By John Pozoglou, Founder and CEO, FuturePlace

Rising city populations, high consumption of resources, ageing infrastructure, climate change, complex Water Distribution Systems — these are but a few issues forcing those in city management to rethink their sustainability and efficiency efforts. Underlying each is the question of clean water management, and how water utilities can be empowered to make informed decisions in the face of the issues combined.

The answer is by embracing advanced tools that combine real-time sensor data gathering, advanced analytics, and model-based capabilities to simulate “what-if” scenarios. In other words – Digital Twins.

But before we go on, let’s start with the official definition of a Digital Twin as outlined by the Digital Twin Consortium. 

In December 2020, the Digital Twin Consortium released this definition of a digital twin: “a digital twin is a virtual representation of real-world entities and processes, synchronised at a specified frequency and fidelity. Digital twin systems transform business by accelerating holistic understanding, optimal decision-making, and effective action. 

“Digital twins use real-time and historical data to represent the past and present and simulate predicted futures. Digital twins are motivated by outcomes, tailored to use cases, powered by integration, built on data, guided by domain knowledge, and implemented in IT/OT systems.”

This makes Digital Twins among the most valuable tools to help understand and manage infrastructure by integrating many different complex systems into one. The connections between the digital world and the physical world generate insights to make better decisions. 

For infrastructure businesses facing enormous pressure to deliver economically viable and environmentally sustainable facilities, this is a huge outcome. That’s why more organisations than ever in utilities, construction, mining, transport and more, are developing Digital Twins to achieve these objectives. Digital Twins provide the unrivalled insights and connectivity required for efficient, productive, and sustainable infrastructure.

In a city management context, Digital Twins help water utilities to not only better understand past and current performance of their water systems, but also predict and optimise future performance. 

They can also simulate any potential changes and their impact in the virtual world before they occur in the physical world. This level of virtualisation limits the risk to real-world operations, helps utilities make quick, data-driven decisions, and helps them respond in the best way to crises and other what-if scenarios.

Given the scale of the challenge — namely population growth, resource scarcities, and ageing infrastructure — traditional Water Distribution Systems have become increasingly complex and hard-to-manage. 

Therefore, Digital Twins are being used with more frequency within Water Distribution Systems to improve asset management, leak localisation, optimisation of system operations, energy efficiency, water quality, maintenance operations and early response to emergencies.

Sounds great, right? But which people and companies are doing it?

The Digital Built World Summit taking place on 22-23 February 2023 in Sydney is a key enabler of infrastructure digitisation. It brings industry leaders together to learn, share experiences, identify best practice and develop expertise. 

It also helps to shape standards on data sharing as well as showcasing the benefits of collaborative, connected Digital Twins to develop solutions that help tackle the climate crisis to ensure a more sustainable future that is in focus by many organisations and governments around the world.

Are you interested in joining 300+ key stakeholders from across the built world to connect, learn and find digital twin partners? Visit the website for the full program and speaker line-up, and for details on how to register.

This sponsored editorial is brought to you by FuturePlace. For more information, please visit

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