How we have progressed from CAD, BIM and now to Digital Twin

When CAD emerged in the early 80’s for many years it was debated what it was. Computer Aided Draughting or Design? There were strong opinions in both camps but in the end Computer Aided Design was fixed into history as the agreed definition.

So, our advice is to talk about Digital Twins today, use your imagination, and once you have a concept, please do reach out to Symetri because we would love to join the conversation and help you develop your ideas into reality.

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Moving from traditional drawing boards to digital drawing production

Since 2002 the construction sector has been progressively using the acronym BIM, once again there was initial debate, was it Building Information Modelling, Building Information Management, Better Information Management or even extended to Building Information Modelling Management, BIMM?

The debate was wider this time for very good reason. Where CAD, was predominantly a move from traditional drawing boards to digital drawing production, BIM was different, with multiple applications, more stakeholders, a keen focus on project and information management principles and lots more standards to provide consistency in outputs. Once again industry did fix on and popularise an agreed term Building Information Modelling.

Progressing towards Digital Twins

Today, the narrative progresses towards Digital Twins and there are of course questions on what makes a Digital Twin, but this time the focus is also about how it can be applied and the possibilities for the future. This is now about connecting new and emerging technologies, exploring, innovating, and imagining a new tomorrow. So, it should come as no surprise that this is an easier conversation for everyone to engage in, everyone can ask the question “Can we do this?” or “Is this possible?” whatever your age, experience, or position within an organisation, start to imagine how this could provide significant business or social advantages.

What is now needed?

You do not need to understand what artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning is, how the internet of things (IoT) works, what Gaussian process regression and deep neural networks are. The individuals with these skillsets are entering the construction sector and will support the development of solutions. What is needed is new ideas and a firm business case for investment, and this only comes from open conversations. The good news is this can be a fun experience that may feel like going into the realms of sci-fi but once an idea emerges and a purpose for a Digital Twin’s existence is established the conversation does not stop there. It is likely that once an initial idea has formed many other uses and applications may emerge, and the more individuals with different experiences and perspectives who join the conversation the more of these other use cases will be identified. Not all ideas will of course move forward but the ones that do will certainly be transformative and provide access to new data, insights and increasingly informed decision making.

Lets start discussions around Digital Twins today

So why should you be having discussions around Digital Twins today? It is predicted that the digital twin market will grow from USD 6.9 billion in 2022 to USD 73.5 billion by 2027; at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 60.6% from 2022 to 2027 due to emerging digital twins across many sectors (source MarketsandMarkets Research). Businesses are beginning to grasp the potential of digital twins after seeing the benefits of AI and data analytics and BIM, the latter considered by many as a foundation for a Digital Twin, so very simply put it is already an industry conversation.


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