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In search of a problem, I think not

Updated: Apr 13, 2021

By Adam Beck | Executive Director, Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand | Secretariat, Centre for Data Leadership | Administrator, ANZ Digital Twin Hub

It was recently expressed by a peer that the Digital Twin seemed to be a solution in search of a problem.

As someone who has often criticised some of my smart cities peers in the technology space for creating solutions to no apparent (or pressing) problems, this statement resonates with me.

But on Digital Twins, let's clear the air.

The Digital Twin is not in search of new problems, yet, anyway. The problems, and therefore the purpose of Digital Twin, already exist. The Digital Twin is here to solve problems now. And those problems exist in spades.

The upcoming release of the Draft Australia New Zealand Digital Twin Strategy articulates a vision for Digital Twins in the region - that they will facilitate better environmental, social and economic outcomes for infrastructure, precincts, cities, regions, landscapes and communities across Australia and New Zealand.

This will be realised through accessible, accurate and current information being managed, analysed and presented in a way that supports data-driven decisions.

You see, Digital Twins are about data, intelligence, transparency and investment. Investing for the best possible outcomes - for people, planet and prosperity.

Digital Twins can help us test and refine actions and investments to optimise outcomes for people, planet and prosperity.

We want to use Digital Twins to create a positive impact on communities and customers through the institutionalisation of data-driven decision making in the planning, design and operational practices we adopt.

We believe the Digital Twin can create impact, like no other data-driven opportunity, by accelerating:

  • Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions

  • Generation of new markets, export opportunities and capabilities

  • Creation of new jobs

  • Greater productivity in asset design and construction processes

  • Enabling effective delivery of public infrastructure and services

  • Realisation of asset operational savings

  • Effective disaster management and greater resilience

  • Developing evidence based policy

So, with respect to the Digital Twin being in search of a problem, I think not. We have more than enough problems that we need to solve now.

And with the capability underpinning the Digital Twin (to be discussed in our next post), we aspire that more government organisations will seek opportunities to build this capability to optimise the delivery of infrastructure and citizen services.

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