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Blog Digital twin: For buildings of the future

Digital twin: For buildings of the future

17. February 2023
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Ansicht Digitaler Zwilling auf einem Tablet

Digital building twin

Hardly any other topic is shaping industry and society around the world as strongly as digitization. In addition to products, solutions and services, digitization has already arrived in the field of building automation and technical building equipment. The aim is to digitize new buildings as well as existing ones, to simplify working methods and to fully exploit the efficiency potential of properties.

In the future, digital twins will form the basis for new construction as well as for building operation and expansion. They are the basis for Industry 4.0, Smart Buildings or Smart Cities and accelerate megatrends such as IoT, the Internet of Things.

Smart IoT products serve to link the real world and the digital cosmos. Digital twins not only offer maximum transparency, but also bring further opportunities and benefits such as the networking of products for intelligent communication, cross-system control and regulation, increased efficiency and high analysis potential. New service concepts such as predictive maintenance can also be realized with the digital twin.


What is a digital twin?

There are many different approaches to the digital twin, but one searches in vain for a clear and generally accepted definition. In principle, the digital twin refers to a digital copy or image of tangible or intangible objects, processes or services. Digital twins collect and visualize data using IoT products on an IoT or cloud platform. The collected data is presented in a vendor-neutral and uniform manner, enabling maximum data transparency. Digital twins thus provide analysis potential for increasing efficiency or tapping into additional services.

Digital twin of buildings

Digital building twins are also becoming increasingly important in the field of building and facility management – and rightly so. They are the virtual image of a physical building, including the entire technical building equipment (TGA) such as sensors and actuators as well as the building systems used.

The digital twin forms the basis for so-called smart buildings or buildings of the future. This is because data transparency, i.e. precisely understanding the building (its energy flow and space utilization), is the basis for smart and automated services.

IoT products such as LoRaWAN sensors are the prerequisite and can be understood as a bridge between real buildings and their digital image. A digital building twin consists of various components or products:

  • IoT sensors/actuators that detect and respond to any condition (temperature, CO2 content, …) of the building.
  • A uniform and thus vendor-neutral information architecture and data structure
  • A IoT platform (cloud platform) that processes and visualizes all data

Digital twins can be used to achieve a variety of benefits at every stage of a building’s lifecycle. These include, for example, shorter construction times, increased efficiency in building operation and thus lower operating costs, and a greatly improved user experience for building users.

Digital twin now also in practice

In theory, digital twins have been around for a long time, but in many areas they have not yet found their way to practical application. With our digital twin, we offer a practical, applicable and at the same time manufacturer-neutral solution for new buildings as well as existing buildings. The building twin is designed for the use phase of buildings and ensures efficient and transparent building operation. Building owners, users and operators (facility management service providers) are the main beneficiaries.

Via gateways (protocol converters) and IoT sensors, all relevant building data is collected and passed on to the pro.Building Suite IoT platform. The digital image of the physical building is displayed graphically on this platform and can be viewed and operated via a standard browser regardless of time and location.

The selected information structure gives the entire data pool the necessary uniqueness. The user can thus see directly from which property, which building, which floor, which meter or which ventilation unit a data record originates. A variety of protocols and standardized interfaces are available for connection to the in-house developed DEOS IoT platform:

  • LoRaWAN
  • Modbus
  • BACnet
  • M-Bus
  • MQTT
  • API
  • and many more.

Data forwarding to third-party systems, such as via the existing pit-FM interface, is also possible without any problems and can be extended on a project-specific basis.

How is a digital building twin created?

The areas of application for IoT and the digital twin are so diverse that the question of “why” should always be answered first at the beginning of a project.

Therefore, we always offer interested parties the conversation and demonstration of the DEOS building twin together with the experts of DEOS AG. This is where answers and goals are defined that are to be achieved through the use of a digital twin. Whether for energy reporting to save costs, uniform alarm management of all building services equipment, centralized and automated energy meter evaluation to avoid meter reading errors, or movement profiles for cleaning on demand – the digital twin gives building operators the transparency they need for efficient building operation and the ability to tap unused potential.

We will be happy to advise you personally and also help you with the implementation.

Interest aroused?

Then contact us! We’re glad to help.