CATEGORY: Digital Twin

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Why Digital Twin is Important for Architects, Engineers and Construction?

Project workflows in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry are deeply fragmented. Gaps in handoffs between planning, design, building, and operations lead to the loss of valuable data. Data loss leads to revenue loss. According to McKinsey in 2016, large projects are up to 80% over budget on average.

How digital twin can help today’s AEC challenges

Digital twin isn’t the latest shiny object. It is solving some major challenges from both the design and owner sides of the equation. 2D plans and specifications remain the industry-standard deliverable for construction documents. However, owners often also ask for BIM (Building Information Modeling) without any means to articulate what they actually need or how they can use it. The typical result? Project teams spend countless, unbillable hours updating models. And, at the end of the day, these models aren’t even useful to the owner because data is trapped in files.

This analog, unclassified, and disconnected data is often an insurmountable challenge for owners and operators to monitor, manage, and fine-tune their assets. They are unable to realize the benefits of smart buildings and end up with siloed data and systems, inaccurate information, and a lack of transparency and important insights.

Now, a digital twin can finally solve this handover problem with all the data and insights at the owner and operator’s fingertips. New innovations are making this easier than ever before, such as Autodesk Tandem which brings project data together from its many sources, formats, and phases to create a data-rich digital hub that tracks asset data from design through operations.


Here are three ways digital twin is poised to benefit project delivery

Design & Construction

Project teams spend countless unbillable hours updating models. Digital twin solutions such as Autodesk Tandem bring project data together from its many sources, formats, and phases to create a data-rich digital hub that tracks asset data from design through operations. The result is a single-pane view of all project insights.

Up to 89% of all IoT Platforms will contain some form of digital twinning capability by 2025.


The digital twin can be connected to the built asset’s systems to collect operational performance data and system models can be created to perform simulation. Owners and operators can monitor and tune energy consumption and carbon emissions, as well as support facility utilization and contact tracing. To accomplish these goals, the digital twin must evolve over time and requires a constant feed of data. But in return, nearly 80 percent of an asset’s lifetime value is realized in operations.

As a result of COVID-19, 31% of all respondents use digital twins to improve employee or customer safety, such as the use of remote asset monitoring to reduce the frequency of in-person monitoring.

Planning the Next Facility

Operational data collected through a digital twin informs long-term decisions about investments. The digital twin can be used to produce realistic simulations of updates, predict failures, and even forecast planning needs.

When owners begin operations with a data-rich digital twin made up of objects rather than PDFs and spreadsheets, there is an incredible opportunity to reduce the risk inherent to decision-making.

The global digital twin market size was valued at USD 3.1 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 48.2 billion by 2026.

Getting started with digital twin

Digital twin isn’t far off in the future—it’s happening now. Learn more about how to join Autodesk’s Project Tandem, digital twin community, and upcoming beta program to build the future together.

Get involved


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What is Digital Twin?

There are many notable twins in the world today. You might even be a twin but do you know what a digital twin is.

Essentially, it’s a digital version of a physical object a dynamic up-to-date digital replica of a built asset or environment with the help of building information modeling (BIM), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and the internet of things (IoT) technology. Data from the original asset is used to build and improve the digital twin by providing a precise up-to-date model of its original.

What is the benefit of a digital twin?

A digital twin can help designers, engineers, contractors, owners, and manufacturers create more efficient structures. Digital twins can help with everything from planning, design, and construction to operations and maintenance.

Consider a building that’s already been designed and constructed. Imagine there’s a digital twin of the entire facility from the roof to the HVAC to the mechanical engineering and plumbing systems.

Now imagine that sensors in the building provide the digital twin with real-time information the digital twin updates itself according to the data. Then, building owners can view areas where the building is aging or faulty and make improvements on a greater scale.

Multiple digital twins can be integrated in an entire ecosystem.

So how did digital twins get their start in the 1960s?

NASA was one of the first agencies to use mirroring technology to replicate systems in space. Notably, NASA created a replica of Apollo 13 which became critical in the midst of its challenging mission. Engineers were able to test solutions on the replica to avoid further disaster.

