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Digital twin industry effort kicks off

Peter Griffin, Editor. 01 June 2023, 12:10 pm

An industry partnership aimed at advancing digital twin technology has launched mirroring efforts across the Tasman to explore how digital twins can be used.

Digital twins are virtual representations of real-world objects, from buildings, hospital and electricity grids to complicated machinery and factories. They are seen as having huge scope to improve efficiency when it comes to industry 4.0 applications as well as managing infrastructure and for use in engineering and design work.

Digital twins were prioritised in the national Digital Strategy Aotearoa finalised last year, with a workstream for “national digital twin infrastructure and interoperability” in the strategy’s workplan for 2025, though no funding has been allocated towards it yet.

The latest development, the Digital Twin Partnership (DTP-NZ) is an industry-driven initiative with representatives from the likes of Seequent, WSP, Aurecon, and Jacobs leading the effort.

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“We face a myriad of big challenges and see the power that a Digital Twin approach can bring to helping solve these complex problems and informing better decision-making,” says Dr Kat Salm, one of the members of the DTP-NZ leadership team.

“We are also excited to affiliate with other DT groups in Australia and around the world so we can connect and share experiences and knowledge to strengthen our capabilities here in Aotearoa.”

DTP-NZ says it will focus on three areas to develop capability in digital twin tech:

Advocacy - To be the trusted source of knowledge and a leading advocate regarding the benefits and application of Digital Twin infrastructure across public and private sectors in New Zealand.

Capability - To build capacity through collaboration, innovation and standardisation, and act as a catalyst for leading Digital Twin policy making and practice.

Community - To bring together a diverse community of stakeholders to help share and learn about leading Digital Twin policy and practice, and to work together to solve problems at the macro scale.

The group says it will underpin its digital twin efforts with “Te ao Māori values that help to root us in our uniquely NZ context, including Kaitiakitanga (guardianship/stewardship/sustainability), Kotahitanga (collaboration), and Whanaungatanga (shared experience to foster belonging).”

In Australia, both the New South Wales and Victoria state governments have invested in developing digital twins to assist with infrastructure planning and operation.

DTP-NZ is holding a launch event on June 6 in Christchurch with another planned for the North Island in August. The DTP-NZ leadership team is also calling for expressions of interest for those interested in participating in its activities, which can be found on the website.


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