A digital twin is the digital replica of a physical asset. It can be used to help manufacturers test the stresses and tolerances of their products.
It can monitor the physical integrity of major infrastructure, like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or help plan the production process and programme machines.
When constructing a building, architects and engineers rely on Building Information Modelling (BIM), an intelligent 3D model-based process that uses data to provide the insight necessary to efficiently plan, construct and manage infrastructure. But what if BIM could be expanded to include an entire city? This is the objective of City Information Modelling (CIM).
City Information Modelling is the development of digital representations of a city comprised of large quantities of data – including real-time data – which enable better city planning and management. It is a giant system with various types of city information, from the natural environment to infrastructure to human activity. It is a management tool that can be used by government, industry and residents to help them better understand their city and how it can be improved.
Benefits of CIM
CIM can help with city planning and city management. City planners can better understand the potential positive and negative results of a given option, see what the city will look like and identify what happens if something is changed. City manager can observe what is happening at a given moment in the city and what needs to be fixed.
CIMs provide many benefits for smart cities. For example, by providing the rapid acquisition and analysis of city data, CIMs can help city managers make decisions, improve citizen participation in urban management and help industry improve its service offerings.
As a result, city infrastructure can be better monitored and managed. Safety can be improved with real-time traffic information. Driverless vehicles can be deployed using the holographic environment containing data on traffic conditions and infrastructure provided by the CIM. Electricity grids can be managed more efficiently with accurate information on electricity load and remote control. Should a disaster strike, emergency staff can collect information and respond effectively.
However, to obtain the full benefits of the CIM, it must be compatible with every other aspect of the city so that city management can be fully integrated.
Gathering and analyzing the data
CIMs rely upon huge volumes of data as well as the effective management and analysis of the data.
Data is provided using a combination of BIM and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Real-time data can be obtained through extensive use of IoT sensors placed throughout the city. This large volume of data is then brought together using cloud computing for storage and access. Artificial intelligence offers the analysis of the data and can generate different scenarios to help manage the city better.
These insights gained through the CIM can be used to continually improve the operation of the city for the well-being of its residents.
The IEC has set up a systems committee, SyC Smart city, with the aim of fostering the development of smart city standards in the area of electrotechnology. It promotes the collaboration between the different IEC technical committees as well as other standards development organization and offers a systems analysis to standard development.
SyC Smart city is in the process of collecting and analyzing use cases with the intention of developing the requirements for potential CIM standardization work.