Dr. Michael Greaves, Chief Scientist for Advanced Manufacturing at the Florida Institute of Technology introduced the concept of the digital twin at an American Society of Mechanical Engineers Conference in 2002. He proposed a product lifecycle management center that contained the elements of a digital twin, the physical space, the virtual space, and the flow of information between the two.

The manufacturing industry was quick to adopt digital twins and the architecture engineering and construction industry followed suit with the help of technological advancements like BIM or building information modeling.


How has the digital twin evolved since then?

Today, digital twin technology plays a big part in the digital transformation of the design, engineering, construction, manufacturing, and maintenance industries. A digital twin starts with knowledge of the assets and spaces that make up a facility.

This type of descriptive twin is a live editable version of design and construction data such as a visual replica of assets or facilities. An informative twin has an added layer of operational and sensory data as more and more data is added the twin becomes richer and richer and more strongly linked to its physical counterpart.

Predictive twins are able to leverage this operational data for insights while comprehensive twins simulate future scenarios and consider what-if questions in the future twins will become autonomous able to learn and act on behalf of users because digital twins can gather key information about things like population growth, natural resource supply levels, and historical data on environmental disasters.

Digital twins can help build more resilient cities and infrastructures as the world changes.

Eventually, an entire ecosystem of digital twins will help industries respond to global challenges with powerful simultaneous changes right now.

Digital twins are helping operations and facility managers respond faster by removing the need for complex and time-consuming maintenance documents.

Owners can gather information from the design and build phases to make faster business decisions lowering operational and maintenance costs.

Professionals on site can predict material and labor cycles reducing waste and enhancing safety by helping professionals gain more insight into the inner workings of the

Digital twins are becoming partners in building a better future.

For more information about how it is being used, watch our webinar recording the two-part TECH Perspectives webinar series we did and hear from Microsoft, CallisonRTKL, and Stantec. 

Hear our discussion as we focus on the challenges of implementing, managing, and measuring Digital Twin solutions.



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TECH Perspectives | Leveraging Digital Twin Technology

Digital twins are quickly proving to be a key strategic accelerator for digital transformation, unlocking the value created by the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and analytics.

But what exactly is the buzz about? What is a digital twin? What elements define it? When can and should we apply this technology? What makes it so powerful? And how will its adoption influence our design process and ultimately our buildings and cities?

According to a Gartner report, with an estimated 21 billion connected sensors and endpoints by 2020, digital twins will exist for billions of things in the near future. Potentially billions of dollars of savings in maintenance repair and operation (MRO) and optimized IoT asset performance.

These questions, and more, are discussed during our TECH Perspectives webinar series on “Leveraging Digital Twin Technology”. This online conference series features one and a half long with keynote presentations from the following, followed by a moderated discussion, and direct questions from the audience. We hear from:

Salla (Palos) Eckhardt, Director of Transformation Services | Microsoft WWC Construction Lead
Salla (Palos) Eckhardt | Microsoft
William Kwon | CallisonRTKL
Sarah Dreger
Sarah Dreger | Stantec
Steve Jones - 110px
Steve Jones | Dodge Data & Analytics

About TECH Perspectives

Microsol Resources’ TECH Perspectives conferences bring together thought-leaders at the forefront of building and construction innovation to discuss new and existing technologies that are reshaping the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry.

Part 1 | Introductions to Digital Twin Technology

Learn how developing a digital twin strategy can help you harness the convergence of the digital and physical worlds. Watch our video recording of this first part of our webinar series from April 2021.


Part 2 | Challenges of implementing, managing, and measuring Digital Twin solutions

Digital twins are a novel and unique way to combine software and hardware. The projects require a heavy investment of both hard and soft costs. If you get it right, the payoff is worth the effort. Like with any new technology, change is constant and you may have a skills gap on your team.

This is the continuation of our discussion with Microsoft, CallisonRTKL, and Stantec in our webinar this past May 2021. The panel discussion focuses on the challenges of implementing, managing and measuring Digital Twin solutions.

This webinar is the second part of this discussion and moderated by:

  • Steve Jones | Senior Director, Industry Insights Research | Dodge Data & Analytics


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