I Built a Digital Twin of My Home in Lockdown

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James Litjens

James Litjens

Associate Director of Emerging Technologies Arq Group. james.litjens@arq.group

I Built a Digital Twin of My Home in Lockdown

I'll Show You How...

Hi, I’m James. I live in Melbourne, Australia and we’re currently under stage 4 lockdown. It means curfew restrictions limit my movements and the majority of my time is enjoyed at home. On the plus side: life under lockdown means zero time lost in commuting to work. Lockdown has created new efficiencies, giving me back time I’ve never had before, or thought was possible. Now I have time for other things, and this got me thinking.

I work for an Australian tech company (ARQ Group) as Associate Director of Emerging Technologies. It’s an awesome job, given I’m paid to research and anticipate what’s coming around the corner in tech. The Arq Group Emerging Technology practice sits between cutting-edge innovation and mainstream technologies. I’m tasked with identifying and adopting technologies that progress into the growth stage. Think bleeding edge innovation way out on the fringes, followed by cutting edge technology, that evolves into the mainstream growth stage. This is where the technology has been validated and deemed commercially viable.

 

And while I’m neck-deep into cool tech like AI, machine learning, augmented reality, the internet of things and chatbots (to name a few), there’s a new buzzword in tech that’s gaining the limelight…

“Digital Twins”

Remember the name, for you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more of it.

What is a Digital Twin?

As the name implies, it’s a digital replica, a virtual model of a physical (real-world) thing. That “thing” can be a process, product or service; be it a building, a vehicle, a train line network, or an entire city.

The term was originally coined by Dr. Michael Grieves (University of Michigan) in 2002 and NASA was one of the first to use digital twins in space exploration missions. Maintaining and repairing systems in space when you’re on Earth was the first use of the technology by NASA. Digital twins was how NASA rescued the Apollo 13 mission.

Today digital twins are considered the next big thing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the development of new products, processes and the optimisation of existing.

Digital Twins: How Does It Work?

Digital twins connect the real and virtual world by collecting real-time data from installed sensors. The collected data is stored in the cloud and simulated in a virtual copy of the asset. Information from the simulation is then applied to the real asset.

The integration of data in real and virtual representations helps optimise performance of real assets.

Remember the countless times you’ve seen entire city office floors illuminated at 1am?

With a digital twin, lights can be programmed when not in use and ambient temperatures regulated for optimal comfort and cost. But it’s not only cost-savings…

Digital twins technology enables the manufacturing industry to simulate machinery (yet built), by replicating real-world physics (and wear and tear) to determine which parts would likely fail first, and when. This opens-up a world of preventative maintenance intelligence helping avoid costly downtime for the mining industry.

Remote monitoring is a big advantage made possible with digital twin technology. It allows accurate, real time monitoring, reducing the need for travel and increasing safety. Consider use cases like mining sites: underground or high elevations requiring safety equipment, telecommunication and utility companies.

Digital twins are hot, and they are only getting hotter…

In this mini-series of emerging technology trends, we’ll be covering:

  • Digital twins in real world examples. Practical applications and case studies. 
  • How you can build your own digital twin for your business for less than $50K AUD. 
  • ARQ’s four phase approach to implementing Digital Twins, improving performance and efficiency at every stage of the value chain.

Digital Twins: In Lockdown

Back to my story under lockdown…

Introducing my digital twin one bedroom apartment in Melbourne.

If you’ve ever played The Sims computer game, it looks and feels similar – but so much more. I recorded a video walkthrough you can watch to see the interactivity and functionality live. It’s next-gen stuff that brings The Sims world right into your living room.

In this video you’ll discover:

  • How I built a digital twin in 6 weeks. 
  • What I needed to build a digital twin.
  • How to save running costs. 
  • Which machine consumes how much power and when. 
  • How to use lights to notify family I’m on a video conference call. 
  • How I know exactly when the plants need watering. 
  • How the weather forecast automatically prevents over-watering the garden. 
  • How the home knows when we’re cooking and adjusts ambient temperatures. 
  • How I’ll never leave wet clothes in the washing machine again.

Digital Twins: What's Next?

In the next series we’ll delve into real-world examples and case studies on how digital twins help enterprise and government with city planning, managing airport traffic, to emergency management and underground mining.

I welcome your comments or questions below. If you found value in this post, please share within your network. Likes are also appreciated – thank you.

At the end of this mini-series I’ll be hosting a live webinar on digital twins and welcome your participation. Reserve your spot below.

James Litjens is the Associate Director of Emerging Technologies at ARQ Group. When James isn't leveraging tech for clients or delving into what's hot, he's building his own mobile apps, competing in triathlons and playing the drums in his apartment (at 1 am). Ever-so-considerate, James wears headphones when playing his electric drums. James' real drum kit is stored in a secret location with no neighbours. You can reach James at: james.litjens@arq.group

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