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The National Digital Twin


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3 minutes

LLeading on from our discussion of a Green Industrial Revolution, the UK are making plans for a National Digital Twin. We have already covered what is a digital twin and in this article we will be covering the development of a digital twin for the nation's infrastructure, processes and systems. To explore in further detail we will be answering the following questions: What is the National Digital Twin programme? and What are the benefits of a National Digital Twin? Keep reading to find out more about the National Digital Twin and how it can help to #ONEUPYOURBUSINESS!


Firstly, a National Digital Twin is defined as a family of connected twins that can all communicate to each other and understand each other by secure data sharing.

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIS), an agency that provides expert advice to the UK Government on infrastructure challenges facing the UK, in 2017 released a report recommending the development of a digital twin of the nation's infrastructure, processes and systems.

Therefore, to help the NIC to achieve a National Digital Twin, in 2018, the National Digital Twin programme (NDTp) was set up by the <Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB), a partnership between the University of Cambridge and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for them to help the NIC deliver key recommendations.

With £600bn going to be spent on new infrastructure in the UK in the next decade, the NDTp understands how data can improve how infrastructure is managed, operated, built, and decommissioned and in regards to this the aim of their objectives is to focus on enable, deliver, and align:

  • Enable a National Digital Twin: to support and enable an ecosystem of connected digital twins to produce better outcomes from our built environment
  • Deliver an Information Management Framework: ensure that data exchanging is secure, high-quality, and provides effective information management
  • Align a Digital Framework Task Group: to provide coordination and alignment among key players and report to the HM Government

With the establishment of the Digital Framework Task Group (DFTG) and the Gemini Principles, the NDTp is leading the way for a digital transformation especially in the construction sectors.

To learn more about the National Digital Twin then click here to watch an insightful video produced by the Centre for Digital Built Britain.


Sarah Hayes, author of the 2017 National Infrastructure Commission’s Data for Public Good report, highlights that the National Digital Twin will allow us to see a bird’s eye view of a city, town or region, helping us to optimise the way we use our infrastructure or to plan and predict what is needed to improve our quality of life. The report outlines four key areas a National Digital Twin will benefit:

  • Society: having a National Digital Twin improves the quality of life for people. People could expect a reduced cost of living, deduction in bills, and greater efficiency as there are lower operating costs of physical infrastructure. There will also be better outcomes due to the improvement of customer satisfaction and experience due to the high-performing infrastructures and services
  • Economy: The economy can benefit society as it can increase national productivity that derives from using infrastructure to produce better outcomes for people. It is also notes that information security with be optimised to
  • Business: A National Digital Twin will create new markets especially for those providing digital twin products and services, buying digital twins, and connecting digital twins resulting in new business models and improving business efficiency from higher-performing infrastructure. It will benefit the construction value chain and reduce uncertainty and improve risk management
  • Environment: As we are trying to enter a circular economy and meet net zero, having a National Digital Twin will help the UK government to reach its targets as it will reduce waste and decrease disruption. For instance there will be less traffic, reduced public transport cancelations and delays, and greater resource efficiency, etc.

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