Exploiting the data goldmine with the digital twin
Buildings are a goldmine of data. We already do a lot of good things with this data, but the real breakthrough is still to come. Barry Tuip, manager Strukton PULSE, introduces the near future.
During my installation technology studies I immersed myself in innovations that at the time were still largely theoretical. Things like building simulations, predictive modelling and machine learning come to mind. In the meantime we are now ten to fifteen years later. As manager of the PULSE department at Strukton Worksphere, I can now see how the subject matter taught at the time is making its entry into the building management discipline. The subjects that at the time were rather academic, today are technologies supported by an excellent business case and an unprecedented high practical value.
In this digital advance, data plays an indispensable leading role. Strukton Worksphere has been collecting statistical data about many types of buildings and technical installations for decades. Data about use, malfunctions, service life and maintenance costs. Thanks to sensor technology and the Internet of Things this has been supplemented with a growing stream of real-time data over the past few years. This is why we developed the Strukton PULSE platform. This way we monitor values such as temperature, air quality, energy consumption and room utilisation. And we use smart algorithms to continually check whether the buildings and technical installations are performing optimally. All of this data taken together forms a goldmine that we exploit for the benefit of our customers. Because an optimally performing building with state-of-the-art technology increases the value of their property.
Still more data sourcesIf we were to add 3D information to this, the picture would be even more complete. New buildings are designed using BIM and are then constructed on the basis of a detailed 3D model of the entire building. That model is also very useful during the building’s operation. For example, for simulations (how does the building react to a heatwave?) and in the event of renovations and expansions. Furthermore, we continue to enrich the BIM model with new information ourselves.
With these three data sources (asset data, sensor data and BIM) we can go a long way. But I would be remiss if I did not mention the growing role of the building’s users. They are becoming increasingly connected with the building. Using apps they are able to adjust the comfort settings in line with their preferences, reserve work rooms, book services and submit their opinions. This way users also supply a wealth of information. This makes it possible to make increasingly more efficient use of a building, give it a smarter layout, and make it as healthy and comfortable as possible.
Getting a grip on data and the buildingBuildings therefore are producing increasingly more data. Building owners know this and they also know that data is the ‘new gold’. This is why they are struggling with a pressing question: how do I securely bring all of this data together and make it accessible to other parties – while at the same time staying in control and keeping a grip on it?
We are currently developing the answer to that question together with our Australian software partner Willow. Together we are working on a powerful platform that makes it possible to link all kinds of data sources, combine and analyse the data in these sources and make this data available and exchangeable, all in accordance with the latest security standards. We refer to this platform as a ‘digital twin’, and it is a platform that offers possibilities that up until now we could only dream of.
Elevating everything to a higher levelA digital twin is a digital copy of a building that consolidates all possible static and real-time information. As a building owner you have access to a ‘single source of truth’ this way, a kind of central data ecosystem, throughout the building’s entire lifespan. Third parties can be given full or partial access to this platform to extract, as well as add information. Such as the caterer, the cleaner, security officers and a wide range of technical service providers. As well as the users themselves. For example, they can reserve rooms, order lunches and adjust comfort settings via an app.
The digital twin can mean a great deal for maintenance and management. We are developing a control room from which we can better manage the buildings with all of this information. In addition, with technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, we make our work more efficient, precise and safer. We prevent malfunctions and failure costs by running simulations of an adjustment in advance. And we still further improve the performance of buildings, for example through predictive maintenance and automatic interventions. With the digital twin all involved suppliers can elevate their service provision to a higher level.
The global standard of choiceAll innovations that were still mostly theoretical when I was completing my studies are now coming together in the digital twin. This is why I am personally very enthusiastic about the fact that Strukton Worksphere is taking such promising steps in this area. Our ambition is high: with WillowTwin we aim to establish the global standard for building management and strategic real estate management. So that it is no longer necessary to reinvent the wheel in every building and we can truly exploit the data goldmine!
As a building owner you have access to a ‘single source of truth’ this way, a kind of central data ecosystem, throughout the building’s entire lifespan.