • Avoiding needless costs, delays, material waste, and partner disagreements.
  • Expanding the functional life span of the asset.

On November 10th and 11th, CURT’s Technology and Productivity Committee will be hosting a virtual Summit that will feature experts from Microsoft and Duke Energy, who will discuss embracing the “Golden Thread of the Digital Twin.” The “golden thread,” when it comes to construction, refers to having an accurate and up-to-date record of building data that is live, and held digitally; something which is not yet standard practice for every single project.

A great resource from Microsoft is the White Paper, The Promise of a digital twin strategy: Best practices for designers and manufacturers of products and industrial equipment. The paper asks the question, “What would it mean to your organization if you could mitigate equipment failure, streamline your factory operations and processes, increase operational efficiency, and perform enhanced product development?” A digital twin strategy will help you achieve all of these outcomes.

To register for the virtual Summit, visit CURT’s event page. The cost is $99, and the topics will include how technology is driving change, and how owners are embracing technology to drive productivity. Both days will include opportunities to learn, discuss, and pose questions to the experts, who represent companies such as Owen’s Corning, Duke Energy, and Microsoft. Specific themes that will be explored under the overarching technology umbrella include the pandemic, hurricanes, and earthquakes; digital twin and the golden thread; and perspectives from the owner companies regarding their digital journeys.

Don’t Be Late To This Game

A Forbes article from 2018 argued Why Digital Twins Should be the CEO’s Best Friend. The author, Dan Woods, makes a powerful case for why digital twins will reduce your risk of failure and increase your probability of success. Construction leaders are continually striving for better results, and now, they don’t have to guess: “With digital twins, CEOs don’t have to just wave a magic wand — it’s a process of gradually expanding the information at your disposal and using more and more data to understand how digital twins pertain to the specific business. This means that companies can walk before they run, focusing on one area or class of equipment and then building out more twins and more mature twins over time. CEOs can thus make data-based decisions about what techniques in the company are most important to have twins for and the best places to put twins in place.”

Your opportunity to learn more is quickly approaching! Register for the Technology and Productivity Summit today to join your peers in a two-day event that is sure to leave you excited about the possibilities digital twin technology is unlocking.

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