Digital Twin: The Future of BIM (Part 1)

Digital Twin

Have you ever wondered what’s next after BIM Modeling Services? The answer might not be that surprising, but it will definitely catch your eye. “Digital Twin.” In this blog, we will be covering everything about virtual twin and its relation with BIM and exploring how they differ.

So, what exactly is Digital Twin?            

American researcher Michael Grieves first coined the phrase “digital twin” in 2002 while discussing product lifecycle management. He suggested that a virtual entity could be built to represent a digital model of a physical system, which would contain data about the real-time system and be connected to it during its entire existence. The twins’ synchronization might be maintained by constantly exchanging data between the physical and virtual worlds.

In layman’s terms, it is a 3D model of the physical object linked to its material entity through technologies like A.I. and IoT. What makes it unique is that any change in the physical object is also immediately reflected in its digital twin. The “twin” collects data from several sources, including analytics, algorithms, and artificial intelligence, in order to continuously learn more about the effectiveness, operation, or performance of the built or unbuilt counterpart project in the real world. It gives us real-time data to monitor the physical body from any location. The most common example of the same would be “Google Maps.” This virtual twin of the transportation network includes all feasible routes between locations and up-to-date information on road conditions (traffic, construction, police, etc.).

Talking about the AEC industry and construction sector, the digital twin consists of the following:

  • BIM models
  • 2D sketches and 3D models
  • Schedules & Agreements
  • Construction paperwork (i.e., submittals, RFIs, change orders, etc.)
  • Operational information gathered by the integrated sensors
  • Artificial intelligence data

Are BIM and Digital Twin the same?

A Digital Twin is not complete without BIM Services, but the idea is far more comprehensive. A BIM model’s primary job is to recreate the physical asset and all its associated properties, depending on the level of detail. At the same time, a Digital Twin is linked to the actual world by a “digital thread.” What further separates Digital Twin from BIM are some significant differences that we have discussed below: 

  • BIM keeps a database of the physical and functional characteristics of the components. Unlike Digital Twin, which maintains a database of its real-time operations.
  • Digital Twin focuses on how people interact with built environments in Digital Twin, whereas BIM emphasizes design and construction visualization.
  • BIM encourages reactive measures rather than real-time operational responses, which is the forte of Digital Twin. It gives a comprehensive real-time image of the structure and supports preventive solutions.

As discussed above, BIM and Digital Twin aren’t identical but independent concepts yet mutually dependent on each other. So, where does this interdependency lie? Check out our next blog, where we continue discussing the connection between BIM and Digital Twin, software that you can use to create and access Virtual Twins, and how it differs from simulations and point cloud to BIM and its contribution to the AEC industry.

Written By:
Akash Ramchandani
Akash Ramchandani is a jack of all trades, with his primary passion being writing. He is naturally bent toward the marketing aspect of writing and can come up with some of the most clever one-liners. Continually expanding his boundaries to the unimaginable, he is a well of curiosity who can steadily adapt to the required writing style.