This article was written by Daphne Tomlinson, Senior Research Associate at Memoori.
While the benefits of Digital Twin solutions have been seen in pilot projects, this early adopter phase has yet to fully deliver on the promise of improved outcomes for commercial buildings. This was the conclusion of our 2020 article on Early Innovators at the Forefront of Digital Twin Technology for Commercial Buildings.
Memoori has reviewed deployments in the last twelve months. Projects today span multiple building sectors, including commercial real estate, retail, infrastructure, smart cities, airports, stadiums and healthcare facilities and we have highlighted some of them below.
Two new sports and entertainment venues in the USA are among the first megaprojects to employ the technology throughout construction and operation.
Willow, an Australian firm founded in 2011 partnered with Hollywood Park, a 298-acre sports and entertainment destination in Inglewood, California, which incorporates the SoFi Stadium, the new home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers.
The 2-year WillowTwin project, completed in Jan 2021, was engaged to:
- Collect, validate and manage digital information during the stadium’s critical construction phase to enable the creation of a digital replica of the asset.
- Identify and agree on end-use cases for the Digital Twin including sustainability, operational efficiency, and occupant experience.
- Implement selected customizations for the needs of the business.
Using big data gathered from every aspect of the 3.1 million square feet stadium and surrounding development, Willow created a virtual copy of the facility to deliver analytical insight aiming to create a world-class fan, resident, and guest experience along with optimized levels of sustainability and future-proofing.
Cityzenith, has been helping to advance the Digital Twin trend since the company was founded in 2009. The Smart World platform offered by the Chicago-based firm allows clients to build custom Digital Twins of all types of real estate assets, creating virtual replicas of cities and infrastructure to track, manage and reduce carbon emissions within the built environment while minimizing environmental damage. According to the company, it can produce savings and efficiencies worth 35% of operating and maintenance costs for buildings.
The $500 million Orlando Sports & Entertainment District is deploying a customized and enhanced version of Cityzenith’s SmartWorldPro2 Digital Twin platform. The downtown Orlando mixed-use project will include a 300-key hotel, 420,000 square foot office tower, 65,000 square foot multi-functional event venue, and more than 100,000 square feet of experiential retail and F&B space.
Incumbent BIoT players with digital twin solutions include Siemens, Johnson Controls, Schneider Electric and Honeywell. In June 2021, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) appointed a consortium which included Johnson Controls and Microsoft, to implement the latest digital twin technologies, Internet of Things, cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, and smart building management solutions in DEWA's new headquarters, called Al Shera'a (Arabic for sail).
Twinview, a UK new entrant backed by Newcastle-based Space Group, launched their digital twin technology at the beginning of 2020 following three years of development. Great Portland Estates plc (GPE) has integrated its technology into its refurbishment of The Hickman, a Grade A office building owned and managed by GPE, with 5,100 sq ft of outdoor space, an on-site café, agile workspaces, and over 75,000 sq. ft of working space. Twinview uses sensors that are incorporated through the workplace and data feeds back to GPE’s smart workplace app, sesame. This provides continuous, anonymous feedback on occupancy levels, temperature, light levels, air quality, noise and energy use.
Digital twin technology is being deployed in commercial buildings, across both new construction and refurbishments. However, digital twin adoption is a marathon, not a sprint, according to the Digital Twin Consortium which has recently unveiled a maturity model for real estate and infrastructure stakeholders to guide implementation and to provide a long spectrum for leaders to measure their progress.
As specific use cases are proved to deliver ROI and positive outcomes, digital twins technology will gain credibility.