The Digital Thread
In the inaugural episode of The Digital Thread, we had the pleasure of hosting Sam Roberts of TP Bennett, a visionary architect who is pioneering the use of digital twins in the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. His insights, drawn from a rich experience and a forward-looking perspective, suggest a transformative future in which digital twins become a standard in building design and management. Let’s explore the key points that Sam shared with us.
Understanding Digital Twins
Sam kicked off the conversation with an introduction to digital twins, describing them as more than just replicas of physical environments. They are dynamic, data-rich models that deliver real-time insights into buildings, enhancing our understanding and interaction with physical spaces. By integrating Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, these digital counterparts collect, analyze, and visualize data— offering a comprehensive view of a building’s performance, usage, and more.
A key benefit of digital twins is their ability to consolidate vast amounts of data into one accessible platform, Sam said. Enter Autodesk Tandem, which enables teams to view asset information and live data from IoT sensors in context to building geometry. The result is a streamlined workflow that enhances decision-making to ensure that every stakeholder is engaged and informed.
Driving Sustainability and Client Benefits
The conversation then shifted to the tangible benefits that digital twins bring to clients, particularly in fostering sustainable practices. Sam highlighted how attaching measurable data to daily actions and habits within a building can raise awareness and encourage more sustainable choices. By providing a clear picture of how buildings are used and the impact of those uses, digital twins allow clients to make informed decisions that align with sustainability goals.
To emphasize that point, Sam shared insights from a pilot project conducted in TP Bennett’s London office, where they created a digital twin of a floor as a way to analyze space usage. The data gathered from the pilot project is now guiding decisions on whether to remain in the current building or to move. This example showcases how digital twins can influence strategic decisions in real estate and office management. Indeed, this project is a microcosm of the potential of digital twins to transform our understanding of physical spaces.
Revolutionizing the AEC Industry
Sam envisions a future in which digital twins progress from an innovative tool to a standard practice in the AEC industry. He predicts that project handovers soon will include a digital twin, providing a comprehensive, interactive model of the building for future owners and managers. This shift could revolutionize the industry, making buildings more adaptable and efficient while aligning with the evolving needs of users.
Moreover, Sam described the potential of digital twins to enhance COBie (Construction Operations Building information exchange) requirements. By offering a more dynamic and accessible way to manage building information, digital twins can streamline workflows and improve the delivery of building information, providing a competitive edge to companies that adopt this technology.
Embracing the Digital Twin Revolution
The conversation with Sam Roberts offered us a glimpse into a future in which digital twins redefine how we design, build, and interact with our environments. As we stand on the brink of this revolution, embracing digital twins will be crucial for architects, engineers, and construction professionals seeking to lead in innovation and sustainability. Join us as we continue to explore these exciting developments in future episodes, diving deeper into the technologies and the trends shaping our world.
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