Digital Twins

The University has received funding of £5.4 million from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), via Innovate UK, to support the creation of a Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) at the University of Cambridge. The Centre will be focusing on the ongoing transformation of the built environment through the digital tools, standards and processes that are collectively known as Building Information Modelling (BIM). Professor Duncan McFarlane and Dr Ajith Parlikad are both Co-Investigators of this Centre.


As part of this, DIAL is embarking on the development of a ‘Digital Twin’ of the IfM building and the West Cambridge site to demonstrate the impact of digital technologies on facilities management and wider productivity and well-being. This will include multi-layered information models to integrate heterogeneous data sources, support intelligent data query, provide smarter decision-making processes in Operation & Maintenance (O&M) management, and further bridge the gap between human relationships with buildings/regions via more intelligent, visual and sustainable channels. The dynamic digital twin will be supported by an as-is IFC Building Information Model (BIM) and data from the facilities management systems and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and devices.


The goals are to:

  • demonstrate the impact of digital modelling and analysis of infrastructure performance and use on organisational productivity;
  • provide the foundation for integrating city-scale data to optimise city services such as power, waste and transport, and understand the impact on wider social and economic outcomes;
  • establish a ‘research capability platform’ for researchers to understand and address the major challenges in implementing digital technologies at scale; and
  • foster a research community interested in developing novel applications to improve the management and use of infrastructure systems.

The project partners are Bentley Systems, Topcon and Redbite.


Contributed by Ajith Parlikad

Date published

1 February 2018

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