#3 Friday Spotlight - The Master(s) of the Meta-Verse and Building the Digital Twin First

From BIM to (T)Win - While people are struggling to agree on standards that are text-based. Others are creating innovation universes that will create alternative realities for all.

Introducing the Metaverse

The metaverse concept is a couple of months old now. But yesterday, the great Master of the Metaverse, David Craig Weir-McCall talked about it at the Digital Twin Consortium.

And if interested in “future-proofing” the Real-Estate Lifecycle and Infrastructure in general, then you should join the discussions at the Digital Twin Consortium starting as a guest. The European working group is meeting up bi-weekly every Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday, March 31st of March, 2021

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM EDT (3:00 PM - 4:00 PM CET (Gothenburg time))

Infrastructure Working Group - Digital Twin Consortium_Europe

You can see what the Metaverse is, in this Epic video regarding the metaverse for the construction space. And also read about it in this interesting article.

Digital Twin First Construction

David mentioned in his video that citizen engagement was 1% when planning new urban developments from a study in the UK. 1, 2, 10, 15%, what matters is how this number can be pumped up. How can the engagement side of things improve and how do we accelerate meaningful communication between people?

Game-engines can help in simplifying complexity and allow co-creation with the ones that are the users of the intended area of development. The notion of inviting people to the future space, allowing them to test out the areas before they are built within an Unreal world is interesting. Especially if it allows for Virtual Reality immersion and then recording the reactions to understand how to better build future cities.

The question arises that if we can combine AR/VR/MR and create an overlay with the digital realm, and true meta-verse enablement. Do we still care as much as what reality looks like? If we can make reality to our own liking by overlapping it with a view that is our own, will the tale of two cities be expanded into a tale of infinite cities where only the imagination sets the boundaries? How much will we care about reality when walking around in virtual cities that are designed to be whatever we want them to be? Do we escape the virtual world and into reality, instead of the opposite?

Only time will tell.

But let’s start with looking at what can be done right now.

Digital Twins and Unreal Engine are truly powerful tools as a medium for knowledge capture, knowledge transfer between experts and users,, and all stakeholders. How could this influence the design and build process for construction on a high level?

How about:

  1. Build the Digital Twin first with x level of detail

  2. Let stakeholders react in the environment they will be in before it's even been built

  3. Raise the level of detail and information that is necessary to be had before making any changes in the real world and change the future before it happens

  4. Take all the inspiration from the future, collaborating with consultants, and knowing what will happen before it happens

  5. Let the user interaction influence the decisions and also keep the Digital Twin alive forever, adding that contextual intelligence as it’s being built in the physical world.

  6. Sell the Digital Twin first, and then expect the physical entity to be built with a zero-vision of change orders in mind (or allow for that to happen more dynamically throughout the construction process).

There are many things that need to change with the construction phase when it comes to digital maturity in general, design and build phase, construction phase events and everything that is not BIM. Cost and scheduling, meetings submittals, finance, inspections, material, methods, minutes, labor, safety events, and much more. BIM in its own has thousands of different tools and technologies that can help out with linking a lot of these things. Unreal has also got something of their own.

From BIM to TWIN

Twinmotion from Unreal deals with the improved collaboration between stakeholders that want to collaborate easier with BIM and Digital Twins. Twinmotion models, can be brought across to the Unreal Engine, create a simple quick visualization, and simplify collaboration efforts at scale.

Together with Reality Capture, this is a powerful combination. Compare with BIM, and then bring that into Unreal, and then let people experience reality as we know it. This provides stellar interaction, collaboration at the front end.

So, for argument’s sake, let's say the front-end collaboration is solved. And we can get people to rally around reality as we know it.

But then how do we work with reality?

What about the need for interoperability and unification engines in the real world, truly bringing about metaverse enablement for real?

Metaverse Enablement for real

According to David, two of the main challenges lie in the lack of interoperability between systems. And also that of security. Thus, the Unreal Engine works as a visual interface in need of a secure environment. It is the top of the Real-World iceberg that still needs a unification engine, possibly creating order from chaos without expecting the world to change where interoperability is the challenge, and the key.

When meta-verse enablement will happen for real, security will also be a major concern which also creates a need for secure back-end platforms to invite to innovate at a larger scale.

We covered this briefly in episode 13, talking about Digital Twins, AI, and responsible Innovation, with the need to have more transparency through supply-chains, incorporating SDG metrics into daily decision making.

But the holy grail is probably a metaverse linked to the planet we live on. Project Anywhere gets there working with GIS-data at scale bringing the world to people everywhere from anywhere.

So it seems that we are almost there. The future is truly here, just unevenly distributed. What are the most important aspects of Metaverse enablement really? Is it to just mirror the world and have fun with it? Or can we use it to innovate with the world we have, and will have in the future and change things before they happen for real? What do you see with Metaverse Enablement and solutions like Microsoft Mesh below? How will that affect the world as we know it? Will this enable us all to go beyond buildings and then come back and influence the industry to achieve greatness?

What do you think?

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