What is a Digital Twin and why you need one. (3/3)

Today, we explore the concept deeper and check all the digital twin benefits for facility management and construction projects.

This article is the third part of a weekly series about the digital twin technology. What is a digital twin, what is Beamo's take on it and why do you even need one. Today we explore the digital twin benefits.

In my prior blog, I explored Beamo’s take on the digital twin. With that out of the way, I’d like to investigate the concept furthermore and define the digital twin benefits for facility management and construction projects.

Why do you even need a digital twin? (3/3)

Spatial intelligence is the ability to “generate, retain, retrieve, and transform well-structured visual images”. For Beamo, at the end of the day, the digital twin is all about knowing and understanding how your portfolio of spaces is structured, occupied, and used at all times, without going onsite. The goal is to capture your spaces, augment them and collaborate better within them.

You can think of the digital twin as the best way to synchronize spatial knowledge and ensure it is unified across all users to provide a contextual and synthesized knowledge platform; a repository of intelligence or wisdom – an actionable, integrated understanding of the space.

So, what are the digital twin benefits?

Depending on the digital twin, it serves multiple applications and uses cases such as:

  • Onsite and remote Inspections
  • Work progress monitoring and task management
  • Maintenance support and self-assistance
  • Training and Safety
  • Project Management and Facility Lifecycle Management

All these use cases can be brought back to three interconnected categories: space, data and people.

Manage space

The word spatial comes from the Latin “spatium” meaning “occupying space“. Interestingly, within some major organizations, the Facility Management or property team simply does not accurately know how a space is occupied, the number of floors or rooms, or the equipment they contain, not from the lack of trying. Indeed, when managing a large portfolio it is not uncommon to have rooms that remain uncharted without having to go onsite and check directly. These blind spots are a nightmare to manage on a global level: organizations might be paying rent and utilities unnecessarily, or paying ongoing maintenance for unused equipment, impacting not just an organization’s bottom line, but also sustainability, productivity, and safety objectives. At the end of the day, it results in discrepancies between what exists onsite and what is documented offsite.

One of the main digital twin benefits is to improve space management. The first step is to ensure that facilities managers are on the same page across the property portfolio. This necessitates a platform that is centralized and enterprise-ready by design so that it can be leveraged across different departments and different regions. The second step is to implement a simple and consistent way to capture space accurately and as frequently as needed.

The capturing solution should scale and support a snapshot system where it is easy to capture a full or partial version of the digital twin at the desired interval. The snapshot must have a good photographic fidelity of the place, high enough to be able to check small details but without hindering performance. Different snapshots can then be compared through time to check differences. We found the imagery from off-the shelves 360 degrees cameras work quite well when coupled with a specialized survey kit.

Manage information

When it comes to leading successful projects and fostering efficient collaboration within facility management, one of the main enemies is information disparity and lack of accuracy. In a data-driven decision-making world, collecting, organizing, and displaying the relevant information is the ultimate competitive advantage.

As industries race toward their own digital transformation, transitioning from paper to digital documentation has become one of the main maturity level indicators for organizations. However, intuitive repositories that let you easily retrieve and access digital documents are hard to come by in the construction and facility management industries. Indeed, one of the main requirements is that the documentation needs to be available onsite, at will.

The ideal digital twin technology should help you aggregate and organize three different types of information: documents, data and tribal knowledge.


To ensure the integrity of facilities recordkeeping, numerous documents are needed such as floor plans, work and maintenance reports, facilities handbooks, and manuals. Not surprisingly, 95% of this information currently exists on paper, meaning that when a Plant Manager retires, valuable information sitting in his filing cabinet could disappear. Also as corporate documentation size doubles each year, there is a real risk of misplacement in siloed repositories, duplication, and folder sprawl.

Curating documents in a spatial repository that mimics reality and provides context is key. Files can be uploaded or linked from an external database directly into the Digital Twin, documents attached to a specific site, floor, room, and equipment. This way, you will be able to retrieve information where you expect to find it, attached to a specific location, and not in some obscure folder organization. You can just virtually walk to a machine and display all the necessary documentation in context.


The physical world is awake and transmitting data to the cloud through IoT and IIot sensors. While the data is captured, compiled, versioned, and accessible in real-time, there is no visual context to the data in relation to the physical space. By integrating sensor data directly into the digital twin, it is easy to take a pulse of your facility and monitor the health of your assets in real-time. With spatial data, FMs can ensure that everyone can access and base their decision-making on the same data across the whole organization within the context of where the data is generated.

Tribal Knowledge

With 50% of the skilled workforce about to retire and a new generation of workers with job-hopping tendencies, it has become critical to preserve tribal knowledge – any information sitting in someone’s head, that is unwritten or not commonly known by others within a company. With so much knowledge segmented across different teams, individuals play a valuable part in this modern tragedy, which is also as old as the hills.

Nobody knows what is going on in those very critical places without physically going there. Onboarding new team members is tedious and require repetitive explanations from team leaders (how to access points on the factory floor, where they can find different equipment, etc.). And when the workforce is time-constrained, you cannot go everywhere, you cannot teach everybody. The challenge is to collect, organize and make the information that otherwise would be lost with time, accessible to everybody.

The key is a spatial repository that is intuitive and serves as the single source of truth where tribal knowledge is captured, collectively. By linking tips, tricks, and daily know-how to the places and things it belongs to, bridging the gap between information and wisdom, making it available for current and future generations of employees.

Manage people

The lack of communication between offsite and onsite coupled with a growing skilled resources shortage has become the number one concern of global industry leaders, especially during the pandemic.

On one hand, alignment between the stakeholders, external or internal, is key when managing complex projects. On the other hand, with current travel restrictions and as people safety is placed at the forefront of the companies’ concern, there is not always an expert available to go onsite and check facilities conditions or work progress.

The key is a digital twin that allows onsite resources to capture the spaces and collaborate with distributed teams to survey, review, manage and make decisions.


There are many digital twin benefits that are not listed here. And just like in others emerging fields like cybersecurity or IoT, you don’t actually need a Digital Twin to perform your job…until you do. The need arises when people and systems are stressed by environmental, social, economical, or technological opportunities and threats. COVID-19 has greatly accelerated this – from the curious awareness to the explosive emergence of the digital twin. Mainly driven by the impossibility to go onsite in person and the lack of holistic tools as a viable alternative, digital twins have become the next best thing after the power of ubiquity. Furthermore, a digital twin is the insurance to always know, to some extent, what is actually going on and react accordingly. Looking forward, digital twins will result in an unprecedented increase in visibility and collaboration, and become a breeding ground for next-gen applications such as augmented reality, autonomous robotics, and more.

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