Digital Twins: The Future of Real Estate Planning in a Rapidly Evolving Landscape
As the real estate industry continues to evolve and new technologies emerge, it is important to embrace digital twins to stay competitive and relevant in a rapidly evolving landscape.
- Omar Kaedbey
In recent years, digital twins have emerged as a powerful tool for real estate planning, providing a virtual replica of physical buildings, developments, and cities that can be used to monitor and optimize their performance in real time. By leveraging real-time data and simulations, digital twins can enable property owners and managers to make more informed decisions about building management and optimization, reducing energy consumption and operating costs, improving building performance and occupant comfort, and creating more engaging and personalized experiences for building occupants and visitors.
What is a Digital Twin: A digital twin is a virtual representation or digital model of a physical object, system, or process. The concept combines various technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and data analytics to create a dynamic and real-time replica of the physical counterpart.
The Growth of Digital Twins: The global digital twin market is expected to grow from $8 billion in 2022 to greater than $90 billion by 2032, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25%. This growth is being driven by the increasing adoption of digital twins in various industries, including real estate, as well as advancements in technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Benefits of Digital Twins: One of the key benefits of digital twins is that they enable data-driven decision-making at multiple levels of industry.
Digital Twins in the Real Estate Landscape:
At the city planning level: By creating a virtual model of a city or region, planners can simulate different development scenarios and evaluate their impact on energy usage, traffic congestion, air quality, and other factors. This can help city planners make more informed decisions about infrastructure investments and prioritize projects that will have the greatest positive impact on the community.
At the developer level: Digital twins can be used to simulate different scenarios for site selection and project feasibility, enabling developers to make more informed decisions about which projects to pursue. For example, a digital twin can be used to simulate different building designs and evaluate their impact on energy consumption, cost, and financial returns.
In the design and construction phase: Simulating different scenarios for building design and construction sequencing, enable architects and engineers to optimize building performance and reduce construction costs. For example, a digital twin can be used to simulate the behavior of different building materials and evaluate their impact on energy consumption and cost.
At the building level & portfolio level: By providing real-time data on energy usage, occupancy levels, and other factors, digital twins enable portfolio managers and property owners to identify opportunities for improvement and make data-driven decisions about building management and optimization.
Unreal Engine in Digital Twins: Unreal Engine is a powerful game engine developed by Epic Games that is being increasingly used in the development of digital twins. Initially a cornerstone for role playing games, Unreal Engine's advanced capabilities for real-time 3-D rendering is being used in the television and movie industry as well as the creation of high-fidelity digital twins with simulation capabilities.
In the context of digital twins, Unreal Engine can be used to create highly realistic virtual replicas of physical buildings and cities, which can be used for various purposes such as design, visualization, and simulations. For example, architects and developers can use Unreal Engine to create virtual models of buildings and test out different design scenarios, allowing them to iterate more quickly and efficiently than traditional design processes. Unreal Engine can also be used to create interactive virtual tours of buildings, enabling potential buyers or tenants to explore and experience a property in a more engaging and immersive way.
Machine Learning in Digital Twins: Machine learning is another powerful technology that is being increasingly used in the development of digital twins. By analyzing real-time data from sensors and other sources, machine learning algorithms can identify patterns, trends, and anomalies in the data, providing valuable insights into building performance and enabling property owners and managers to make more informed decisions about building management and optimization.
For example, machine learning can be used to predict energy usage based on historical data and weather forecasts, enabling property owners and managers to optimize building operations and reduce energy consumption. Machine learning can also be used to identify potential maintenance issues before they become critical, reducing downtime, and improving building performance.
Challenges and Limitations: The use of digital twins in the real estate industry is not without challenges and limitations. One of the biggest challenges is interoperability, or the ability of different digital twin platforms to work together seamlessly. For digital twins to be effective, they must be able to integrate with other systems and platforms, such as building management systems, sensors, and IoT devices. This requires standardization and collaboration across the industry, which is a complex and ongoing process.
Another challenge is the cost and complexity of implementing digital twins. Creating a digital twin requires a significant amount of data and computing power, as well as expertise in areas such as data analytics, software development, and engineering. This can make digital twins prohibitively expensive for smaller property owners and managers, limiting their use to larger and more complex buildings and properties.
JLL MENA's Digital Twin City Model (Prism): Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of digital twins for the real estate industry are significant, and their use is expected to grow in the coming years. JLL MENA is currently developing the first-of-its-kind digital twin city model for a major government entity in the gulf with plans for further expected roll-out in the region. This initiative is aimed at creating a more data-driven and efficient built environment, leveraging digital twins and other advanced technologies to optimize development planning and building performance, reduce energy consumption, and improve occupant comfort.
As the industry continues to evolve and new technologies emerge, it is important for the real estate industry to embrace digital twins and other technological innovations to stay competitive and relevant in a rapidly evolving landscape. By collaborating, standardizing, and innovating, the industry can leverage digital twins and other technologies to create a more sustainable, efficient, and engaging built environment for all.