Commercial real estate: How to get started building your digital twin infrastructure

We recently wrote this blog post about building infrastructure and the importance of digital twins in large and complex buildings, but how do you get started if you want to enhance the infrastructure of your building with a digital twin?

Step 1: Identify your needs and challenges

A solution always starts with a challenge and indoor mapping is no exception. A common challenge among large organizations is that they are managing a range of different maps that are used for different purposes. These maps are often included in use case-specific solutions and systems such as room and desk booking solutions, facility management platforms, visitor apps, etc. Every time changes are made to the layout of the building, all of these maps need to be updated. Large organizations often make changes to their floor plans several times a day, resulting in significant time waste and inefficiency.

A digital twin - a map of your building that can integrate with your existing systems, replacing the use case-specific maps you may have - can help you eliminate this time waste and enhance the infrastructure of your facility. The first step in building a digital twin of your spaces is to identify your challenges and needs. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:

  • What challenges are you facing?
  • Which systems and devices do you have that are currently using a map?
  • Do you have other systems and devices that could benefit from a map to increase their value?
  • What requirements do you have for the map?

Step 2: Find the map for your needs

Once you have identified your challenges and needs, you need to find a map that meets your requirements. When choosing your map provider, there are a few things you should consider:

To keep your digital twin up-to-date, it is important that it easily integrates with your space management system, third-party systems, and IoT and sensor devices. 

Your twin needs to be able to draw data from your space management systems to detect changes to your floor plans and make the same adjustments to your map. This way, you do not need to worry about updating multiple systems (or maps) when making changes to your layout. Once changes are made in your space management system, they will appear on the map too.

You should also ensure that your twin can integrate with any third-party systems and IoT and sensor devices so you can visualize all the live data you need both now and in the future.

The map should help you grow your business, not limit you. A scalable map supports the growth of your business by quickly scaling to your needs. If your map is not scalable, you may need to find a new map if you add to your building or decide to downsize.

Profile-based map views
The idea behind using an indoor map as a digital twin of your building is to streamline and enhance your infrastructure. This is only possible with a map that provides profile-based map views, ensuring everyone has access to the data they need but not the data that does not concern them.

Step 3: Share your floor plans

The third and final step of creating your digital twin is to share your building data with your mapping provider, but what data do they need exactly?

Most mapping providers can digitize your floor plans from any type of file - DWG, DXF, or even a jpeg or a drawing on a napkin. However, digitizing a floor plan from an image takes longer than digitizing a DWG or a DXF file. In other words, the better data you provide, the faster you will have your digital twin.

If you want to know more about digital twins and how they can help improve your building infrastructure, we recommend you read our blog post, “Why digital twins are a must in large and complex buildings.”

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