Digital Twin- Everything You Need to Know

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Why a Digital Twin?

Digitization affects our whole life and thus also almost every industry. Whether in large factories or the everyday lives of individuals, it occurs in a wide variety of forms. Digitization makes it possible to create and use the digital twin in the first place. With 3D surveying, it is possible to record and digitally map properties in great detail, and with the help of IoT (Internet of Things) sensors, the live status of this property can be viewed. All this is only possible thanks to the technical achievements of recent years. A digital twin not only offers you transparency but can also bring you many other advantages. On this page, you will find everything about the digital twin. If you still have questions, we will of course be at your side and look forward to your email or call.

What is a Digital Twin?

Finding a general definition for the term “digital twin” is difficult from various definitions, as an all-encompassing definition is missing. However, it is important to know and understand this terminology. In principle, a digital twin can be defined as a virtual image of a real object. This consists of a lot of data, algorithms, and sensors. These then ensure that the data can be compared with the real world in real-time. To create a virtual image, three elements are required: an object that is to be mapped, a digital twin in the virtual space, and sensors that form the connection between the real object and the digital twin. The goal of the digital twin is to create a single source of truth (SSOT). A single source of truth that applies equally to all stakeholders. You can see here which problems can be solved with the help of a digital twin.

Questions like these may sound familiar to you. They often involve the interaction of different areas of a company. The excessively long communication path is therefore a hurdle. A digital twin can intervene here and form a unified platform for the community.

Divided into three important components, a digital twin is as follows:

  • the virtual image
  • the networking of information sources
  • the extension to an IoT system

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What does a Digital Twin consist of?

“Pictures say more than a thousand words!”
A digital twin contains three components and the first is the virtual image of a real existing object. This real object is then digitized using 3D Surveying. The captured 3D models are then mapped in platform-independent systems. In this sense, platform-independent means that it does not matter from which end device (cell phone, laptop, tablet, etc.) you want to access the digital twin.

Varied information about the real object can be visually displayed and viewed. This facilitates both the search for relevant data and information processing. External information that was not recorded with 3D surveying can be added with Points of Interests (PoIs) and integrated into the model. A digital twin thus offers you an efficient information platform for your buildings and can be used by everyone involved in the project.

“Information is good. Networked information is better!”
To use and manage buildings efficiently, a lot of information is created and used. Different stakeholders involved in different phases of the building use different systems (such as CAFM, SAP, CAD, or PLM systems) and thus generate important data of the building. This immense amount of different information and data can quickly make things complicated. A Digital Twin can help!

The first component of the Digital Twin is the virtual image. In this virtual image, all the different systems and their data can be compressed. So all information is combined in one object and a common platform is created from different systems. This networks all existing sources of information.

This networking of information sources can also be developed further. The networking between the in-real and virtual worlds is called the Internet of Things (IoT). This enables people to interact with electronic objects and systems. With the help of sensors on objects within an object, information is recorded as data in real-time and attached to the digital twin. In the example of buildings, data on temperature, movement, and humidity can be recorded. A digital twin uses IoT sensors to create a live model that shows the current state of the building. This leads to significant increases in efficiency and project management.

Digital Twin - Why is it Important for Your Company?

The Digital Twin is already the talk of the town, but for many people, the benefits are often not immediately apparent. In 7 minutes, we explain the most important advantages that can be used in every company.

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Digital Twin vs. 3D Model

As explained in the previous definition, a digital twin is a virtual representation of a real object. Due to the visual component of a three-dimensional building, a digital twin is often equated with a 3D model. To a certain extent, of course, there are some similarities as they represent objects in three dimensions. The big and decisive difference, however, is that a digital twin is networked with the real building and thus virtually reflects the actual state of it. This distinguishes the digital twin from a simple CAD model or a 3D model. However, a Digital Twin can still be created from this with the help of sensors and special measurements. In addition, the 3D model of the digital twin can also be extended by several dimensions, for example, if costs and deadlines are also calculated.

Digital Twin - Why is it Important for Your Business?

Faster Survey

The otherwise time-consuming survey of the actual building area using 2D plans is a thing of the past. Using the latest technologies, we can map over 50,000m² in one day.

Precise Evaluation

Prevent inaccuracies and outdated data. The digital twin is the actual image of your building and supports you in the future with seamless documentation.

Improved Communication

With the web-based view of your buildings, you minimize the number of real visits and have all information at a glance. This makes meetings even more efficient.

Easy Organization

End-to-end connectivity enables error-free arrangements. With uniform networking of the systems used, decision-makers can organize and coordinate better.

Individual Integration

End-to-end connectivity enables error-free coordination. With uniform networking of the systems used, decision-makers can organize and coordinate better.

Efficient Planning

Optimize relevant core processes and reduce costs. Use consistent documentation to make future-oriented decisions with the help of benchmarking.

How is a Digital Twin Created?

