Reaping the rewards from digital twin technology

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Imagine a world where buildings are more than just structures. They’re living, breathing entities pulsating with data, insights, and untapped potential.

Autodesk Tandem offers an innovative digital twin solution, designed to transform the way we perceive and interact with our built environment. Tandem creates digital twins from Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflows, converting building data into business intelligence by integrating real-time monitoring and analytics capabilities.

In a nutshell, a digital twin consists of a digital replica of a physical building, that’s linked with real-time data, enabling analysis, simulation, and optimization of the physical counterpart. Through this replica, owners can monitor their facilities from the cloud in one interface, anywhere in the world, allowing them to visualize their building’s operations and performance – using heat maps, charts, and dashboards – all in the context of the BIM model.

Rising to the challenge

Leading Nordic multidisciplinary engineering consultancy, Multiconsult, has always been committed to sustainable development, community engagement, job creation, and resilience-building – reshaping communities for the better. Its innovative use of cutting-edge technology, such as digital twins, is transforming the workflow by ensuring continuity of digital thread through the design, construction and operations phases of the building. By making these technologies accessible, they empower owners to make informed decisions that enhance efficiency, prioritize safety, and promote sustainability throughout the building lifecycle.

Multiconsult wanted to transform the concept of digital twins from a buzzword to a tangible product, delivering demonstrable benefits for their clients. In the true spirit of digital twins being an ecosystem play, it wasn’t a solo endeavor and partnering with key components was crucial to demonstrate the full benefits. The challenge was in identifying its value, defining use cases, and persuading clients of its benefits, so Multiconsult collaborated with Tandem, the building owner and the Building Management System (BMS) solution provider Swegon, to develop a proof of concept. Their objective was to show the merits of implementing a digital twin, teaming up with vendors, owners and AEC firms.

Magne Ganz, BIM Specialist at Multiconsult, says “With the digital twin initiative, we were trying to answer three basic questions: What is the definition of a digital twin? How do you create a digital twin? And what is the value of having a digital twin?

Through hands-on experience and partnering with Swegon, Multiconsult hoped to uncover both the potential and challenges of new technology, such as Tandem. With the digital twin enterprise, Multiconsult wanted to give their clients the freedom to manage and control their buildings more efficiently and sustainably. By monitoring heating, occupancy, CO2 and humidity remotely, and in near real-time, the value of hosting a one-stop shop for asset information by linking it with Propely, the system for documentation and tasks, and live data on performance was integral to optimizing BIM in operations.

Successful alliances

The success of this pilot project was driven by collaboration between Multiconsult, the building owner, and BMS solution provider Swegon. Creating a digital twin involves multiple stakeholders and systems, making teamwork essential.

As Barbro Brørvik Sæten, Digital Business Developer at Multiconsult says: “Working on this pilot with Swegon was really great because they saw the value in working together and wanted to put in the work to integrate their system into Tandem.”

As a result of this project, the owners, are able to gain more insights into the building performance, by visualizing data from smart tech, and could effortlessly collect, connect, and contextualize valuable information. It could also efficiently access near real-time and historical building data, allowing it to act promptly on operational insights, identify areas requiring attention, optimize management and performance.

Swegon enabled the data to be pushed to Tandem, equipping Tandem to unlock insights with preconfigured data views. Multiconsult were then able to analyze heat maps, dashboards and trends to inform decisions and boost operations.

The feedback we received from the building owner and Swegon was that this is a really great solution and should be something that you have in every building, since you get a great tool to see all the information you need on a building in one place

Barbro Brørvik Sæten, Digital Business Developer at Multiconsult

An ongoing journey

Digital twins empower clients with a holistic view of their building’s performance by consolidating data from disparate platforms into a single, unified interface., but it’s crucial to align technology with user needs to maximize value. Establishing a process through pilots ensures ongoing improvement and facilitates seamless integration with partners like Swegon.

Barbro concludes, “The reason we wanted to do this pilot was because we didn’t see many examples in the market. There weren’t a lot of digital twins of buildings. So in doing this pilot, we got the chance to take the lead and learn how this can create value and how we can offer this as a service to our customers.