‘Digital twin’ project to drive data-based decisions on DCU campuses

1 Jun 2021

Image: Connor McKenna/Siliconrepublic.com

The initiative is part of Smart DCU, which aims to develop, test and trial tech innovations that could be used in smart cities of the future.

A new ‘digital twin’ project will be used to drive data-based decision-making at one of Ireland’s largest universities.

Dublin City University (DCU) and Insight, the Science Foundation Ireland research centre for data analytics, have teamed up with global software engineering company Bentley Systems to build a digital representation of the university’s campuses.

It will incorporate real-time data gathered from IoT sensors on footfall, congestion points, energy, water usage, and other important data points that can inform planning and development of infrastructure.

The aim is to gather insights to help the university better understand real-time performance and make better-informed decisions for its 18,000 students and 2,000 staff.

“Digital twins are an essential technology to enable us to harness the power of the increasing global trend of digitalisation,” explained Prof Noel O’Connor, CEO of Insight.

“As we move to a world of ubiquitous sensing and a consequent blending of the physical and digital worlds, research into new ways of gathering and interpreting data is crucial so that our technology can empower better decision-making.”

He added that this new testbed partnership could provide an “unparalleled opportunity for innovation”.

The first phase of the project will involve the creation of a digital twin of DCU’s Glasnevin campus. It will use software from Bentley Systems, which is typically used in the design, construction and operation of roads, bridges, transit systems, water facilities, buildings and more.

The initiative is part of the Smart DCU project, which aims to develop, test and trial cutting-edge tech innovations that could be used in smart cities of the future.

Another recent initiative from this project involves the testing of a new fleet of e-scooters equipped with AI and computer vision at DCU.

“As part of the Smart DCU initiative, the digital twin model will help us to advance our vision for creating more sustainable and people-centred campuses,” said Prof Daire Keogh, president of the university.

“Ultimately, this innovation will improve the DCU student experience and enhance the workplace for university staff.”

Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic