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As the world becomes increasingly energy-conscious, the concept of smart buildings is gathering momentum after an underwhelming start. It is estimated that the global market for smart buildings will reach $176.9 billion by 2030. Smart buildings leverage an array of advanced technologies like digital twins and integrated systems like building automation systems to optimize energy usage, curtail carbon footprint, and enhance overall efficiency.

Read on as we dive into the significance of digital twins in the realm of smart buildings and understand the various stages of digital twin maturity.

Smart Buildings and Digital Twins – A Match Made in Heaven

Across the globe, high energy prices and the operational costs of running any business have diluted profit margins. While there is also the moral imperative to be sustainable, energy efficiency is becoming an absolute necessity. Such efficiency is only possible when businesses can know in real-time how their systems and utilities are functioning. Such real-time insight paves the way for higher efficiency and transparency at every phase of the building lifecycle, right from planning new construction, optimizing daily operations, or retrofitting existing buildings.

As carbon-neutral efforts surge in popularity, Digital Twins allow for the creation of an end-to-end virtual model of assets, processes, or services, enabling data-driven decision-making in smart buildings. By creating virtual representations of physical sensors, HVAC systems, lighting devices, thermostats, and more, Digital Twins pave the way for real-time performance intelligence and health analytics.

Built on the foundation of data, analytics, knowledge, and modeling, Digital Twins help smart building owners detect patterns, analyze problems, and give warnings in advance. Using Digital Twins in smart buildings, organizations can:

  • Create an exact virtual replica of building automation systems and simulate behavior to gauge its real-life functioning.
  • Track assets across their lifecycle, from initial concept design and engineering to full functionality.
  • Monitor and optimize usage of building management systems to reduce environmental waste and encourage sustainability.
  • Get a complete view of buildings, including how they operate, and drive efforts to continually optimize them.
  • Accurately predict when and for how much time a system will be in use and plan for optimal scheduling of maintenance and/or replacement.

Propelling the Digital Twin Maturity Journey

Many businesses today are looking to implement Digital Twin technology to transform their buildings into smart buildings but don’t know where to start. The first step to the successful adoption of Digital Twins is to understand the maturity journey. Like any modern-day technology, Digital Twins pass through a maturity cycle and evolve as it moves along. From learning from behavioral data to ultimately delivering powerful predictive and autonomous capabilities, here’s looking at the 4 R’s of the Digital Twin maturity journey:

  1. Representation Digital Twin: Organizations who embark on the Digital Twin journey often begin at the representation stage. Creating a 3D/VR/AR representation of any physical object virtually enables them to easily visualize complex smart building systems and plan for efficient and optimal usage of resources and assets – both pre- and during commissioning.For example, organizations can use Digital Twin technology to assess the effectiveness of their HVAC systems, optimize usage during low-occupancy periods, and save on energy and carbon emissions
  2. Replication Digital Twin: Organizations in the replication stage can create a digital replica of physical objects in a virtual environment. This allows them to quickly assemble, inspect, and navigate products virtually while also enabling faster and more economical reviews of product design.For instance, they can conduct remote evaluations of workstations and take steps to improve ergonomics, lighting, and energy and reduce carbon footprint.
  3. Reality Digital Twin: Organizations at the next stage of the Digital Twin journey have virtual devices that work independently. By mirroring the behavior and characteristics of their physical counterparts, these reality Digital Twins monitor, analyze, and simulate the performance of smart building components without any direct human intervention.For instance, they can analyze historical security data to identify patterns, anomalies, and potential issues and alert teams for quick remediation.
  4. Relational Digital Twin: The highest level of Digital Twin maturity enables autonomy, empowering systems to self-adjust to ambient conditions. Through continuous learning, autonomous closed-loop systems can sense, comprehend, and act on real-time data and take necessary action.For example, when combined with the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Digital Twins can spot anomalous behavior in sensors and take action to prevent an outage or avoid equipment shutdown.

Wrapping Up

In today’s day and age, carbon neutrality and energy efficiency have become a common topic of discussion in boardrooms. This has led to the increasing popularity of smart factories, smart buildings, and smart homes. But setting up these smart spaces requires a robust technology foundation, something that Digital Twins provides.

Digital Twin technology allows organizations to build a virtual replica of physical assets and make the right operational decisions. By constantly monitoring asset data in real-time, they can predict problems in advance, prevent downtime, and boost energy efficiency.

Whether you are looking to monitor and optimize energy usage, track your HVAC systems, improve space management, or streamline building operations and maintenance, we can help! We offer a range of Digital Twin services across consultation, development, operation, and deployment and pave the way for zero-emission excellence.

From digital audits to data analysis, model development to continuous maintenance, and system validation to POC deployment – learn how Pratiti can help you successfully embark on the Digital Twin journey and propel your organization to the highest level of maturity.

Nitin Tappe

After successful stint in a corporate role, Nitin is back to what he enjoys most – conceptualizing new software solutions to solve business problems. Nitin is a postgraduate from IIT, Mumbai, India and in his 24 years of career, has played key roles in building a desktop as well as enterprise solutions right from idealization to launch which are adopted by many Fortune 500 companies. As a Founder member of Pratiti Technologies, he is committed to applying his management learning as well as the passion for building new solutions to realize your innovation with certainty.

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