Site Digital Twin: Physical vs digital worksites

A site digital twin could help to avoid duplication of data across platforms and ensure project information is up-to-date

The construction sector is becoming increasingly digital despite a rocky start. Today, we are all witnessing the craze for BIM 3D/4D/5D, and it sometimes seems as if it is the only thing that matters innovation-wise.

Digitalisation in the industry is, in effect, way broader. CRM and Inventory Systems have been fully deployed in most major companies. Analytics at the procurement and production level are now at an advanced stage of maturity, with plenty of new technologies such as collaboration apps, AR/MR, UAVs, IOT and RFID popping up at construction sites.

Proliferation of digital platforms in the field will eventually become a problem if tech companies and start-ups do not cooperate with the ultimate goal of connecting all the systems together, including but not limited to BIM models. With the few tools we use today, it is already a nightmare when it comes to keeping information up to date. Moreover, duplication of work for actions such as creating profiles and tasks or projects in applications is a concern and reduces the advantages of digital transformation. At Script&Go, we believe that full interoperability is the future. We call it the “site digital twin”.

The concept of a site digital twin is the idea that there should be a real-time unique digital replica of everything that is on site from the infrastructure itself to people, materials and equipment, including their properties, states and additional information. That does not necessarily mean that information would be centralised in a unique database, but that there would be no duplication of data across platforms, alongside a real-time automatic update. The site digital twin would keep records of logs so that companies can gain insights on their operations and conduct predictive analysis through machine learning, allowing anticipation of potential conflicts or problems.

As the physical and the digital job site should both be synchronised, there is a need for acquiring data of the real world whether it be by computer vision, smart sensors, speech recognition or digital platforms. It is necessary to constitute ecosystems in which companies have shared standards on how physical objects should be described. In addition, all players should provide open web services, preferably RESTful API. “Open” does not inevitably mean public, nor unsecured, nor free; it only states that it allows accredited third parties to learn how they can integrate with the relevant system.

Who owns what data, who should get rights over which set of data and for how much are the tough questions still unanswered, with plenty of models still to be explored.

The road toward “site digital twin” remains fuzzy, though construction companies and tech specialists can pave the way together. Yes, it will be challenging, but we know that the eagerness for digital transformation in the industry will overcome the challenges.

Please note: this is a commercial profile.

Francois Lebas digital twin

Business Designer


Tel: +33 2 30 96 20 69

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