Construction technology is heating up, as the labor market and economy are cooling down. In this blog series, we have already looked at how 5G and AI (artificial intelligence) are directly impacting construction, with very specific examples. Today let’s narrow in on digital twins.
Of course, we can’t really talk about digital twins without first talking a bit about BIM (building information modeling), which we have been covering here at Constructech for more than two decades. As we have always said, BIM is a process, which is enabled by technologies to plan, design, and construct homes and buildings.
At a very high level, a digital twin is a digital representation of a physical asset, process, or system. Certainly, there can be many different types of digital twins, such as digital representations of factories and assembly lines, digital representations of operating networks, digital representations of supply network, and even digital representations of financial profitability and risk.
One clear example for construction is a piece of infrastructure. Think a bridge. A digital twin can exist that is a living, breathing replica of that infrastructure asset. The benefit here is it can help projects by providing the data needed for site logistics, planning, estimating, and more. Centralizing data allows users to communicate more effectively, make better decisions, and drive productivity.
Like AI, this market is projected for some pretty significant growth. Grand View Research suggests the global digital twin market size was valued at $7.48 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow roughly 39.1% to 2030. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, many nations are expected to implement digital twin technology as a part of their economic reform activities. This could help build predictive models and determine the probability of success of physical prototypes before they are rolled out.
Many companies are deploying digital twin solutions to optimize operational processes. Cloud companies such as Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud are focusing on launching various cloud-based digital twin solutions. Additionally, Bentley Systems is making big moves with the digital twin in construction.
Bentley Systems’ iTwin platform is an open cloud platform to enable digital twin applications across the infrastructure lifecycle. Applications built on the iTwin Platform can enable users to visualize and track changes, including real-world conditions from IoT connected devices, such as sensors and drones.
In May, REscan announced the REscan viewer—which is a spatial communication tool that provides a fully immersive site visit and revisit experience from a distance for property professionals—is powered by the Bentley iTwin platform. This technology digitizes and annotates large indoor spaces from a human point of view and its 3D digital copies provide remote access to distance locations, enhance professional workflows and facilitate machine understanding of the world.
With the tool, property professionals can check projects in the design and as-built phases on a mobile device, share 3D walkable environments with colleagues, and discover, measure, and annotate built and CAD spaces.
While digital twin is a newer, emerging technology in construction, there are a lot of ways it can help build homes and cities of the future. What are you most interested in using digital twin for in the future?
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