Digital Twins and Facilities Management

AI, IoT, Digital Twins and Real-Time Data are not simply buzz words anymore. They are key technologies in elevating existing systems, processes, and procedures within Facilities and Real Property. Successful facilities management teams are learning and applying these technologies today.

Why now you may ask?

Over the past decade, there has been an increasing need for buildings to be environmentally friendly and efficiently optimized. Newly constructed buildings can more easily align with those expectations, but many older assets may still not have undergone the procurements/ renovations required to take advantage of specific efficiencies.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, it is easier than ever to see spaces that are not being managed in the best way. For example, lights still on in buildings that have little to no utilization (see image below). The public, employees and managers can see which organizations have room to improve in their facilities management.

Urban corner office in the UK shot at night time with all the building lights still on

So, what is the good news from being called out?

That it simply takes gradual changes to make a noticeable impact! Improvement can be achieved- by implementing new policies, Infrastructure Management Software, full-time facilities managers, information modelling, incorporating emerging technology and more.

Along the lines of incorporating emerging technology mentioned above-one of the real property disrupters are Digital Twins.

Digital Twins

A digital twin is the integration of sensors and real-time data into a 3D BIM Model. The digital twin replicates everything – the physical layer, the building system layer, the people layer, and the enterprise layer. The resulting model displays information in real-time. The information allows managers to plan, prepare, renovate, improve, and disseminate information as if it were the building itself. Digital twins enable remote and autonomous management of multiple assets and structures.

The transformational value that digital twins bring to the facilities industry will be invaluable. Depending on the complexity of the system, the digital twin can be even more sophisticated. At the minimum, the digital twin could be descriptive, and at its maximum, it would be transformative.

Imagine seeing a fully interoperable digital copy of a building and seeing each component of your hydro/electric system. You notice a manager has left the building a 4:02 PM -yet the floor lights are still on at 5:30 PM. At the press of a button, your digital twin and your physical building are now entirely dark and saving energy.

VERDANTIX graphic of Smart Innovators Digital Twin for Industrial Facilities

Source: Verdantix Smart Innovators Digital Twins for Industrial Facilities

The industry has been moving this direction as witnessed by the above graphic, a reference from a Verdantix Press Release in 2019.

Digital Twins are the consolidation of many known and understood technologies to seamlessly create a model that can autonomously create notifications and follow maintenance schedules.

Digital twins solve age-old problems in facilities management such as historical record-keeping, operational performance monitoring, and the testing of future performance.

Digital Twins can be approached in a manageable, friendly, phased way. Take a step forward and see how this integrated approach to facilities and real property will improve your bottom line!

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