Recap: The Evolution of Digital Twins and Virtual Environments


How next generation digital twins are changing asset management and delivering benefits

Neara’s SVP of the Americas, Rob Brook, recently gave a talk at the Edison Electrical Institute (EEI) Conference on The Evolution of Digital Twins and Virtual Environments. Rob’s presentation revealed how utilities are modernizing their approach to minimizing risk and optimizing operations. Here are our top three takeaways from Rob’s presentation: 

1. Digital twins are an evolution, not a revolution 

With the right data inputs, digital twins can efficiently mirror the traditional processes familiar to most utilities – the difference is that they significantly reduce manual effort and human error, and can execute tasks proactively vs. reactively. For example, in a traditional network construction process, teams distribute assignments to crews using paper forms and they monitor work activities via site visits and phone calls. When utilities use a digital twin, they can monitor progress digitally via dashboards that keep all stakeholders on the same page. 

2. Utilities are thinking outside the box about wildfire management 

92% of weather-related power outages can trace their origins to vegetation management (IBM), making it vital for companies to have a strategic plan in place.Wildfire prevention and mitigation is traditionally a complex, multipart workflow that involves numerous teams and platforms. Utilities are finding that a digitized, responsive network model that reflects the real-world relationship between your assets and their environment is a cost-effective way to streamline processes, accelerate task completion, and most importantly, keep communities safe in the event of a wildfire event. They unlock new proactive analysis capabilities that allow utilities to anticipate where fires are most likely to start and what kind of damage they will cause – for example, they can simulate high temperatures, blowout, tree fall-in arcs, as well as overlay live and forecast data to precisely target at-risk areas. 

3. Technological advancements in vegetation management can save considerable time, money, and boots on the ground

Modern digital twins can help remove inefficiencies in traditional vegetation management processes. For example, traditional vegetation management is reactive and based on static, annual work plans that fail to account for inevitable physical changes in the network environment. Using digital twins, utilities can perform the same tasks such as identifying and addressing fall-in and grow-in risks but more efficiently and thoroughly. Instead of relying on expensive field visits that can be slow to plan, utilities using modern digital twins can get ahead of problematic vegetation using real-time visualization dashboards that offer a laser-focus on areas that need attention. Most importantly, using an intelligent network model means that vegetation risks won’t slip through the cracks and fewer dangerous fires ensue. 

Learn more about the applications of digital twins here.


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