I want my Digital Twins! But I ain't getting them soon, it looks like...
In my 30 years in the industry, the move from our older products to OpenRoads Designer was the biggest transformation I had seen. Common Data Environment, automatic smart updates, BIM-ready... Big!
I've been wrong before (I thought Digital Signatures and The Magic Pen would be staples years ago), but Digital Twins looks like it will not only change how our industry works, but transform ALL the industries.
But will the highway industry lag behind? I think so. How long?
Other industries, those heavy on operations, are already well into expanding their integrative capabilities with digital twins.
I mean, how much integration and life-cycle management can you do with dirt and aggregate?
It's coming, even to us dirt designers. How do I get ahead of this inevitable wave of change? Do I have to go take a sabbatical into another discipline to work Digital Twins?
While dirt will lag, we do have sub-disciplines that are using or will soon take advantage of digital twins capability (BIM + geolocation + time). Traffic Signalization, active utilities (of course, they have operations and maintenance), passive utilities, road furniture, etc.
AssetWise - that curious sub-group of Bentley (right down the street from me, coincidentally) is probably my easiest entry into how I, as a Civil Engineer, can see direct use of the digital twin mindset. ALIM is Asset Lifecycle Information Management. That's what our big clients care about, we feed a small part of their lifecycle. So for me to understand what is coming to dirt, I need to learn what AssetWise recommends for "Linear Road Network Management". The tech and tools are already available. That's probably my first step.
The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step - right now, maybe.
If we digital twin that journey, then it starts wherever we want, whenever we want and can be accomplished as fast as we want with as much comfort as we want.