Getting to Real Estate 4.0 with Digital Twins and Building Lifecycle Intelligence


Named as one of Gartner’s top 10 strategic technology trends for 2019, “Digital Twins” are among the most anticipated technologies for the construction market. But what do people mean when they talk about digital twins? And how do they generate value for building managers and users? Spacewell’s white paper explores key issues around real estate digital twins.

A Digital Twin is basically a virtual replica of a real-world object or system across its lifecycle. In the building space, you may look at digital twins as a natural evolution of Building Information Modeling (BIM) which digitally represents the ‘as-built’ environment. BIM constitutes the foundation for the creation of a real estate digital twin. Mainly because of the explosion of real-time sensor data, BIM models can now become dynamic, up-to-date twins that mimic the real-world behavior of buildings over their lifetime. This is not limited to physical factors but extends to the modeling of occupancy and utilization, occupant experience, ecological impact, etc. As the data grows in volume and complexity, data science and AI are becoming increasingly important to connect and interpret it..

The low-hanging fruit for real estate digital twins for the moment is largely in predictive maintenance and energy efficiency. Over time, though, we believe the real value of real estate digital twins is in elevating the occupant experience. Autonomous digital twins – with the help of self-learning algorithms and myriad data points – will become increasingly better at predicting want occupants want and will automate this optimal situation by default. Personalized environments and recommendations will further enhance the experience. Digital twins are also likely to become valuable assets in their own right. The building lifecycle intelligence from digital twins is going to be incredibly useful to building owners and operators, as well as to architects, planners, and construction companies in other stages of the building lifecycle. For example, the utilization data of buildings can be used by designers and architects to improve their designs, based on insight into how the building is used over time (and not on how they imagined it would be used). This creates a positive feedback loop in which best outcomes can be used as inputs for (parametrical) design.

If you are interested in learning more, download the white paper here.