In a non-binding initial meeting, you talk about your ideas and wishes for your company. It should be clear what you want to use the digital twin for because this affects the selection of our measuring devices. In the prerequisites, you can read what the optimal preparation for the Digital Twin represents. It is advisable to digitize the processes step by step. A Digital Twin should first be implemented for smaller processes and later be extended to the larger processes. This also makes it easier for employees to get started with the new working method.
To create a digital twin, the object of choice must first be scanned. This is done by our Mapping & Scanning department. They come with a wide variety of tools and measuring devices and start measuring the object. With the M6 Trolley, for example, it is possible to create a point cloud with a laser scanner and simultaneously, record 360-degree images of the building. You can find a technology overview of 3D surveying here. This makes it so easy to store the imagery on the point cloud. The exterior and terrain that borders your property can also be captured with drones and other measuring devices and attached to your digital twin.

Digital Twin - What are the Requirements?

The most important thing when creating a digital twin is motivation. Why do you need it and what do you expect from it? It is crucial to determine this beforehand, as the production of the Digital Twin will be guided by this. The appropriate tools are selected based on this information. Once the motivation is defined and passed on to us, the first step is done.

In short, effective goal setting is the first step towards the Digital Twin. So make sure that your goal is not too superficial, but S.M.A.R.T.

Specific

The formulation of your goals should be very clear and simple. This will create a common understanding within your team.

Measurable

You should be able to measure your success! Be sure you have an appropriate metric to measure the success of your goal.

Achievable

Project stakeholders play an important role in your success. You will only create acceptance if your team considers the goal to be achievable.

Realistic

Realistic goals are about projects and outcomes that you have an impact on! If not, your goal is not realistic enough.

Time-Bound

Try to set a realistic deadline for achieving your goal. However, you should keep certain flexibility.

Apart from that, you should be able to adapt flexibly to digitization in your company. Agile planning plays a decisive role here. We, therefore, advise you to use planning methods that increase efficiency, such as “Scrum”. One of the next prerequisites is process analysis. Here you can find out which existing processes need to be optimized or removed.

Access to the property is, of course, one of the other requirements. We need to get into your building with our measuring instruments to measure it. In addition to the access to the building, it should ideally be empty. Ideally, there should be no employees on-site so that the scan can be carried out quickly and cleanly. After all, a finished digital twin should not depict any employees. Incidentally, no special device is required to see the final result. A digital twin can easily be viewed on any device on the desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

How does a Digital Twin Work?

The Digital Twin is very easy to use. All you need is access to the cloud or the server on which it is stored. Then all scanned premises can be viewed and walked through. In addition, several features can be included and made recognizable. For example, it is possible to request route planning from point A to point B. The viewer then shows the route, making it easy to get to the destination. In addition, distances can also be measured in the viewer; horizontally as well as vertically. If you want to try it out, you are welcome to visit our offices.

A Digital Twin in the
Digital Factory

A Digital Twin brings digitization forward. Factories and other properties can use the Digital Twin to reduce information losses. Because these information losses also bring with them cost and communication losses; the term “digital factory” aptly sums this up. Apart from that, thanks to the Digital Twin, companies also benefit from process optimization and easier maintenance of their properties. For repairs and maintenance work in huge halls, it is very important to know the exact location of the object to be repaired. This saves time and money, as maintenance can be carried out more quickly. In addition, those responsible for the repairs can see directly which tools they have to bring with them and therefore unnecessary appointments can be avoided, in which it is only a question of how the further repair process is.
digital factory robotik mitarbeiter

Digital Twin and its Areas of Application

A digital twin is mostly associated with large industrial halls in the context of Industry 4.0. This is correct. A digital twin helps to make the work processes of a factory more efficient and to automate them as far as possible. A digital twin is therefore often at home in large properties. Apart from that, a digital twin can also serve its purpose in other properties and ensure more efficient and transparent work. A digital twin can also be used very well in hospitals or schools. Many things can be automated in such institutions as well. Office buildings are another application. In addition, a digital twin can be used for newly planned buildings as well as for existing buildings.

Digital Twin and Climate Protection

Just like digitization, climate change has a major impact on our society today. However, digitization can contribute in many ways to reduce the serious consequences of climate change. The construction and real estate industry has its share of emissions that are released into the atmosphere. Due to miscalculations and misunderstandings, many mistakes are made in planning, which can also affect the operational phase of a building. With the help of the Digital Twin, it is easy to view and improve the energy efficiency of your building. This also supports climate protection. Furthermore, with the Digital Twin, it is possible to share the virtual premises with other stakeholders. The Polarstern, a huge research vessel in the Arctic, has created a Digital Twin of the ship with DiConneX. This saved a lot of travel costs (money and CO2 emissions). The researchers from all over the world were able to measure their assigned cabins online and thus, knew which equipment they could take on board.

Digital Twin: An Outlook

It is difficult to determine the future of the digital twin. However, there are some projections as to how the market will develop in the following years. Due to the digital transformation or the digital revolution, as it is also called, almost all areas of our lives today are being digitized. We are sure that a Digital Twin will have an excellent future. The digitization of buildings will increase due to the rural exodus and simultaneous urbanization. This is because more and more living space will be needed in the future, mainly due to the increasing population as well as the rising standard of living.

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