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This is a photograph of the real Sydney. The virtual one is coming soon.
An exciting new partnership between SAP, Arup, Deloitte, and Nextspace will fundamentally change the way infrastructure assets are created and managed. Through digitalization, the infrastructure sector will see intelligent solutions embedded at the planning, design, build, and operation phases to create a more interconnected and sustainable industry.
To explore the collective expertise and technologies that are facilitating this shift, the SAP Australia User Group (SAUG) hosted a panel discussion as part of its Digital Innovation Conference last month, with Chris Peck, Executive General Manager - Public Services at SAP Australia; Dr Daniyal Mian, Principal, Regional Asset Management & Infrastructure at ARUP; Nicola Dorling, Partner Enterprise Technology SAP at Deloitte; and Mark Thomas, CEO at Nextspace.
Chris noted the importance of investing in digital engineering initiatives, particularly as the Australian Government looks to economic recovery following a challenging year. “Governments typically build and own very large infrastructure programs or the infrastructure itself. Infrastructure is a leading tool for recovery, an important economic engine as the Australian public sector owns $265 billion in public infrastructure and buildings, which requires $70 billion annually in maintenance.
“ The government just announced spending another $150 billion with a key focus on infrastructure. However, construction is considered the least digitized industry and seen as the sector with the least improvements.”
Nicola agreed that infrastructure is ripe for disruption, highlighting the value of looking at infrastructure’s value chain from end to end while working together on an optimum technology stack that clients can use to optimize their businesses. “It’s about digital engineering from design to delivery, since infrastructure companies and built environment providers will all benefit from digitalization and the large infrastructure investments being made by the public sector.
“Digitalization creates greater opportunity for the different stakeholder to work on the product collectively, understanding the value chain holistically. By improving the means for collaboration, more businesses can get greater value from their complete supply chain, using end-to-end intelligence and connectivity to create efficiency.
“We’re helping business understand the customer journey through the value chain – optimizing from product design into modeling through digital twins, which illustrates estimations, actionable costs - both CAPEX, and OPEX. Using foresight through analytics, there’s end-to-end connection and intelligence across the value chain.”
“ Using advanced analytics, businesses can map future states to optimization goals. New concepts are helping people create digital twins at site level or state level, which are developed independently by multiple partners.”
Daniyal expanded on Arup’s cross-industry experience and extensive SAP knowledge. “Clients are looking for more efficiencies in managing assets, so a more holistic approach needed – a whole of life cycle approach. Through strategic partnerships like this, we’re able to provide a holistic management approach to our clients, focusing on sustainability, and developing greater collective knowledge across industries that we can then pass on to our clients.”
Mark explained the Nextspace unique approach to digital-twin strategizing from a technical and business perspective. "We provide data integration that is multi-dimensional, not relying on a map-centric or file-centric representation of things. All data sources have unique IDs and multiple representations that we’re able to harmonize in our digital twin. This ability to merge data in special ways lets us manage different schemas, using state engines to represent the world in digital form and visualize it in a state that is accessible for humans.
“Using advanced analytics, businesses can map future states to optimization goals. New concepts are helping people create digital twins at site level or state level, which are developed independently by multiple partners."
Chris said collaboration will remain a key focus moving forward as these four global brands in technology, engineering, and implementation develop best practices and solutions for infrastructure organizations. “Considering the complexity of the ecosystem, requirements, magnitude of costs, and the level of expertise needed to develop, these complex problems require not only strategic thinking but solutions spanning the entire infrastructure life cycle. “As partners we are ready to bring customers into our digital labs, understand their biggest challenges, and show them how our solutions can address their biggest challenges.”
Nicola highlighted the value of data in an interconnected ecosystem. “Our role is to understand what customers are trying to analyze, create collaboration models, and embed data touchpoints across ecosystems to create actionable insights. We want to demystify the challenges of new technologies to deliver real solutions to customers, no matter the industry or their needs.”
Daniyal was pleased to see the focus on collaboration across the four partners which will ultimately deliver greater value and efficiency for clients. “With any of these developments and solutions, the customer always comes first. We’ve come together and started with big customer issues and challenges, and we are looking at how we can deliver tailored solutions for their unique needs.”
Mark agreed, stating, “Partnership is critical in designing and delivering invaluable concepts for customers. It’s encouraging to see the level of shared expertise across the group, combining our skills and experiences to solve real-world problems for infrastructure organizations.”
Nextspace: past and present (and what comes next…)
Online journalist Jonathan Cotton caught up with Mark Thomas to chat about Mark's multi-decade journey with 3D and digital twin technology. A journey that has inspired the insights and innovations driving Nextspace today.