Living With A Digital Twin: CASA Research into IoT technologies at Here East on the Olympic Park

Last week as part of the final project for my PhD I completed the installation of a network of eighteen environment sensing devices at UCL’s Here East campus on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The custom built devices have been donated to this project by the Intel Collaborative Research Institute (ICRI). For the next four months each device will be measuring temperature, humidity, air pressure and ambient light levels at different throughout the Here East Campus on a minute-by-minute basis.

Each of the sensor devices is connected to the internet and participates in the Internet of Things (IoT) by transmitting the data they collect to a cloud-based platform that aggregates it for further analysis. That data will simultaneously be visualised in real-time in a dynamic 3D model or ‘Digital Twin’ of the Here East campus. In this way changes in the state of the building’s internal environment will be mirrored, in the instant they occur, by corresponding changes in the site’s 3D digital twin.

The technology has direct application for building and facility managers who want the ability to monitor the environmental conditions of the sites they operate in real-time. In this project we attempt to take the technology further and make it more participatory by opening up the digital twin system to other building occupants.

To this end the digital twin at Here East is being augmented with openly available data relating to the site’s wider physical and social context. In addition live data feeds from the internal sensors, the digital twin will also incorporate information on external environmental conditions and interactions via social media. As the study proceeds further feeds of information can be added as required.

In the coming weeks the digital twin will be made available online. Visitors to the site will also be able to interact with the sensors more directly using their mobile phones with the aid of beacon technology installed in each of the sensor devices. Efforts are also being made to open the data to interested researchers.

The objectives of the project are:

  • To operationalise the use of IoT and Digital Twin technologies in the built environment
  • To understand how building occupants and visitors interact and engage with IoT
  • To explore and asses methods for visualising and interacting with sensor data and IoT systems in real-time

If you wish to read more about the project a paper I presented at the GISRUK 2018 conference is available for download here.

Authors: Oliver Dawkins, Adam Dennett, Andy Hudson-Smith, all authors from the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis University College London WC1E 6BT.

Note: This blog post has been cross posted on the CASA website news pages here.

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