Digital twin campus initiative drives smart facilities management for Hong Kong Science Park
Location of the digital twin: Hong Kong
Project team: Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation & Chain Technology Development
As a statutory body dedicated to building a vibrant innovation and technology ecosystem, Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) spearheads the Hong Kong Science Park (HKSP), providing an environment for organisations to foster innovative technology development throughout the region.
The HKSP, a campus hosting 350 technology companies located along the Tolo Harbor waterfront, houses 21 state-of-the-art buildings covering 3.5m sq ft and still expanding. The technology clusters contribute to devising innovative solutions for a smart city. It is positioned to be a smart campus that is used by forward-looking smart city initiatives as a test bed and a living lab.
“We aim to collect valuable data to enable future innovation and leverage artificial intelligence (AI), big data management and Internet of Things (IoT) to create a smart campus,” Simon Wong, chief project development officer at HKSTP, said.
Specialising in big data analytics, Building Information Modelling (BIM) processes and hybrid reality modelling, CHAIN Technology Development, one of the incubatees of HKSTP’s LEAP programme, was retained to provide the digital twin solution, which the organisation called the Hybrid Reality Platform (HRP), for the HKSP. The project presents massive amounts of 2D object data and 3D geospatial data in varying formats, which have collected from IoT devices.
CHAIN utilises HRP to visualise, simulate, analyse and manage the IoT data amid continued infrastructure development and ongoing construction of the park. Such a complicated data management platform required technology that was capable of programming large-sized BIM objects and 3D reality meshes within a cloud-based platform and establishing digital workflows, components and context to drive the smart city initiative.
Interoperability establishes collaborative framework
To establish a 3D collaborative data infrastructure, CHAIN leveraged the power of Bentley BIM and reality modelling technology. Using MicroStation® provided the comprehensive 3D modelling environment, georeferencing capabilities and clash analysis features to accommodate the large files and ensure that the BIM models replicated the real-world environment.
With images taken from unmanned aerial vehicles, the team generated a reality mesh of the entire existing 22-hectare campus area with ContextCapture in two days. Bentley® OpenCities™ Map (formerly Bentley Map) established a location intelligence framework to georeference the 3D models and data objects. Bentley’s integrated modelling applications generated an accurate, georeferenced 3D map, providing the basis for a centralised digital campus platform.
Bentley’s BIM applications provided the modelling and analysis for the buildings and supporting infrastructure. Additionally, ContextCapture optimised reality modelling for both existing and new development areas of the park, facilitating accurate conceptual design and enabling dynamic 4D construction monitoring and management. The interoperability of Bentley software enabled the integration of sophisticated 3D digital maps, models, reality meshes and a wide range of geospatial data in varying formats to develop a connected data environment.
Realising the potential of digital twins from reality modelling
Reality modelling is providing new potential for digital capture and consumption. Incorporating IoT data and AI-powered analysis into the reality mesh, the team has established a cloud-based hybrid model that extends the application of reality modelling. All data can be geotracked and accessed in real-time in the model, transforming it into a georeferenced, intelligent data hub that expands the usage of reality modelling beyond construction design and monitoring to facilities management.
Combining big data analytics with reality modelling establishes the digital twin campus, which displays the various levels of temporal and spatial data needed to manage a building’s facilities efficiently in a unified dashboard. It allows facilities managers to operate and troubleshoot systems from remote locations, improving productivity and comfort of building occupants and eliminating energy waste.
Intelligent 3D data and simulation drives efficiency
The digital twin campus created by the HRP is a smart and dynamic 3D model that accurately represents the streets, buildings and public spaces. Compared to traditional 2D presentation, the reality mesh on HKSP’s hybrid reality models offers a more realistic 3D navigation but also a very intuitive way to access building documentation. Data from different IoT sensors around the park feeds into the model, which means that environmental status is updated in real-time. Therefore, HRP can provide real-time visibility of power consumption, water flow, construction and maintenance work of the HKSP.
In conjunction with Bentley technology, HRP can achieve space optimisation for temporary traffic arrangements and exhibition areas, which proposes safe routing for pedestrian and autonomous vehicles and enhances overall facilities management for signage, billboards and brand consistency. Operational staff can access real-time asset data on the platform, increasing maintenance efficiency for underground utilities, HVAC and plumbing facilities.
CHAIN has utilised reality modelling technology to capture the outdoor campus and has relied on the 3D data and visualisation features to perform spatial optimisation for security management and virtual tours for potential tenants. With a centralised 3D data hub and IoT energy sensors within the buildings, energy consumption can be tracked and reports will be generated to determine energy efficient policies. For security purposes, the number of CCTVs and the range of camera coverage can be adjusted by accessing the CCTV reality meshes and viewing the real-time image.
Lastly, being a large office park with numerous spaces for lease, the HRP has performed reality modelling on the existing indoor office areas. Potential tenants can take a virtual tour in an immersive digital environment to realistically set their expectations and choose an optimal space to fit their individual company needs.
With intelligent data collected through IoT devices and simulated using Bentley technology, CHAIN created a synergy between 3D reality modelling and instant IoT data access, transforming the HKSP into Hong Kong’s first digital twin campus. The HRP helps to improve efficiencies in project planning, design and implementation, and to reduce remedial works and enhance decision-making by establishing a connected data environment with AI and big data analytics.
Digital twin for a “smarter, digital Hong Kong”
The HKSP’s digital twin campus initiative was positioned to be a prototype of smart city management for the digital Hong Kong of the future. Using Bentley modelling applications as the foundation for its cloud-based platform, HRP achieved seamless integration with IoT devices and optimal technology performance that can be relied upon to pilot the science park as a smarter, digital community and help achieve Hong Kong’s smart city vision.
“Thanks to the support of HKSP, we have explored and tested many potential applications in our digital twin campus platform. Our hope is to turn the project of HKSP’s digital twin campus into a showcase for smart city solutions of Hong Kong. Hopefully, the hybrid reality platform becomes a centralised and geo-intelligent data hub for our future smart city,” Jackie Wong, head of business development at CHAIN Technology Development, said.
The digital twin solution for HKSP is a ground-breaking approach to fill the gap between construction modelling technologies and digital technologies to facilitate smart city management. Serving as an iconic project and valid role model in Hong Kong, HKSP’s digital twin campus is set to bring new opportunities, developing a range of applications that will optimise, enhance and improve all aspects of urban life.
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