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Industry Insights

WGIC Guidelines: Value Creation to Digital Twin Ecosystem

WGIC identifies guidelines and recommendations for the geospatial industry to continue to add value to the digital twin ecosystem.

Having invested in developing a digital twin, it becomes imperative to the stakeholders to demonstrate and continue to add value to the digital twin ecosystem. WGIC’s recent report on Spatial Digital Twins identified six such key areas of improvement. This blog enumerates WGIC’s guidelines and recommendations for the geospatial industry based on the research, interview feedback, and findings from engagements with SMEs.  

Avoid the bleeding edge 

We are often keen to go for the latest and high-end technology. Although this approach might be acceptable for personal use devices, when it comes to the scenarios referring to business (e.g., buying new software, device, machinery), it can lead to unwarranted results. First and foremost, buying, implementing, and integrating the latest technologies into your business can be disruptive and, most importantly, very expensive. The high degree of risk and expense defines the bleeding edge technology. To avoid the bleeding edge, WGIC recommends to 

  • ensure new technologies align with business requirements, and  
  • consider all stakeholders in any changes to inputs to the digital twin ecosystem. 

Work with clients to understand the business problem or organizational need 

WGIC believes that the industry needs to work with clients to develop a clear understanding of their needs and challenges. The next step is to move towards assessing the need for a spatial digital twin implementation. The necessity evaluation is crucial as otherwise, instead of bringing additional efficiency and cost-effectiveness, the new technology will create an additional burden for the business and even slow down the processes. 

Promote the use of reference frames and dimensional accuracy of models and sensor locations in digital twins 

WGIC highly recommends that companies in the geospatial industry put more effort into using the reference frames and dimensional accuracy of models and sensor locations in digital twins. Eventually, WGIC believes that 

  • this will unlock additional access through efficiencies improvements and other use cases, 
  • demonstrate how reference frames can benefit longer-term solutions and the community as a whole, and 
  • leverage readily available statistics on implementing digital twins to support your client and the end user. 

Understand that there is more to digital twins than the visualization aspect 

It is critical to understand that there is more to digital twins than the visualization aspect. A 3D rendering or a 3D city model does not qualify as a digital twin. WGIC defines a digital twin as a dynamic digital replica of a physical counterpart that provides up to real-time status and performance monitoring from sensors and observations. Spatial digital twins have a specific spatial context providing a holistic, dimensional, location-based representation of assets, infrastructure, and systems. 

Stick to definitions and reduce the use of buzz words 

The industry should navigate around in terms of internal and external communications and the design of business processes by sticking to the definitions. Synonym words for digital twins, such as the “mirrored world,” come into being generally because of the lack of a specific definition around the term “digital twin.” In addition, the use of buzzwords or jargon also leads to confusion. WGIC believes and recommends working to indoor standards by policymakers will certainly help resolve this lack of agreed-upon nomenclature and definitions. 

Embrace the digital twin future vision  

Digital twins are already transforming the world around them, but this technology hasn’t reached its full potential yet. WGIC believes that the opportunities based around digital twins are evolving fast. While a worldwide spatial digital twin aggregated from smaller digital twins may feel like a decent opportunity, the sooner preparations and development begin, the sooner the identified future vision will be achieved. 

The original content of the blog post is sourced from the WGIC Policy Report “Spatial Digital Twins: Global Status, Opportunities, and the Way Forward.”

Editors of the blog: Margarita Dadyan and Bhanu Rekha from WGIC