How Digital Twins and data can improve business practices
Digital Twins and Their Advantages
We all remember seeing movies and tv shows with holographic projections of buildings, and all their hallways or facilities mapped out in 3D for the main characters to examine and plot their way through the building. Well, these are not as far from sci-fi as one may think, as digital twins are a cost-effective and accessible tool adding value to projects from design to facility management.
Digital twins offer unique insights which can transform decision making processes and performance measurements. Acting as a digital reflection of a physical asset or environment, digital twins can give a better picture of what is going on around us. The benefits of digital twins are extensive, and we are just scratching the surface of what they have to offer.
What are digital twins?
While this concept may appear confusing and abstract at first, digital twins are exactly what the name suggests, a digital copy of a building and its facilities that houses and collects real-time data and information relevant to everything from business processes to energy usage in the building. This digital reflection of the building and the facilities or systems within it gives organizations a look into the data of their daily activities within the office and the impacts they have.
Advantages of digital twins
The advantages of having real-time data on the activities going on within a building or workplace cannot be understated. Digital twins offer data collection ranging from occupancy rates to how warm certain floors are to the energy use of specific lightbulbs in the building. However, the benefits go beyond this, with digital twin applications extending into smart cameras for security, robotics, and even into construction plans connecting all areas of a building and granting insight into
Having a digital model of a building or area that is simultaneously collecting data gives decision makers and maintenance managers alike valuable information on things that impact their roles and the organization. A digital twin can be handed over to the organization following construction with wiring, HVAC and other systems integrated into it, or in the case of google, launching a solution that constructs a digital twin of companies supply chains to be shared with partners and suppliers.
IWMS and Digital Twins
The advantage of digital twins when integrated with an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) such as Archibus, is where the full capabilities and reach of this technology are seen. IWMS systems offer monitoring of data from areas that are built into it, for example monitoring of ventilation systems and potential areas of maintenance as well as energy systems with both being monitored from one platform.
The integration of digital twins into this environment allows for data collection and analysis of a building and its systems by managers. The reflection of data from the IWMS in the digital twin can display where in the building something may be occurring as well as how it could be impacting occupants. IWMS provides the numbers and tracking of systems, while the digital twin offers the reflection and digital construction of those numbers in a model.
Space management and digital twins
Space management benefits from digital twins much the same as IWMS does, as digital twins offer the digital reflection of the physical space, space management becomes more efficient and streamlined. With IWMS working to track space management factors such as who is at what desks and how frequently, a model can be reflected that shows which desks are occupied and when for those who are not at the office or the managers who wish to see who is at home vs remote working that day.
What if an office needs to adjust its physical space for hybrid work? A digital twin can reflect any data collected on use of space and give insight into what areas may not be as necessary as previously thought and can be repurposed for the needs of the office.
Importance of data collection
Data collection is becoming more and more important in all aspects of business, and the depth of information that data collection offers businesses is undeniable proof that the era of data collection to drive decision making is not going anywhere.
Businesses can utilize this data collection to drive decisions on employee experience, resources in the office, and the office space itself. Data collection of certain boardrooms or technology can give managers insight into whether to invest in more resources for employees as the existing ones are frequently used.
Facilities Management & Use of Data
Data collection can make facilities management a more efficient, streamlined process. Data collection means that a systems maintenance cycle can be tracked and ensure the upkeep is maintained in a way that it prevents issues rather than reacts to them.
It also gives facilities managers an inventory of systems which shows facilities managers which parts are vital to the success of one or multiple systems, and thus requiring more frequent attention.
Data Driving Preventative Action
Preventative action using data collection gives facilities managers a breath of fresh air, putting off a potentially expensive and inconvenient maintenance of a system by simply acting early. Data collection empowers facilities managers by feeding real-time information to their systems, alerting them when steps need to be taken prior to a system issue.
The collection of data and trends that can be pulled from the data can be the difference between reactive and proactive action towards an issue or a system in the workplace.
Operational Efficiency and Digital Twins
The operational efficiency benefits that are offered by digital twins is primarily in thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) and the connectedness that this offers workplaces and beyond. Through the IoT, digital twins can reflect physical trends picked up by sensors and other technologies that are active throughout the building. Reflection of these trends in the digital twins can highlight deficiencies or areas that require improvement or that can be streamlined even further to achieve the best possible output.
Value of Asset Management
Digital twins and the value that they give to asset management can usually be seen once the digital twins and other tools have been in place for some time. The value is truly apparent when the user recognizes what digital twins have done for the workplace. Preventative maintenance, operational efficiency, and streamlining of processes are all products of asset management that add value to digital twins.
Digital Twins for Service Delivery
Service delivery stands to benefit significantly from digital twins, as oftentimes the streamlining of processes and management of assets will be greatly beneficial to improving delivery. One such example is the healthcare industry, where the vast systems and networks going on within a hospitals can be tumultuous to navigate and can disrupt each other. Data collection can drive decision making and improve services and delivery upon identification of lagging areas or areas where there is disruption.
Analytics for Recordkeeping
The collection and housing of data and information that comes with digital twins allows for long-term recordkeeping of information. Analytics of long-term trends and data can be the key to an organization staying adapting to change or remaining the same and stagnating. Analyzing these long-term trends in data shows organizations how far they have come in areas such as service delivery and can be used to adjust and evolve to improve and optimize their business outputs.
Digital twins and employee experience
At their core, businesses are driven by their employees. The improvements digital twins give to employees and the employee experience may not increase profit by 25%, but it will make the workplace a more convenient and smarter place to work. The improvements from quality-of-life adjustments goes far in making employees happy to be at work and if it makes their work easier to complete, then they will in turn be more satisfied.
Digital twins can offer improvements across the board for businesses, and when integrated with an effective IWMS such as Archibus, the oversight they provide for business processes, service delivery, and facilities management can make a significant difference overtime. Data collection and analysis is the future of the workplace and can fine-tune your business and lower your costs of operation, streamlining your day-to-day life and fixing those snags in your operations.