Principles to guide development of national digital twin released

Greater data sharing could release an additional £7bn per year of benefits across the UK infrastructure sectors, equivalent to 25% of total infrastructure spend. As a step towards realising those benefits, the Digital Framework Task Group (DFTG) today launched the Gemini Principles, bringing together key voices from government, academia and industry to provide the sector with foundational definitions and values to guide the development of the national digital twin (NDT), an ecosystem of digital twins that are connected by securely shared data. 

It starts to address the key recommendations in the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC)’s 2017 report Data for the public good. This work forms part of Centre for Digital Built Britain’s (CDBB) remit as the national focus for the digital transformation of the built environment.

The NDT will be a national resource for improving the performance, service and value delivered by the UK’s infrastructure; delivering benefits to society, business, the environment, and the economy. CDBB has been tasked with delivering the information management framework to underpin the NDT and a series of pilot digital twins. The framework forms an integral part of the government’s modern industrial strategy and Construction Sector Deal. 

Richard Harrington MP, minister for business and industry for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “Digital technology is transforming the way we manage our built environment, and this collaborative work paves the way for better data-sharing that will put the UK at the forefront of digital construction and smarter infrastructure that’s more cost effective, delivers better services and energy efficient.

“This initiative embodies the aims of the Construction Sector Deal as we boost the skills and innovation within the industry, so it’s best placed to take advantage of the projected £600bn pipeline of infrastructure projects to be delivered over the coming decades.”

Mark Enzer, chair of the DFTG, said: “The Gemini Principles are effectively the conscience of the digital built environment. If we want the national digital twin and information management framework to be for the public good, forever, we need start with strong founding values. 

“Appropriate coordination is required to achieve the huge potential benefits,” said Enzer. “The Gemini Principles are intended to help facilitate alignment for stakeholders throughout the built environment, and I look forward to engaging widely on the next steps via the roadmap.”

Professor Andy Neely, director of CDBB, said: “Effective information management has the potential to make significant cost savings and also promises infrastructure service improvements for the benefit of the citizens of the UK. I welcome the Gemini Principles as the next step towards making digital transformation work for the public good across the built environment.

“I would like to thank the DFTG for bringing together a wide range of stakeholders to start building consensus and to guide the future built environment.  I would encourage industry leaders to engage with the DFTG and to act as champions for delivering the organisational, societal and economic benefits possible through effective information management.”

A spokesperson for the National Infrastructure Commission said: “The UK has a chance to be a world leader in digital and artificial intelligence technologies, which could bring enormous benefits to our infrastructure network and people’s everyday lives. The Gemini Principles set out today by the DFTG will underpin the vital work to develop the first-ever digital twin of the UK’s infrastructure, which could also be world-beating in its scale and complexity. We look forward to seeing the next steps from the task group as it continues to work with industry and government to develop this technology and its applications.”

Based on the NIC’s notion of ‘data for the public good’, the nine foundational Gemini Principles are public good, value creation, insight, security, openness, quality, federation, curation and evolution. 

The next output of the DFTG will be the roadmap, a prioritised plan that proposes the best route for delivering the information management framework, due to be published in early 2019. Leaders involved in planning, creating and managing the built environment are invited to provide feedback on the Gemini Principles and future roadmap by contacting

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