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IET calls for common language for digital twins

16/09/22

Mark Say Managing Editor

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Digital female twins
Image source: istock.com/Metamorworks

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has called for the development of a common language for digital twins used by different sectors.

It has published a paper, The Apollo Protocol, with a proposal for the creation of a new forum to develop solutions and write the protocol for cross-sector digital twins, which provide detailed virtual representations of real world systems.

The paper highlights the need for products that do not work only in one silo, pointing to the need for better coordination between those used for the built environment – in which there is an interest in the public sector – and manufacturing. It could lay the ground for a wider protocol to help exploit the full potential of digital twins.

The paper highlights four themes in developing the protocol, the first of which is a single value chain for information and data services and requirements. The others are circular supply chains, optimised performance and managed human capital.

Huge benefits

Rick Hartwig, IET built environment lead, said: “Digital twins offer huge benefits for society but only a coordinated approach to the language used will allow those benefits to be realised.

“There are many steps to improving information management, for example, from the manufacturers and their product information and frameworks to technology companies producing in the digital twin space who need the availability of data to construct models.

“It goes much further than just the manufacturing, built environment and technology industries – policy makers will only meet their sustainability goals if they can provide clarity during procurement for the market to respond effectively, so it will take a whole system approach.”

The IET has claimed support from a number of organisations in the initiative, including IT industry association techUK, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Digital Twin Hub of the Connected Places Catapult, and the Alan Turing Institute.

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