Cross-sector digital twins gain momentum

Visual representing digital twins
Image: 159665796 © Jakarin Niamklang |
The push to develop and deploy the framework to enable cross-sector digital twins has gained momentum with backing from Innovate UK and a series of hacks.

The Apollo Protocol, as the framework is known, and the Apollo Forum, which is overseeing the framework, are being promoted by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and is backed by a number of organisations, including government and built environment stakeholders.

The IET has proposed that the Apollo Protocol will “unlock the benefits of digital twins between the manufacturing and built environment sectors, with the support of the technology sector”.

At the recent launch, it was confirmed that the forum and protocol will be backed by Innovate UK.

Also, mini-hackathons will run across Q4 this year and Q1 2023 for those in manufacturing and the built environment who want to find out more and get involved. The mini-hackathons will focus on the forum’s four aims:

  • to identify a single value chain for data and information management. And promote this through to policy makers responsible for procurement;
  • to pursue circularity through the alignment of trade standards and processes, and to realise the benefit of different material consumptions through new business models;
  • to optimise performance through the implementation of digitally transparent and interoperable supply chains; and
  • to manage human capital between the sectors to ensure that competition is healthy while achieving a common goal.

The hackathon schedule is:

  • Value Hack – 17 November in Sheffield
  • Performance Hack – 12 December in Coventry
  • Circularity Hack – 19 January in Birmingham
  • Human Capital Hack – 9 February in London

Open online calls will follow each hack for those that can’t attend the in-person hacks.

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.

“Along the way we will begin to identify how to write the Apollo Protocol, but we will achieve it by taking practical steps to solving real-life problems.”

The Apollo Forum is sponsored by:

  • the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy;
  • the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult;
  • the Cambridge Centre for Digital Built Britain;
  • the Construction Leadership Council (CLC);
  • the Construction Innovation Hub;
  • the Digital Twin Hub (supported by the Connected Places Catapult);
  • techUK;
  • the Alan Turing Institute; and
  • the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.

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