Industry 4.0

Digital twins are now enabling the ‘BIM with AI to twin with AI’ path: Digital Twin Consortium

Digital Twin Consortium (DTC) drives the awareness, adoption, interoperability, and development of digital twin technology. Through a collaborative partnership with industry, academia, and government expertise, the Consortium is dedicated to the overall development of digital twins. DTC accelerates the market by propelling innovation and guiding outcomes for technology end-users.

Here, Dan Isaacs, CTO, Digital Twin Consortium, Ron Zahavi, Executive Director, Digital Twin Consortium, and Ms. Salla Eckhardt, Co-Chair, Digital Twin Consortium Architecture, Engineering, Construction & Operations Working Group, discuss the details about digital twin in the building industry and more. Excerpts from an interview:

DQ: How has DTC advanced the use of digital twins in the building industry? Wasn’t this being done before?

Ms. Salla Eckhardt: DTC has defined what digital twins are, and are not in the building industry. The building industry has struggled with “BIM in operations” for a decade now, and digital twins are becoming the response to the need operations have.

Dan Isaacs
Pradeep Chakraborty | DATAQUEST Dan Isaacs

It is about the dynamic telemetry data, rather than static engineered data. Digital twins are providing preventative, proactive, predictive, and prescriptive answers to the building industry operators that have been very reactive up until now.

The static BIM data has provided the digital truth about the “perfect” built environment. Still, the built environment in operations and maintenance with the end-users has never remained perfect, balanced, or optimized because people make decisions ad hoc.

Digital twins are now enabling the “BIM with AI to twin with AI” path, because, we are enabling the accumulation of digital truth that doesn’t end at the digital representation of the built environment (buildings and infrastructure as structures). It continues as the digitally enhanced built environment (end-users, buildings, and infrastructure).

In short, digital twins are enabling the live metaverse environment, which no one had before because the industry didn’t have the technology to allow or realize this.

DQ: How can DTC influence standards and processes to advance the use of digital twins in building industries?

Ms. Salla Eckhardt: DTC does not develop its standards. And, instead, it works with other standards organizations to further develop and address gaps.

DTC and NIBS (National Institute of Building Sciences) have joined forces to develop the next-generation standards to empower re-engineered processes that advance the use of BIM and digital twins in building industries. BIM is a foundational component of digital twins in building industries, but so are GIS, reality capture, IoT, and IoA.

There are multiple standards and thus processes DTC can continue to influence as more and more collaboration and cooperation starts to happen between DTC and the standardization organizations.

As part of our continued ecosystem expansion, our numerous related liaison programs provide opportunities in multiple areas. For example, we are working with BuildingSmart (aligning with the ISO standards below), RealEstateCore, and DTDL for RealEstateCore are published by both organizations. We are working with RICS and other related areas involving standards across many areas. We are also kicking off an effort related to BIM integration.

Additionally, our AECO working group is directly involved in advancing the adoption of digital twins and enabling technologies through multiple channels, including new additions to the many deliverables already released on our public site:, such as white papers, webinars, Vlogs, and more.

DQ: How are you aligning horizontal work domains for adoption within vertical environments?

Dan Isaacs: Our Capabilities and Technology working group develops, shares, and pulls from the various vertical working groups (domain focused). The Digital Twin Consortium structure operates in a highly collaborative manner. Domain-specific Vertical Working group work-product and collective best practices are shared and, where appropriate, are utilized across all working groups.

Ron Zahavi
Pradeep Chakraborty | DATAQUEST Ron Zahavi

The horizontal “domains” include coverage of areas central to digital twins. These Capabilities span Security, Trustworthiness, Reliability, Resilience, Safety, Privacy, and foundational Platform Stack / Reference system architecture:

Glossary – Digital Twin Consortium (with a white paper soon to be released with example use cases illustrating the corresponding hierarchical relationships), and Interoperability, particularly from a system of systems perspective (another white paper in the works).

Other areas, including the Maturity Model and Composability frameworks, including the Capabilities Periodic Table concept (Capabilities Periodic Table – Digital Twin Consortium), provide an ideal example of a work product that brings unification and alignment at the Capability level across the vertical domains. We are adding this Composability Toolkit: Digital Twin Capabilities Periodic Table Toolkit Form – Digital Twin Consortium to our Open Source Collaboration Community: Digital Twin Consortium · GitHub, one of over a dozen projects for like-minded communities of interest upon which to build.

Another vehicle that brings this alignment forth, based on the horizontal domain elements prior described, is our soon-to-be-released Technology Showcase.

This showcase effectively is a reference library of Digital Twin Use Cases and Case Studies, emphasizing the transformational business outcomes and values provided across the digital twin’s life-cycle stages.

DQ: Have you created a joint-working group on BIM and digital twins to co-ordinate the existing standards, and develop new standards and processes needed to drive adoption?

Dan Isaacs: Yes, this is in the works.

DTC and NIBS are in the process of finalizing a collaboration agreement. We are now establishing joint-working groups. Members from both groups have volunteered and are participating on both sides, including the NIBS BIM Council chair and the National BIM Program Steering Committee chair.

DQ: What are the standards specifically involved? Also, processes!

Ron Zahavi: Here are a few global ones:

Pradeep Chakraborty | DATAQUEST Ms. Salla Eckhardt.
  • ISO/TC 267 WG 6 Technical Report ‘Digital, Data, and Technology
  • ISO/TC 267 WG 9 Organizational Approach
  • ISO/TC 59
  • CEN/TC 442 Space & Area Measurement
  • ISO 55000 applicable subjects
  • ISO 41000 applicable subjects
  • ISO 19650 applicable subjects
  • Defacto commercial standards (eClass, KNX, BACnet, Scada, ETIM, GS1, etc.).

DQ: How is IIC helping companies secure industrial automation and control systems?

Ron Zahavi: The IIC has published the IoT Security Maturity Model. The publication offers general maturity guidance, which organizations can extend through profiles and mappings.

We recently published the ISA 62443 mappings. The mappings allow an organization to select its maturity targets using the SMM. Depending on their role (product supplier, asset owner, systems integrator), use the mappings to identify the controls they should implement to meet their desired investment level and security needs.

We have also published the Digital Twin SMM profile (a collaboration between IIC and DTC), which extends the SMM guidance to digital twin systems.

Together these artifacts allow an industrial manufacturing organization implementing digital twins to use the profile to determine their target and then use the mappings to determine what controls to implement.

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