The world today has entirely shifted towards a new era of digitization, where everything is digitized, from business operations across industries to everyday lives. And it is now turned to cities in order to build smarter, efficient and convenient cities. In this smart cities’ realm, the digital twin is playing a significant role by providing a virtual model of a city, meaning a replica of the physical world.
Digital twin is scattering from its traditional industrial origins to the smart city landscape, where it enables a more holistic approach of cross-vertical optimization of the design, management, and operation of urban infrastructure. Thanks to its cost-effectiveness and ease of use nature, the technology has gained a lot of popularity across industries.
While making a city smarter, architectural aspects such as housing, wireless networks antennas, solar panels, public transport, among others could be planned and assessed with the help of digital tools.
Need for Digital Twins of Smart Cities
For decades, cities have faced extreme challenges like congestion, pollution, and safety. However, as these issues continue rising day by day, other new threats such as cyberattacks, climate change, and more are also emerging.
Thus, the concept of the smart city through digital twins is more obvious as it is able to visualise the tempo of the city in real-time. This can make visual presentation of a city with layered data sources of buildings, urban infrastructure, businesses, utilities, movement of people and vehicles.
Digital twins enable the simulation of plans before implementing them and are revealing issues before they take place in reality. So, from urban planning to land-use optimization, it has the potential to oversee the city effectively.
How City Leaders Can Benefit from Digital Twin
The application of digital twins encompasses spatial modeling of the built environment, mathematical models of electric and mechanical systems, and real-time sensor data crowdsourced from IoT platforms. It can assist city leaders with everything, including flood risk modeling, optimization of renewable energy and traffic flows, occupancy tracking and evacuation simulations, and the generative design of city extensions.
Bringing this vital information on the city IT leaders’ table, it will easy to make better decisions, lessen risks as well as perform as a citizen engagement tool.
Furthermore, the digital twin of a smart city goes beyond the sensorization of 3D models and will become an urban platform for application development that can serve several different stakeholders. Afterward, cities can become more democratic as they have a vision of what is lacking in each community, enhancing their environment and their services.
Some Smart City Projects Using Digital Twin
Singapore is one of the most tech-savvy and more advanced countries in the world. Currently, the country has the smart city digital twins in progress, called Virtual Singapore. This is a dynamic three-dimensional city model and collaborative data platform, including the 3D maps of Singapore. The project offers its stakeholders the four main capabilities, virtual experimentation, test-bedding, decision-making and research & development.
Amaravati – A Greenfield Smart City
Amaravati, the new capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, will be the first city born with a digital twin. The initial 3D prototype of the city was built using Cityzenith’s Smart World Pro software, the world’s most advanced Digital Twin solution for buildings and cities. After completion, the state will rank among the top three digitally advanced cities in the world.
The use of digital twins across the world is growing. In the UK, post-graduate students from Newcastle University, working with Northumbrian Water, have built a digital twin of the city to assist it better address incidents and disasters. With this virtual model, the water company is able to run computer-generated simulations of incidents like burst pipes, heavy rainfall or serious flooding to determine the impact it could have on citizen’s homes and communities.
Thus, it is predicted that the concept of digital twins of smart cities will go beyond transformation and will soon become a reality at large.