In so many industries, digitalization is the future. Digitizing assets provides a convenient way to streamline company growth, understand the bigger picture of how the business functions, and more. But what is it, and how does it work? This post covers digitization, digitalization, its applications in construction and finance, and why it is important.
Digitalization vs. Digitization
Digitization is the root of digitalization. In simple terms, digitization means creating digital forms of physical items. Over time, more and more things are being digitized, from paperwork orders to buildings. Digitalization applies this digitized information in order to change a business model or bring about new business opportunities—essentially to improve the business’s function. This is accomplished through digital technologies, which interpret and take advantage of digitized information.
Digitalization vs. Digital Transformation
Digital transformation takes yet another step out from digitalization. It looks at how an organization implements the changes digitalization suggests, on a large-scale, employee level. While this may sound like digitalization, it is different because digitalization is solely how digitized information can be applied to improve business practices, without implementing personnel.
How are Buildings Digitized?
Buildings are digitized into 3D models using Building Information Modeling, or BIM. Over time, these models have evolved and advanced into digital twins. As the name suggests, digital twins are an exact digital model of the physical entity they represent. The twin contains not only an image of the asset, but also information on its aspects such as energy use, temperature, and more. In this way, the digital twin efficiently stores data on the asset in real-time, combining information from cameras, 3D laser scanners, various sensors, and other devices. Digital twins are often initially created with drone imaging.
Therefore, digital twins are living models of their real-world counterparts. This opens up a whole host of opportunities to track the building’s function over its lifecycle, diagnose problems, and even predict potential problems through running simulations. Just as the simulations can predict future problems, they can also test various improvements before implementing them into the real-world system—protecting the asset and accelerating its growth.
Digital Twin Asset Management
A building can monitor energy consumption through digitalization. When equipped with real-time sensors, a digital twin can show a building’s energy usage from systems like air conditioning and heating down to particular outlets and lights. Using algorithms, the digital twin can determine the most efficient ways to distribute energy. These algorithms can learn the building’s occupancy trends, enabling it to auto-program heating and cooling systems.
Digital twins in manufacturing increase efficiency and lower costs. Just as various sensors can be applied to parts of a building, they attach pieces of manufacturing equipment, relaying performance-indicating information through digital twins. Every aspect of the process is monitored, so the digital twin can identify where differences in production occur, or if more efficient mechanisms or materials can be used. In addition, stakeholders can run simulations in the digital twin to test prototypes before developing them in the real system. This saves time and money, minimizing the real equipment’s trial production cycles to finalize the product. And since the twin provides easily accessible, up-to-date information, the product’s marketing team as well as the engineering team can easily collaborate and make decisions faster. On the whole, digital twins are an amazing asset management technology for the manufacturing industry—reducing time and saving money.
How is Digitalization Used in Construction?
Once up and running, digitalization offers invaluable insights for building managers; however, these technologies can offer benefits prior to a project breaking ground. In construction digital twins offer a one-stop location for accurate, up-to-date project information. Traditional building information models (BIM) present static information, whereas digital twins use reality capture to offer dynamic information.
For example, a wall in the model contains information such as the material it will be made of, where it will be built, the cost, and the paint color. As the wall is created, adjustments to the model are made, so all parties involved can view progress in near real-time. This process is the same for all technical subsystems such as the plumbing and HVAC.
The effects of construction digitization are impactful. Without it, construction is clotted with inefficiencies; roughly 35% of construction workers’ time is spent seeking project information, handling mistakes and rebuilding, and other unproductive but necessary tasks. This inefficiency would be drastically improved with one centralized model, accessible to all relevant parties, from electricians to plumbers. Minimizing time spent seeking relevant project information, reducing mistakes at the root, and preventing future rework to lower overall costs.
On a larger scale, the remotely accessible, real-time-updated digital twin allows for greater organization and planning among different parties. This enables a more fluid transition between different stages of construction, increasing efficiency on the whole between different sects.
Asset Management Digital Transformation
In a different way assets, on the whole, could be digitized. Smaller business owners have had a more challenging time securing capital, due to factors like high borrowing costs and significant loan collateral requirements. But with asset digitization, a company’s accounts receivable and advance assets could be converted into digital forms that can be traded or sold to investors. This would result in “frictionless” transactions, cutting down a company’s borrowing costs and accelerating access to capital, enabling faster growth. Investors, at the same time, would have access to new investment opportunities.
Other examples of assets that could be digitized include real estate and gold certificates. These assets, as stated above, can be traded “frictionlessly” between owners, enabling nearly instant access to capital. These new transactions with lower fees could grow the whole economic ecosystem.
From assets in motion such as factory equipment and electricity to gold certificates, digitization is the way of the future. It increases efficiency, reduces costs, and benefits employees as well as owners. Maximize your data capture and insights with Maptelligent’s digitization services, schedule a demo today!