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Smart Cities Eye Digital Twin Technology To Optimize Infrastructure Planning And Management

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Smart Cities Eye Digital Twin Technology To Optimize Infrastructure Planning And Management

Demand for smart building digital twins continues to increase as firms gain a clearer understanding of the benefits across energy and cost optimization. In particular cities and large campuses are becoming a hotbed for digital twin innovation, with municipalities and local governments implementing the solutions to help gain a wholistic, integrated view of all systems. For instance, in September 2021 the Research Centre of Excellence in Cyprus, started creating a digital twin of Nicosia that accounts for many factors, such as traffic lights, the movement of crowds through the city, people’s habitual behaviours and the use of electricity, to optimize city life. Similarly, in Canada, IBI Group built a digital twin of Toronto's water distribution network, in order to reduce its energy use and reduce costs.

Real-time digital twins are well-suited for cities and large campuses; they offer a powerful platform to model, understand and analyse the interactions between the various buildings, power systems and any other public infrastructure. Witness the Brooklyn Navy Yard selecting Cityzenith to develop digital twins for a group of buildings, systems and infrastructure in the Navy Yard in September 2021. Brooklyn Navy Yard will leverage the digital twins to automate real-time energy monitoring, onsite renewable power generation and buying carbon offsets. Utility providers are starting to collaborate with digital twin providers and programmes to share and integrate data from various infrastructure networks to identify efficiencies. For example, in October 2021, UK utility providers Anglian Water, BT and UK Power Networks collaborating with the National Digital Twin programme (NDTp) to develop a digital twin across energy, water and telecoms networks to provide a practical example of how connected data can improve climate adaptation and resilience.

Digital twins aggregate data from multiple sources and intelligently integrate data sets together, capturing the context and relationships between the data. This makes the technology extremely valuable for the public sector and cities as they can simulate the impact of different events across the entire city. For instance, in September 2021, Southern Nevada’s Regional Transit Commission partnered with Nexar to integrate real-time camera data into a digital twin of Las Vegas to model the impact of work zones, changes in traffic signs and road quality on traffic patterns.

While real-time digital twins have been mostly in the manufacturing industry, smart cities are looking be at the forefront of adoption in the built environment. The technology provides users with a wholistic view of city operations and the interactions between the buildings, systems, utility networks and people. Equipped with a single-pane of glass view and analytical tool kit, city officials are making data-driven decisions to optimize energy, costs and overall city life.

To learn more about the practical and high value applications of digital twin solutions, please see: Verdantix High Value Use Cases For Smart Building Digital Twins

Joy Trinquet

Industry Analyst

Joy is an Industry Analyst in the Verdantix Smart Buildings practice. Her current research agenda focuses on building digital twins, BIM for operations, smart building systems integration as well as architecture, engineering and construction software. Joy joined Verdantix in 2019, and previously worked at BNP Paribas Asset Management. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics with a concentration in policy as well as dual minors in computer science and business studies from New York University.