The Evolution Of Commercial Office Developments Through Digital Twin
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The Evolution Of Commercial Office Developments Through Digital Twin

Nathan Lyon, Head of Building Technology, Investa
Nathan Lyon, Head of Building Technology, Investa

Nathan Lyon, Head of Building Technology, Investa

The Australian built environment is evolving. Across the sector, data-driven technology, specifically ‘digital twins’ are emerging as the backbone of good property management.

High speed connectivity, scalable processing power and cheaper, readily available sensor technology improvements has made it possible to roll out revolutionary technology across buildings on a mass scale.

The ability to combine historic and live data from an asset using ‘digital twins’ is shifting traditional models of building management, resulting in better occupant experiences and the provision of enhanced customer service.

Using the insights generated, building owners are well placed to undertake optimization works, pre-emptive building maintenance and make strategic, targeted capital works decisions.

With capital works across Investa’s $12 billion portfolio totalling circa $115 million in FY19 alone, digital twins have the potential to make a significant, material impact on the extent of investment required of asset owners.

The technology can also be used to reduce operating costs by providing a clear, ‘single pane’ view of disparate building systems, which limits time spent searching for information needed to rectify faults and further aids in stakeholder and tenant communication. Being able to identify faults and rapidly resolve disputes is key to achieving high customer satisfaction.

Digital twins replicate the thousands of physical components of a building in digital form.

They collate information supplied in a building’s design and construction phases – from architect’s drawings and engineering detailing, through to fixtures and fittings, warranties and service history

At Investa, the digital twin journey began more than five years ago. Having created a Building Information Model (BIM) for a number of our assets, we saw an opportunity to leverage the information to improve the facility management and operations at our assets.

Traditionally, much of this information is archived upon completion. Digital twins, however, store and combine this information with live operational data from plant and equipment.

We brought in a specialised team, Willow, to lead our digital transformation. With expertise in capturing, validating, structuring and managing data, the platform they created enables Investa to capture every piece of data across the entire building lifecycle. A real-time, interactive model of the building is generated, providing powerful insights and analytics that transform the efficiency, compliance, standards of construction and operation of a building.

This approach was used when we delivered Australia’s first commercial office digital twin at 567 Collins Street, Melbourne, which was designed to be used for operational management from the outset. Here the technology maps more than 57,000 building assets and takes feeds from over 14,000 live data points. Data held within the digital twin for this building was used to procure a host of maintenance services, with the same information being queried to help prepare the building’s capital expenditure plan.

Now onto our third Digital Twin project, 60 Martin Place, Sydney, the digital twin has been expanded to include interfaces to customer experience applications and to act as an integration layer between a number of independent systems, providing unparalleled access to a comprehensive data set, where third-party software vendors can safely connect. This Australian property industry first will drastically reduce the time and costs typically associated with multiple vendor integrations.

The next frontier for Investa is to leverage both portfolio-wide and single[1]building data to unearth rich insights that enable us to truly transform our assets.

In the future, we can expect to see asset owners and operators performing full scenario simulations on their assets using digital twins. When scaled across an entire portfolio this presents endless opportunities.

It also has positive consequences for the wider community, including helping emergency services plan and respond to incidents, and assisting urban planners and government bodies manage resources in real time.

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