Digital twins – digital representations of physical objects – can add value to many processes in building and facility management. For a start, individual professionals do not have to waste valuable time on site visits, as they can get a fresh view of the site with just a few clicks. In addition, documentation of facilities and current conditions can be viewed instantly.
To be accessible, digital twins need to “live”
Unfortunately, in most of today’s contexts, the digital twins of buildings, installations or technical systems mentioned above are still relatively static. This means that the environment is digitally recorded at a certain point in time after the digital twin has been created. However, without updates, this is not at all sufficient for smooth operation.
For profitable and seamless use, the digital twin needs to “live”. This means that the twin needs to be constantly updated and updated with fresh data. At CAFM Solution, we use a variety of methods to ensure that the digital twin is updated as simply and cost-effectively as possible.
The system relies exclusively on simple photos, not on the twins’ data base. Changes in the real world, such as a system replacement or retrofit, can be easily documented with new photos and the twin can be updated automatically. This method reduces the time spent and keeps costs down.
Important data are available together with visual information
In addition to the photorealistic representation of reality, process data related to systems and buildings are equally necessary. Measurement and other values are also important. In most companies, this data is already available in many different process or control systems. The trick is to make all this important data available in the right place in the twins, and in a way that makes it accessible along with the visual information.
At CAFM Solution, we use so-called Points of Information (PoI) for this purpose. These information points can be generated directly from images and have precise 3D coordinates. Once created, they are independent of the images themselves, so they remain available and up-to-date even when images are updated.
With the help of modern IT interfaces, the system can be connected to any third-party system and its data or information can then be displayed in the same way. Everything from measurement and other data, maintenance information and work orders, to documents or even live videos can be directly displayed in the image models. If required, you can even trigger control commands so that operations can be performed directly in the real environment.
It is important to know that data from external systems only appear in the system, but are not stored by it. This avoids unnecessary duplication of data and the problems that this can cause. In addition, data validation always remains within the original source systems.
All the user has to do is click on the appropriate system or PoI and all the information they need is displayed. Lengthy searches for information in different systems are a thing of the past.
Thanks to the technologies described above, the digital twins will always be up-to-date and will also always contribute real and up-to-date values to the different processes. After all, nothing is worse than an outdated model.