Workplace Technology Assessment
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By Dave Clifton
Workplace and building management have been the center for an explosion of technology recently. One of the fastest-growing segments is digital twin software. Companies have discovered the benefits of a digital workplace representation, and are continuing to realize the opportunities digital twins offer. That said, there’s a steep learning curve when it comes to information modeling, and digital twin software is no different.
For businesses to make the most of their investment in digital twins, they need a firm grasp of the software. This means not only learning how to use it, but also how to integrate it into everything from processes to other applications. With a fundamental understanding of how to use digital twin software, facility managers can focus on deploying it with better efficiency and effectiveness.
What is digital twin software?
Let’s start with the basics. Digital twin software is the bridge between data from the many connected devices in your office’s IoT and software and processes that use them. If the digital twin is a date model representation of your building, the software that’s used to govern it contextualizes all this data into facility-specific insights.
As a basic example, let’s say you use a hoteling system for your workstations. While hoteling software might know how many seats there are or the rules for booking a space, it’s drawing data from the digital twin to contextualize that interaction. It doesn’t just know there are three 10-person conference rooms—it knows which floor they’re on and whether they’re occupied right now based on data it pulls from the digital twin.
Digital twin software takes all the data from a smart building and puts it into a place where people, software, and processes can access it.
What is digital twin software used for?
The hoteling example above is one example of how digital twin software works. It’s designed to facilitate smarter action and oversight, no matter what shape they take:
- Optimization: What process or system can you improve to streamline the workplace?
- Improvement: What positive change can you make to something that’s deficient?
- Maintenance: What type of upkeep do you need to maintain efficient facilities?
- Innovation: What new opportunities can you explore to improve the workplace?
- Expansion: How can you grow and expand your facilities and their capabilities?
These improvements come from the three pillars of digital twin functionality: model, simulate, and manage. Every optimization, improvement, maintenance, and building oversight task run through a digital twin comes backed by data and insights that make it a smart one. Instead of relying on static data, digital twins allow decision-making and facilities management to be as real-time as the facilities themselves.
Investigate digital twin solutions
What many businesses need to realize about digital twin software is that it’s not often a prepackaged, out-of-the-box solution. Digital twins vary depending on the company, integrations, and IoT, which often means building it out from a foundational piece of software. For some, that’s as simple as connecting a few dots; for others, it means routing thousands of data streams into a comprehensive model and layering integrations to tap into those insights.
Deploying the best version of a digital twin means building one that meets the complexities of your facilities. Companies without IoT sensors might simply use digital twins for asset management, using manual input data. Conversely, companies with extremely intelligent buildings will program hundreds (or thousands) of automations into the system to control and capitalize on free-flowing data. This is why it’s so important to learn how to use the digital twin software you’re investing in. The degree of capability often equates to the degree of customization.
Invest in information modeling training
To get the most out of digital twin software, companies need to follow a few key steps:
- Investigate the options and choose software appropriate to your scale
- Designate a person or people to oversee the setup and deployment of the twin
- Invest in training and education for using the digital twin
- Hire or train data analysts and information modeling experts to capitalize on data
The digital twin doesn’t just need to paint a clear picture of facilities—it needs a human component that understands how to access and capitalize on these insights.
Think of a digital twin like a beautiful sports car. If you’re going to pay the money for one, you need to know as much as possible about proper upkeep, maintenance, and capabilities. If you spend thousands on a sports car with manual transmission and you only know how to drive automatic, it’s going to sit there looking pretty (but unused) until you learn. A digital twin is the same way.
Maximize the benefits of digital twin software
Knowledge is power. Companies that take the time to investigate digital twin software, make the proper investments, and learn how to use it will find stronger ROI in it. The ability to model, simulate, and manage real-world changes in a digital space is invaluable—but it only comes with mastery of digital twin software. Learn the fundamentals and understand the tools. Then, channel them into better governance of assets, people, and facilities.
Keep Reading: Digital Twins: A Revolution in Workplace Management