Privacy Notice

Welcome on BABLE

We put great importance to data protection and therefore use the data you provide to us with upmost care. You can handle the data you provide to us in your personal dashboard. You will find our complete regulations on data protection and clarification of your rights in our privacy notice. By using the website and its offers and navigating further, you accept the regulations of our privacy notice and terms and conditions.

Accept

Description

Digital Twins are used increasingly to support urban planning processes – by visualizing urban data, show-casing future scenarios and many other use-cases. In general Digital twins are virtual representations of an object, process or system that can be used to run simulations to optimise efficiency and examine what-if scenarios. The technology has been primarily used for manufacturing to test products (e.g. as of 2018, GE had 1.2 million digital twins for 300,000 types of assets) but is quickly expanding to buildings, supply chains and entire cities as digital planning technology advances (Castro, 2019). Integrating data from the internet of things (IoT) with the advanced modelling capabilities of technologies such as geospatial information systems (GIS), virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) and building information modelling (BIM) allows governments and industry to create predictions of how systems will react and respond to real-world data. Creating a feedback loop between the virtual and real worlds results in substantial improvements of processes and impacts, with time-saving and financial benefits.

The concept of digital twins is not new; for example, NASA has been running simulations of spacecraft for decades, but the rapid growth of connected sensors and endpoints with the rise of the IoT and advancements in artificial intelligence has opened up a myriad of possibilities for the planning and analysis tool. Potential uses for digital twins are still being imagined. Uses for cities currently include using digital twins to plan transportation systems, prepare for natural disasters and identify optimal locations to install solar panels. Future uses could include predicting how a disease will spread and informing optimal lockdowns and hospital reservations or using the tool to facilitate collaborations with other cities that have shared problems and mutual goals.

Benefits

The main goal of Digital Twins is to ease urban planning processes, use data and increase transparency. Besides that, the solution achieves the benefits listed below. Whereas some benefits are likely to be fulfiled with a basic implementation of the solution, the fulfilment of the potential benefits depends on the functions implemented in a specific project.

Main Benefits
  • Enhanced data analysis

  • Facilitating citizen engagement

  • Improving personnel efficiency

  • Improving life quality

  • Enhanced data collection

Potential Benefits
  • Efficient integration of renewables

  • Increased data transparency

  • Enhanced data collection

Functions

Functions help you to understand what the products can do for you and which ones will help you achieve your goals.
Each solution has at least one mandatory function, which is needed to achieve the basic purpose of the solution, and several additional functions, which are features that can be added to provide additional benefits.

Mandatory Functions
    Connect with data about the city

    accessing data (e.g. from sensors) about the different components of a city

    Simulate processes

    use real time data to create simulations that can predict how a product or process will perform

    Provide information to optimise processes

    provide decision makers with information on how to optimise simulated products or processes

Potential Functions
    Prepare for emergency situations

    Simulate disaster response to best prepare

    Communicate to stakeholders

    features enabling citizen participation and stakeholder collaboration

Variants

Digital twins cover a broad range of aplications and well-established categories may not encapsulate all aspects of each adoption of the technology. The following categories were identified by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult Visualisation and VR Forum (2018).

Description

The simplest form of digital twin, this variant displays the live state of a physical asset or process to human observers. The value provided is the ability for city to have people act on the information provided. For example, a city could have a digital twin that tracks the condition of streets and roads, letting observers know when the conditions require maintenance to be done.

Description

Interactive digital twins take control of at least one aspect of the physical asset or process to achieve better performance, either from internal monitoring or more complex analysis. For example, thermostats in public housing units that report when temperature has gone above or below a certain threshold, triggering automatic responses to adjust the amount of heat being produced by the heating system.

Description

This is the most complex type of digital twin. Predictive digital twins monitor state information over time to provide augmented information such as recommendations and/or warnings to human observers and/or other digital systems. For example, to expand the street monitoring system example from the Supervisory Variant, the system could predict when streets require will require maintenance based on the amount of traffic the streets encounter. The difference here is that in the Supervisory example the city needs to rely on their own interpretation of the street conditions whereas in the Predictive case the city is directly informed when the conditions will require maintenance based on information that was not available in the Supervisory case. This reduces the amount of human judgement required.

City Context

Digital twins are supported by cities with:

  • IoT sensors embedded in city’s core services
  • High levels of connectivity and useable data
  • GIS system in place

Supporting Factors

Digital Twins of smart cities is a new application of a number of technologies that need to be interoperable and high-performance. A capable and innovative team, with in depth knowledge of how these technologies and their data function, will support a city in getting the most out of their digital twin. A brief overview of some of these technologies that are integrated into digital twins follows:

  • Geospatial Information Systems: The core spatial modelling technology of a city’s digital twin, GIS connects different kinds of geospatial data to create a single view and provide advanced analytics of the system.
  • Building Information Modelling: When integrated with GIS, BIM provides a rich dataset for the built environment to create more accurate models. Real-time data requires the interoperability with the Internet of Things.
  • Augmented or Virtual Reality: Enhances real life perception of digital twins. This can be particularly useful in collaborative and participatory process in urban planning.

Stakeholder Mapping

Stakeholder Map of an Urban Digital Twin (BABLE, 2021)

Market Potential

Across all industries, the global digital twin market size was valued at USD 3.1 billion in 2020 with an expected CAGR of 58% until 2026, when it projected to reach USD 48.2 billion. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to be a major driver of the digital twin market growth, in particular in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, as well as for cities to better monitor outbreaks and respond to the changes in daily life brought by the pandemic (Markets&Markets, 2020).  

Cost Structure

Digital Twins on the city level are still a nascent technology and the cost structures will vary widely based on how advanced the software and hardware the city decides to invest in. One example, Virtual Singapore, had a budget of $73 million for developing their digital twin platform and for researching the tools and technologies required (NRF, 2020).

The creation of this solution has been supported by EU funding

Use Cases

Energy

ICT

Building

Digital twin of Sello building block

The basic idea of the Digital twin of Sello building block is that it looks and behaves the same as real, but it is only a digital copy from energy point of view. The use case can be used for energy optimizing or Virtual Power Plant (VPP) use cases.

Related solutions

Intelligent and Connected Public Space

An intelligent and connected public space collects data in public areas and displays or reacts on the data. The data can be securely transferred via Wi-Fi or other similar technologies to be, i.e. combined with a central system.

Urban Resilience

Urban resilience is the ability of an urban system and all its constituents across temporal and spatial scales to maintain or rapidly return to desired functions in the face of a disturbance.

Broadband Wireless Mesh Network

Broadband Wireless Mesh Networks (B-WMN) enable seamless IoT applications by carrying fibre-like speed wirelessly. By hosting next generation of smart devices and by building private network for civil services, cities are building real-time digital services and improving safety and service delivery.

Citizen Engagement

Citizen engagement plays an instrumental role in the way human settlements are governed. Decision-making processes are enhanced by engaging those most affected and intimately connected with societal challenges.

Smart Water Management

Smart water management aims to guide the utilisation of water in a manner that drives efficiency, sufficiency, and sustainability by integrating innovative technologies such as sensors, smart water metering, information systems, data acquisition and decision support systems.

Something went wrong on our side. Please try reloading the page and if the problem still persists, contact us via support@bable-smartcities.eu
Action successfully completed!