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Digital Twins for Smarter Cities

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What are digital twins and how do they help cities become smarter? In this webinar – “Digital Twins for Smarter Cities” – speakers from Bentley Systems, a GeoWorks GeoPartner, and Microsoft discussed the importance of digital twins and on applying this technology in support of city planners and operators that seek to optimise space, drive sustainability, respond to disasters and make cities more responsive to the needs of their citizens. 

Held virtually on 9 March 2021, the speakers – Jakub Wachocki from Bentley Systems and Rahul Savdekar from Microsoft Corporation – shared insights and covered strategies and best practices for creating a virtual representation of physical environments and simulating that environment’s performance for decision making. The discussion was jointly organised by GeoWorks, Bentley and Microsoft.

In his presentation, Jakub who is the Director of Success Advisory for APAC at Bentley Systems, spoke about digital twins in the context of cities and about initiatives on National Digital Twins taking place around the world. “We know that the future is urban and that more and more populations are living in cities. Therefore, there is a big pressure on cities such as Singapore and others especially those with limited space. In Singapore, for instance, we can only go up or down. We can optimise the use of the city assets,” said Jakub, citing data from a UN DESA report on world urbanisation prospects which showed that about 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities by the year 2050. At the same time, however, he said that cities are becoming more connected. “For example, citizens are connected with each other, services are connected with each other and infrastructure assets are also becoming more and more connected with each other,” said Jakub, adding that Bentley has been particularly focused on infrastructure assets. 

bentley.pngJakub Wachocki from Bentley Systems spoke about digital twins in the context of cities.

Digital twins, according to Jakub, are about bringing the “physical world and the digital world together to be able to make more informed decision-making and prescriptions towards actionable events within the real world.” During the presentation Jakub highlighted the City of Helsinki’s digital twin. The city, he said, is “building an evergreen digital twin for looking at new interventions and bringing them together with existing assets to make sure that we can better understand how the new interventions will affect the city”.

In his presentation, Rahul who is Director - WWPS ASIA Industry at Microsoft Corporation, spoke about leveraging digital twins. “I think it's the models, the relationship between people, places and devices that really drive the efficacy of the digital twin,” said Rahul who leads federal and local government industry digital transformation solutions across Asia Pacific and Japan, helping cities and governments build and deliver smart solutions around connected governments, sustainability, smart cities and urban mobility. During his presentation, he spoke about building next generation IoT solutions with Azure Digital Twins. 

microsoft.pngRahul Savdekar from Microsoft Corporation spoke about leveraging digital twins.

He also said that when one looks at digital twins as a platform, it is important to look at how data gets captured across businesses, cities and various systems. “How does that data really provide us insights through the synthesis of data from an analytical purpose? And how do we really look at those insights that we obtain from these cities and specifically the data that has been created and generated across so many systems to fuel our simulation requirements?”

“It is also important to see how the physical world is gelling with the digital world with so many devices, spaces and people connecting from the systems, context and processes from an experiences standpoint. It's basically a combination of so many of these factors which basically help you derive the maximum value from the digital twin system,” said Rahul who has been featured on three occasions in the “50 Most Impactful Smart Cities Leaders” global listing by the World CSR Forum. 

View recording here.