The transformative power of digitalization cannot be overstated. “Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities,” says Gartner.
Digitalization is a process. The conversion of paper or analog data and processes to digital information has been a massive undertaking for large enterprises. This conversion has resulted in significant savings and improved data sharing across big organizations and has enabled distributed projects. Companies are now moving to the next phases of digitalization: from data management to data visualization.
From Digital Data to Digital Twins
Most companies have already made the switch from paper files to asset management systems. These asset management systems provide tremendous benefits: dashboards, reporting, maps, and mobile access are all standard features, and allow for much more efficient management of distributed projects. Asset management systems, however, depend upon the accuracy of the last entry by field personnel. The maxim “Garbage in, garbage out,” holds true here: if the data entered or transferred over from legacy systems is out of date or inaccurate, it becomes useless. In addition, an asset management system often relies upon scanned paper documents or static images, entered as attachments. These remain difficult to access, and don’t provide users with all of the benefits of data analysis that digitization offers.
Drones and Digital Twin software technology have revolutionized digitization in the tower industry. A drone is able to fly a path around an asset, gathering aerial data which enables the development of a 3D digital model of that asset: a digital twin. A digital twin provides an opportunity to understand a physical asset in a different way.
A highly accurate digital 3D model of an asset created from actual images shows what is really there. With digital twin software, stakeholders located anywhere in the world can examine an asset model closely, interact with it, and take the information and insights that they need from it. Digital Twins provide a single source of truth about what’s happening in the field: and Digital Twin visualization offers a better way for users to access a lot of data about a field asset, easily.
The Benefits of Data Visualization
Data visualization provides quick, clear understanding of an asset – allowing stakeholders to draw conclusions and insights more easily. Visualization shows patterns and identifies potential issues clearly; and enables more accurate analysis.
Using digital twin software provides significant value in inspections: inspectors can see extreme detail as they navigate around a 3D model, interacting with the data. Users don’t need to be onsite to see the asset in person, they can rely upon the accuracy of a visual model. Operational experts can confirm the exact configuration of the asset, reconciling billing and ensuring accuracy in communications with tenants.
Digital twin software provides perhaps even more benefits by allowing users to visualize what may not yet exist. Digital models can be used in Building Information Modeling (BIM) tools: by manipulating a model, decision makers are able to visualize how a new site might be developed; or how an existing site may need to change in order to become more profitable.
When large organizations move from siloed information repositories to true digitization that enables visualization and interaction with the information, the new value-producing opportunities that Gartner promises will be realized. As companies shift from data stored in attachments or static images to digital twin software, they are able to analyze the data to get deeper business insights and improve workflows. AI-powered analysis tools can be utilized with digital twin visualization to immediately identify potential maintenance needs or available space on a tower. Users can annotate a digital twin to provide all stakeholders with immediate information on who owns the equipment, or what type of equipment is deployed. This digital twin visualization offers major benefit to users accustomed to having to sift through long Excel spreadsheets to manage that data – and enables reporting and portfolio-level insights that give businesses the best tools available for decision making.
Through partner APIs, digital twin software creates the opportunity for more efficient and effective workflows. Maintenance needs identified through digital twin visualization can be integrated into work order systems: customer relationships are improved as all stakeholders reference the same accurate data source. As digital twins identify opportunities for new equipment, users are also able to calculate load in order to manage assets effectively and avoid overload.
The image below represents the shift from high resolution 2D imagery to interactive 3D models
The Innovative Digital Twin Software Enabling the Next Phase of Digitization
Autonomous drones are a relatively new tool enabling this shift to digital asset models. vHive is at the leading edge of this technology, allowing companies to gather aerial data quickly and easily; to transform that data into digital twin models that stakeholders can interact with; and to enable powerful analytics. With the vHive unique patented technologies for autonomous drones, sophisticated software determines the optimal flight pattern around an asset to create an accurate 3D model. Using an inexpensive, commercial-off-the-shelf drone, operators can easily execute the drone mission to gather the data. Data is uploaded automatically to the cloud, where it is processed into a form that can be visualized, manipulated, and ultimately used to develop insights and value for an organization. In making digital twins of assets easy to acquire and easy to use, vHive is working to allow those organizations to reap the benefits of the next phase of digitization.
vHive is continually developing our digital twin software platform to meet customer needs as tower companies continue to scale the implementation of digital twins throughout the business. We’re providing new features and new services to make the transition to digital twin visualization as easy – and as beneficial – as possible. Contact us for a demonstration, and to learn how the next phase of digitalization can change your business.