BIM Academy research driving the Digital Twin Framework development

by Dean Douglas | June 10, 2022 |  4 min read

BIM Academy research driving the Digital Twin Framework development
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At BIM Academy, we proactively collaborate with industry, government and academia partners in the development and use of the Digital Twin.

Digital Twin is a digital representation of a physical asset: it can be created in parallel to its physical counterpart and spans all stages of a built asset’s lifecycle.

The introduction of the Digital Twin to the construction industry represents a monumental shift in the understanding of our built assets, posing innumerable application possibilities throughout the built environment, and unlocking even greater insights into how we design, build, maintain, operate and make provisions of our building and infrastructure assets.

We have over a decade of experience in information management and the digital transformation of the built environment. We draw on this diverse portfolio of projects, spanning numerous sectors –from education, healthcare, manufacturing, oil and gas, defence and many more – in the application of Digital Twin for both industry and academia. In our recently released Digital Excellence in Digital Twin and Asset Management paper, you can find out more about the projects we have delivered and their outcomes.

Digital Twin Research

Since 2019, we have been conducting our own PhD research project in the development of a standardised framework for the Digital Twin in conjunction with Northumbria University.

It is the culmination of our own best practice and industry experience with our academic research efforts that allows BIM Academy to inform clients from a point of not only current best practise, but also from a point of understanding of future trends and developments occurring within the Digital Twin space.

The research set out to create a standardised framework for developing and implementing Digital Twin, with the framework offering the user insights and understanding into the multifaceted and often complex journey towards Digital Twin realisation.

The framework that we have developed provides four core areas of development: Digital Twin Purpose, People, Technology and Process.

Digital Twin Purpose
The BIM Academy Digital Twin Purpose is to empower our clients to navigate and comprehend how they can define their Digital Twin requirements in a manner that enables them to fully realise its value. This element of our framework highlights key considerations, such as Digital Twin use cases, how the Digital Twin will integrate into the wider digital eco-system, its own perceived benefits and defining its own scope and scale – all of which aid in the building of Digital Twin project requirements.

As with any project, understanding how the workforce is affected is instrumental, and Digital Twin development is no different. Within our framework we investigate the relationship that different roles have with the Digital Twin in their day-to-day working and how the introduction may require them to develop new skills and competencies.

Digital Twin is a collection of a multitude of interlinking and interrelated processes that ultimately lead to the creation and integration of a Digital Twin into an organisation’s everyday working. To this end, we have sought to plot some of the key recurring processes that relate to areas such as data processing, user interaction, business process, management, organisational considerations and integration into the process.

There is such a wide array of technologies and software available advertising capabilities that do just about anything we need. But it is important to clearly understand the role that any technology or software has in enabling a Digital Twin, and how it will interact with a wider system to meet the desired benefits of the Digital Twin. We have tried and tested many software programs, and within the framework we offer recommendations on which are most effective given project requirements and need.

The framework provides a set of guidelines that enable us to steer our clients through their own Digital Twin journey, helping them to realise the value of Digital Twin development and integration, furnishing them with the understanding they require to maximise the benefits felt, and providing guidance through the processes of creating their own fit-for-purpose Digital Twin.

To understand more about the BIM Academy Digital Twin framework and the findings of our PhD Research, contact Dean Douglas at [email protected].