Why digital twins are a must in large and complex buildings

Digital twins help ensure successful infrastructure in office buildings

You probably already know the concept. The digital twin term has been buzzing around for the past years but now it is gaining the speed of the Shanghai Maglev. The concept was first introduced to the automotive industry, then NASA picked it up and coined the ‘Digital Twin’ name, and now it has reached the commercial real estate industry. But what exactly is a digital twin and why do commercial properties need a technology that was developed by NASA?

What is a digital twin?

A digital twin is a digital representation of a physical object, system, or process. It can be a virtual replica of everything from a simple machine (or a not-so-simple spacecraft) to an entire city. The idea is to create a digital representation that mimics the real-world behavior of the physical counterparts, providing opportunities to simulate and analyze performance, maintenance, and potential future scenarios.

As buildings become larger, more complex, and more integrated, the need for a digital twin that can provide an accurate real-time overview of the facility increases. An indoor mapping platform solves this challenge by providing building owners and occupants with an always up-to-date map of the facility, points of interest, and important information on building performance, usage, and optimization opportunities.

Indoor maps are already widely used in workspace applications, facility management platforms, security platforms, and visitor apps because they enable users to see and book available resources, monitor and optimize the performance of the building, increase safety, and find their way around an unknown building. However, all of these platforms and applications are use-case specific, which leads to another headache for building owners and managers: how to ensure a good infrastructure?

Investing in indoor mapping is investing in infrastructure

Before we dive into building infrastructure, let us take a trip down memory lane.

Do you remember when we all had at least three remote controls at home? One for the TV, one for the DVD player, and one for the VCR? In the early 2000s, the average US household had four remotes, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. Others estimated the average even higher as many needed up to five or six remotes to operate their home entertainment system. To tame the five-clicker chaos and reduce the time spent searching for remotes that had fallen into the cracks of the sofa, many invested in universal remote controls (with mixed success). 

Thanks to voice control and streaming services most of us only have one or two remote controls left on the coffee table today. But what do remote controls have to do with digital twins and building infrastructure?

Large and complex buildings require a lot of different systems and platforms to manage and run efficiently, including facility management platforms, integrated workplace management systems, security platforms, employee applications, etc. Often these systems are used and thereby implemented by different departments of the building. That does not sound like a big problem. However, all of these solutions have one thing in common: an indoor map. Do you see where we are going?

Just like remote controls cluttered our coffee tables twenty years ago, indoor maps are now cluttering building infrastructure. And just like we wasted time searching for remotes that seemed to have fallen off the face of the earth, building occupants are wasting time updating and maintaining a range of different indoor maps every time changes are made to the layout of the building - and if you think this does not happen very often, you are wrong. Large organizations update their floorplan up to 30 times a day, which means that a lot of maps have to be updated on a daily basis.

By investing in an indoor mapping platform, building owners can eliminate the clutter and time waste by providing every department and user of the building with an always up-to-date digital twin of the facility. The map can be integrated with any third-party system, allowing occupants to use the same map for multiple use cases across the organization or facility. 

By investing in an indoor mapping platform, you also ensure that everyone in the building is equipped with a clear overview of the spaces, reliable data, and easy navigation. While the map can be used for multiple use cases, data from one solution will not be shown in other solutions thanks to profile-based map views. This means that everyone has access to the data they need but not to data that does not concern them.

If you want to know more about how you can improve the infrastructure of your building with indoor mapping, reach out to us to discuss your needs and requirements.

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