A digital twin, or virtual 3D model, of Hong Kong International Airport will help enhance operational efficiency. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
Digital Twins grew out of Building Information Modeling technology. A DT is a full-scale, three-dimensional building model that can be used to monitor infected cases within it in real time.
“In the real estate sector, a DT is a digital representation of a commercial building,” explains Sam Harvey-Jones, Colliers’ managing director of Occupier Services Asia. “The technology is in its nascent stage, but has the potential to transform the way in which the industry operates. Benefits include cost and efficiencies for existing building owners in the form of preventative maintenance, efficient inventory management, optimizing operations and 3D layouts facilitating virtual tours and surveys. For developers, it can provide benchmarks for project progress, structural integrity, quality control, safety, equipment optimization and sustainability.”
“With regards to COVID protection, we anticipate DT’s usefulness will become more apparent,” believes Greg Pearce, co-founder and managing director of One Space. “For example, a post-COVID designed building connected to its DT will act as a continuously learning life support system for the health and wellness of its occupants. It monitors user access records, social distancing at critical locations, elevator capacities and travel, and filters and other wellness critical systems. DT helps ensure that a building asset remains fit for purpose throughout its lifetime.”
Pearce thinks that the DT concept is well suited to Hong Kong, as the city’s digital connectivity is advanced and data centers are mature. “In dense urban areas, several buildings and their DT could be networked and interfaced to create smart blocks of energy efficient buildings and spaces,” he suggests.
Harvey-Jones feels that commercial real estate owners and investors of office buildings in the region would be among the first to deploy and benefit from DT. “As with all technology, its adoption as well as the volume and quality of data will be crucial,” he notes. “DT is an exciting new platform that could change the way we construct and manage buildings.”
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