Articles
4
min read

What's better than a Digital Twin? A Thin Twin!

Written by
Hamish Thomson
Published on
April 27, 2023

A Digital Twin is a great concept – but what about the rest of the “family?”

Some may be familiar with the concept of the Digital Twin but others may still be wondering “what is it?”.

Gartner best describe it “a digital design pattern that represents a physical object with the objective of understanding the asset’s state, responding to changes, improving business operations and adding value”.


So why are organisations implementing a Digital Twin?

A digital twin is primarily created during the design and construction of new buildings – and is relatively new technology.  A digital twin provides digital information that enables better insights and analytics into the operations of a building including better planning and improving safety outcomes.

Chances are that the building you are sitting in does not have a digital twin.  It is likely that your building has received many refurbishments and extensions since it was first built and its plans are most likely not kept up to date.  Many older buildings have changed their function completely. In fact, every new tenancy will make design changes, alter interiors and many of these changes are only documented for fit-out purposes and potentially for emergency procedures (but not always). They typically sit with the Municipal Council, the Architect, the builder as hard copy but as we have found, rarely can you easily gain access to the digital version. This is because of the disjointed way in which version control of plans (or part plans) and their curation by building owners are kept.

Digital twin software is great technology for new builds but what happens to the older siblings the 98% of building stock?


Enter the “Thin Twin”

PlanStudio from Locatrix automates the creation of indoor floor plans.  By using geospatial technology, the import of base plans can be easily marked-up using its drafting tool features. PlanStudio is able to create your buildings floor plans within 1% accuracy.  Take a look at this video to see how:

 

Locatrix built this tool to speed up its own processes but quickly realised that they had solved a bigger problem.  Making the switch from a company that made the humble evacuation sign to becoming a software provider enabling its once competitors to use the software to create their own plans, now created digitally, open up opportunities for so much more.   PlanStudio is fast becoming a tool which enables visual asset management and a cheaper alternative to a digital twin, that being a digital “Thin Twin”.



This has been the welcome surprise in Locatrix’s story

“Realising that we had solved not only problem for us, but for anyone managing a building has been incredible.  The more people we listen to and understand their building management issues, the more problems we realise we are able to solve with this Thin Twin technology.  Not many can afford a Digital Twin but everyone can manage a Thin Twin – with the majority of Australia’s evacuation diagrams now drafted in PlanStudio, the work is most likely already done!.” John Hummelstad CEO of Locatrix.


One client of Locatrix who has adapted the use of PlanStudio for digital thin twin use is Dreamworld.  By using the drafting tools, Dreamworld have been able to create a thin twin of their entire site, showing where assets and infrastructure lay and connect from the outdoors to the indoors.

Find out more


PlanStudio is now used by the majority of the Fire Services Industry in Australia.  Locatrix has over 67 million sqm of indoor floor plans (as at April 2023 and growing) Locatrix intends to provide indoor floor plans free of charge to Emergency Services, ensuring that the most up to date plans are there to assist first responders when they are most needed.


“By providing digital information when it is critically needed, we believe that our software will save lives not only of the occupants but also of the first responders”

Hummelstad explained. 


PlanStudio continues to develop in response to the needs of its software partners.  The idea of a digital thin twin is to have a spatial repository of every aspect of a building, how it works, is maintained and the life cycle of this asset.  This begins with geospatially mapping the dimensions of the build and ensure all aspects of the physical is duplicated to the virtual Locatrix is enabling visual asset management twinning.

 

Our Roadmap is strong with brilliant ideas that come from our development team, our partners, clients, advisors and industry.  The concept of a digital thin twin is very useful we are interested in providing this functionality for those forgotten buildings which actually hold greater risk of experiencing significant emergency events due to their age and change of use over their lifetime.”

We see this all the time in the buildings that house the most vulnerable too:   Schools, aged care buildings and hospitals” John continued “We see so much possibility for the software and look forward to what the future shall bring”.


Ask your fire safety contractor if your evacuation plans are created in PlanStudio today.

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