Linda Wade, CEO of the visual digital twin platform, Spinview, explores how visual intelligence can unlock the value of buildings and infrastructure data and contribute to sustainable built environment goals

The past decade has seen a rapid digital transformation within the construction industry; improving and streamlining processes and increasing efficiency. Building Information Modelling (BIM) has helped enable this shift, allowing architects, project managers, and teams to better visualise design and construction.

Today, there are more advanced technologies available than ever before: enabling better sustainability strategies and providing greater accuracy and precision to help meet environmental targets. This is predicated on proper implementation of immersive technology, including comprehensive digital twins of real-world environments that visualise environmental, as well as geospatial, data.

The built environment is responsible for around 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint. While these new technologies are important for improving business processes, they’re crucial in meeting and reporting environmental impacts such as utility performance, waste management and recycling practices.

Holistic corporate sustainability pledges

Climate change and sustainability have become two of the most important challenges facing businesses in 2022. Sustainability is now more than just a buzzword: it is codified into laws requiring full disclosure of the business’s impact on the environment.

With world leaders speaking out on the impact of climate change at major global events such as COP26, businesses are forced to take their corporate sustainability pledges a lot more seriously. If it wasn’t at the top of the agenda before, it certainly will be now.

Many Corporations are now embracing digitization as a two-pronged approach: one that enables them to improve processes and efficiency, an another that, when adopted correctly and aligned with wider business goals, provides the ability to work more sustainably and work towards achieving long-term environmental targets.

The Visual Intelligence Ecosystem

Visual Intelligence (VQ) combines many streams of data, some traditional, some volumetric, with immersive technology to transform data into understanding and insight.

Cutting edge technologies, such as digital twins and environmental scanners or ‘sniffers,’ capture large volumes of seemingly disparate data – for instance, CO2 emissions, thermal imagery and point clouds – and fuses them into integrated visualizations, turning data into meaningful, actionable information.

Digital twins are increasingly becoming a necessity for building design: as they are ever-advancing technologies, they can ultimately capture the data from a real-world environment to replicate it digitally in the form of a ‘digital twin’; a computerised real-time version of an environment, infrastructure, or space.

With this powerful digital twin technology, companies can capture and transform the world around them to deliver more sustainable, safer and smarter environments and help address sustainability challenges.

Visual intelligence unlocks the value of a building, allowing asset managers to ‘see’ the full health of space and identify where effective sustainable measures can be integrated e.g. to help reduce carbon emissions.

Digital twins can make the “invisible realm” visible

Accessing volumetric data is important but comprehending that data and making it accessible is the key. Digital twins, with the right data feeds, can make the “invisible realm” visible.

Linda Wade

This is made possible with Light Detection and Ranging technology (LiDaR), thermal and hyperspectral imaging, and an assortment of other advanced sensors which measure pollutants, VOCs and greenhouse gases; the technologies capture what is invisible to the human eye but which impact the health of a building and its inhabitants. This enables the tracking and extracting of value from that data to better understand the environment in a richer, deeper and more actionable way.

Ultimately, the built environment sector is steadfast in embracing digital twin technology. With this technology – and the overlay of software and tools that can bring Visual Intelligence – the sector can capture and translate the vast amounts of environmental data needed to alter behaviours in order to address the climate crisis. We must continue on this trajectory if our industry is to make a positive impact on the nation’s overall carbon footprint.

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