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Glodon Co., Ltd.

Glodon Co., Ltd.

Nov 25.2022

5 Takeaways on Revolutionising Smart Buildings with Digital Twins

As buildings and the next generation of IoT technologies continuously evolve, increasing amounts of information and data are retrieved from sensors and management systems. To better understand the internal operation of the building, it is necessary to establish a system platform to monitor the internal and external components in real-time. Hence the concept of digital twins, which is a virtual morphologic reflection of a physical building that can analyse IoT data collected from various sensors in real-time. Artificial intelligence and machine learning software would be used to process and analyse this information to make efficient decisions about energy, occupancy, maintenance, and security for stakeholders.

In the Proptech - Revolutionising Smart Buildings with Digital Twins panel session during the RICS Smart Buildings Conference 2022, co-organised with REDAS and Glodon. Participants took a deeper look into the connection between smart buildings and digital twins and the benefit for decision-making as well as the urban environment.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the panel. 

How does a Smart Building Related to Digital Twin or Smart City Masterplan?

Smart buildings can save resources and improve energy efficiency while reducing the environmental pollution. Information can be collected with all types of sensors across the building. All data is then part into digital twins and modelled in the 3D to optimise energy consumption and maintenance workflow. Air conditions can be monitored based on real-time information, and maintenance personnel can only be sent when needed. The digital twin is constantly evolving, so it's good to start with one building and expand to a more extensive system with more sensors deployed and stakeholders involved.

For property owners who outsource property management and only want an overall summary of operation information, digital twin helps get all the information and enables a comprehensive dashboard on things like the work performance of the property manager and incidents happening on the premise.

How Can We Collect Accurate Data from Various Devices and Make the Most of It?

Connecting to validated sensors and verifying information at its source can help avoid the problem of 'rubbish in and rubbish out. Historical data can also help verify the data for anything abnormal and ensure the data quality with the help of AI. And human intelligence of industry experts can also be encoded into the algorithm.

With forecast information, the digital twin can also facilitate predictive dynamic adjustment. For example, with weather forecast information, the temperature in the facility can be adjusted accordingly in advance. It also gives actionable insights for maintenance work based on the collected information.

How Could Digital Twin Probably Solve the Problem of City's Resilience?

Digital twins can help with the city's resilience. But it is certainly not the only factor that will make cities resilient. Cities are resilient when they can promote sustainable development, improve well-being and create opportunities for inclusive growth. And it is also an environment that can anticipate, predict, and respond to dangers. The dangers can come from economic dangers, institutional dangers, and natural events.

Digital twins can be applied at various stages in an environment's or city's life cycle. Within the cities, there is infrastructure – buildings, roads, and bridges. Digital twins can be used upstream for planners or designers to test the what-if scenario. They can also be used when considering reducing errors and biases, and this is particularly important in the construction and commissioning of the infrastructure. And downstream, digital twins can be used for calibration purposes, such as condition monitoring and preventive operation optimisation.

Digital twins can be used if they are accurate. Accuracy depends on having a great sensing ability to collect and process what is happening to assets and, at a city level, a network of assets. So it's a system on a system for which people are able to monitor and govern the factors that are important to cities' resilience. 

How to Handle the Challenge of CIM Modelling with Aligned Benchmark and Unify standards?

Data is part of the crucial information needed to make the best out of it to support the built environment life cycle or to operate the city in the future better. But the challenge is that data or possible city models are always collected in a not standardised or harmonised manner. It's always a problem when people work on a multi-discipline, cross-discipline kind of project that data are created in a very different way in terms of how it is restored and restructured. Although people can now better handle unstructured data with AI, the journey can be made easier with standardisation and harmonisation at the beginning of the project.

In a situation where there are already several standards for different buildups, data can be harmonised by grabbing common things out to harmonise how people create the information. And instead of one organisation taking all the responsibilities on its shoulder, the most important thing is the joint effort with all stakeholders to find common ground.

What Are the Values of Digital Twins and What Can They Contribute to Value-added Assets?

The value of digital twins can be condition monitoring, performance monitoring, or the ability to predict and then optimise. The key is the value has to be translated to the bottom line or top line that is very clear to clients and customers.

For businesses, it is crucial to articulate the actual value and purpose of digital twins to the customer and clients so that they are willing to make the upfront investments required to capture the future return on investments that digital twins claim. One of the major barriers to adopting digital twins is the cost considerations of developers and real estate companies. A good approach can be pilot projects with customers to demonstrate the value of digital twins.


Sebastian Tang, IBD Director Research and Intelligence, Glodon


Jonathan Tan, Managing Director, UnaBiz 

Mun Lock Kum, Deputy Managing Director, Envision Digital

Raj Thampuran, Managing Director, Technology and Research, Group R&D, Surbana Jurong

Thomson Lai, Asia Digital Leader, AECOM

Contact us for more information about the panel and the RICS Smart Buildings Conference.