🌇 Singapore has a digital twin city!
🌃 Amravati, a new capital of Andhra Pradesh, India will be the first city planned with its digital twins!
What is a digital twins?
A digital twin is a virtual model of a process, product, or service. It allows us to conduct data analysis, monitoring, testing, and implementing the system. It helps to identify possible faults, discover new opportunities or expedite processes before they are implemented in the physical reality. It basically is a test setup to lower costs and the chances of failing in the real world.
In the realm of smart cities, a digital twin is a virtual model of a city, a replica of the physical world. With digital twins, visualization of buildings, urban infrastructure, utilities, businesses, movement of people and vehicles is possible based on data collected on real-time bases.
What is Smart City?
A smart city uses digital technology like IoT (Internet of Things) sensors, video cameras, social media, drones, and other electronic inputs which act as a neural network and collect data. The insights gained from that data are used to manage city assets, resources, and services efficiently to improve the operations across the city.
👉🏼 The concept of a digital twin is not new.
Digital twin technology was first used by NASA. It is often impossible to be physically present in outer space and NASA needed to visualize, mend, update and monitor machines. Digital twin technology proved vital during the failure of the Apollo 13 mission. The engineers and astronauts were able to use digital twins to establish what was going wrong and to fix issues remotely.
A digital twins is recognized as one of the upcoming trends in Gartner’s Hype Cycle for emerging technology 2017 and 2020.
👉🏼 The concept of a smart city is not new either.
By 2050 two thirds of the world population will have migrated to cities.
Digital twins for the city is enabling large-scale application of concepts, which is possible now because of technological advancements like IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing, advanced analytics, semantic modeling, etc. Managing and maintaining complex systems and big data is becoming more feasible and cost-efficient.
The virtual copy gets richer from collected operational data to help with urban development.
How can digital twins help us create smarter cities?
Digital twins are powerful masterminds to drive innovation and performance. Cities like Lucerne in Switzerland, are already using smart technologies like digital twins in urban development.
Security and safety – Digital twins of the city empowers the better security of the citizens. By tracking the movement of people, suspicious objects abandoned in public spaces can be identified or 3D geofences can be created in specially protected areas. IoT sensors will monitor changes in the atmosphere in order to extinguish fire risks within buildings, assess water quality, and detect seismic activity and building safety to alert the relevant authorities.
Route and traffic design – You can see available parking spots, current traffic conditions, public transport, bicycle routes as well as dog walk, pedestrian and school route user levels as they happen. For example in Palo Alto CA implemented parking spot sensor detections to study traffic patterns and help with parking and traffic reduction.
Housing – Housing deficits to be identified and habitation solutions to be found for lower-income families, the necessary infrastructures.
Reduce pollution and greenhouse effects – IoT sensor devices can detect changes in temperature and brightness, then automatically adjust building heating and cooling systems as well as indoor and outdoor lighting in response. You can regulate factories by detecting the smoke level in the area.
A lot more research and thinking are going to figure out the benefits of digital twins for the cities. The better potential is yet to come. The sky’s the limit!