Predicting and foreseeing future events
Although the 21st century is predominantly marked by technological progress and social and economic development, it is also an era of unprecedented global challenges. Global issues such as overpopulation, climate change and cyber attacks, give rise to constant duress within urban areas.
“If you are living in a city, you experience several levels of dangers. We are living in a time of climate change, more and more smart grids, complex problems when it comes to distributing energy. More and more cities are turning into mega cities, leaving critical infrastructures under stress, and we are living in a time frame when cyber attacks are more or less mainstream.” – SIM-CI CEO Igor van Gemert
As cities continue to increase in size and their older infrastructures are often under considerable strain, finding innovative ways to cope with these global challenges is crucial. The ‘Digital Twin City’, a virtual replicate of a city and its networks, is a groundbreaking concept that can help us predict and foresee future events and scenarios.
Bridge between the physical and digital realm
As explained by Forbes Magazine, digital twins can be seen as a “bridge between the physical and digital world”. By turning data about a physical object into a model, and turning this model into a visual representation of the object, we gain access to new ideas and insights. Imagine creating a virtual copy of a heavily congested traffic area or underground water structures, for instance; by mapping out all the relevant data points, we can see exactly where mobility issues arise and which improvements need to be made to resolve or, even better, avoid these issues.
If this concept is applied to an entire city or region, rather than just one static physical object, the benefits are even greater. Creating a digital copy of a city allows us to accurately mimic its vital infrastructures, such as the transportation, gas, energy and communication networks.
Preparing for high-risk situations
Using the virtual copy, we can run a staggering number of scenarios and simulations. When hosting a city-wide event or dealing with extreme weather situations, predictive risk analysis and maintenance could be life-saving. Visualizing which areas could get overcrowded, which networks could fail in case of a cyber attack, or which buildings would be in danger in case of flooding, enables one to prepare for high-risk situations.
Preventing vulnerabilities from being exploited has a myriad of social, economic and environmental benefits. And digital twins do not just help mitigate existing risks or hazards; we can also use this technology when designing new cities or urban areas that will be built in the future. By implementing this technology in our city planning and keeping durability in the back of our minds at all times, we are able to build societies that are resilient by design. As stated by Apiumhub:
“Digital twin technology has the potential to radically change the design, manufacturing, sales, and maintenance of complex products in multiple industries.”
Although this might seem like a futuristic idea at first, the rapidly decreasing cost of Digital Twin technology is quickly making the high-tech solution more accessible. Singapore is one of the latest examples of virtual twin regions, as the entire country is currently being fully mapped out in the digital world. However, it is not just Asia where this technology is gaining ground. SIM-CI has already implemented the Digital Twin City concept in several of its services and is now applying the technology to urban and metropolitan areas in the Netherlands.
Financial, environmental and social benefits
SIM-CI’s models can incorporate a wide array of data sources, which in turn allows for different scenarios to be run. Using our Digital Twin city technology, we are able to determine when a city’s gas and electricity networks will needing maintenance, replacements or repairs, which allows for a sharp decrease in maintenance costs. SIM-CI is also able to evaluate the current and future capabilities of mobility and telecom networks. As disruptions in people’s day-to-day lives or in the wider economy can have huge consequences, being able to prevent these disruptions is absolutely key. The self-evident financial benefits are not the only advantages of Digital Twin cities: sustainability, durability and ecological interests also play an important role in what this technology has to offer.