Cross sector UK team to outline vision of common protocol for digital twins

A cross-sector UK team behind an effort to develop a common language for the development of digital twins is to reveal details of how this could be achieved at a live-streamed launch event on 25 October.

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Since its launch last month (September 2022) the so-called Apollo Protocol has reportedly been enthusiastically welcomed by digital twin proponents across the manufacturing, construction and the technology sectors.

According to the team behind the project – which includes the IET, The Construction Leadership Council, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, and others - downloads of a white paper proposing the cross-sector approach to digital twins have  exceeded expectations, and a Network for participants has been set up on the Digital Twin Hub.

Currently, the manufacturing and built environment sectors are developing digital twins separately using different language and business models, yet many of our challenges, such as net zero and economic sustainability, require sectors to work together.

The white paper, published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), sets out a proposal to unlock the benefits of digital twins between the built environment and manufacturing sectors. It argues for the establishment of The Apollo Forum to explore four key themes: a single value chain for information and data services and requirements; Circular supply chains between the sectors; optimised performance through technology enabled information sharing, and managed human capital and resources between the sectors.

The Forum will be established by practical cross-sector events where manufacturers and asset owners can articulate their data needs or technology offerings to map out the beginnings of a unified value chain, exploring solutions and unblocking practical barriers. The work is to be supported through Innovate UK to develop the UK’s capability in Cyber Physical Infrastructure. Events will commence as early as next month (November 2022).

Neil Thompson, Digital Manufacturing and Performance Lead at the Construction Leadership Council and IET Built Environment Panel Chair explained,  “The data needs of manufacturers and asset owners across our sectors are hampered by a lack of collaboration and language barriers. The Apollo Forum events we have planned will enable us to map out those needs, identify technical and other support and ultimately develop valuable cross-sector solutions for the participants.”

The project has the support of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK.  

 A link to the 25th October Live Stream event will be available on the Apollo Protocol’s Digital Twin Hub shortly before the event.