The Smart Cities Council has released a draft blueprint to guide Digital Twin uptake in Australia and New Zealand, with further input from stakeholders being called upon to inform the final document.

Titled “Digital Twins, for all”, the current blueprint was drafted over a two year period with input from the SCC’s Digital Twin Task Force and others in industry and government with interests in the concept.

A Digital Twin in the context of the property industry is essentially a digital representation of the physical environment that provides data to guide better planning, construction and management.

“Our goal is clear — to catalyse a thriving Digital Twin marketplace in the region so we can activate data and create value for decision makers in the natural and built environments,” SCC executive director Adam Beck said.

“This document is not a strategy, but rather a resource that we hope informs policy-related activities by governments of all levels across the region as well as the work of our fellow industry bodies and professional associations.”

Interest in Digital Twins is taking off not just in the property industry but across a range of sectors eager to take advantage of its problem solving potential.

However, many remain sceptical of the technology’s value due to the inherent difficulty of recreating the physical realm and all of its intricacies, leaving room for potential oversights.

Digital Twin Challenge

With this in mind, the SCC also launched its Digital Twin Challenge, which will see participating groups advance a series of 13 projects with the aim of demonstrating the potential of the concept.

With an emphasis on collaboration and knowledge sharing, the projects range from strategy, data framework and project-level action plans, to landscape-based Digital Twins, GIS and IoT capability templates, as well as urban planning and design use cases.

“The Digital Twin Challenge is the only program of its type globally that is seeking to build a series of assets in a collaborative learning environment that will be shared openly for free for government and industry around the world to benefit from,” Mr Beck said.

“Working with our government project co-leads will be a range of private sector and academic peers, sharing their expertise in a collaborative environment to create the next generation of Digital Twin knowledge resources.”

Participating organisations include Sydney Water, Geoscape Australia, UNSW’s GRID Lab, the Office of Planetary Observations, engineering companies Beca, GHD and WSP, digital built-environment consultancy firm PCSG, FrontierSI and Thinkproject as well as city councils from four Australian states and New Zealand.

Mr Beck described data leadership and activation as key to meeting global commitments such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

The SCC is seeking to include as much stakeholder involvement as possible in its push for Digital Twin uptake, in order to make the risks and benefits apparent to all.

“We still have a lot of stakeholder engagement to do before we finalise the document and we hope that policy makers, practitioners and academics alike who are seeking a more sustainable natural and built environment provide feedback,” Mr Beck said.

The draft blueprint for stakeholder feedback is now available.

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