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DUET kicks off in Antwerp

The explosion of data along with enabling technologies (artificial intelligence, machine learning, cognitive computing etc.) is already driving a paradigm shift in the way cities and regions are governed. However, many public administrations are still at the start of the transformation journey and progress in general has been slow. Past studies found that only 12% of city data is analysed and used for decision making and management, leaving the vast majority of the corpus untouched. Why are cities not taking advantage of the data-rich environment that surrounds them? Assuming cities find a way to harness most of this data, how can we ensure they make the most of it to inform agile, forward looking policy making? These questions paved the way for a bigger discussion about Digital Twins at the DUET kick-off meeting held on 9-10 December 2019 in Antwerp.

DUET partners learn about the features of Antwerp Digital Twin from imec

DUET is a brand new innovation project which leverages the advanced capabilities of cloud and high-performance computing, in the form of Digital Twins, to help public sector decision-making become more democratic and effective. By creating digital replica's of a city, people, no matter their background, can use the Digital Twins 3D and 2D interfaces for easy policy impact exploration and experimentation across entire cities and regions.

DUET's use of Digital Twins truly changes the policy game, disrupting the field of Smart Cities and transitioning to a new age of Responsive Cities. With Responsive Cities, solutions are not designed around citizens, they are designed with the citizen placed firmly at the center of the action. Where Smart Cities are technology driven and produce large amounts of data from fixed or centrally controlled sensors, Responsive Cities recognise that citizens are also a major player in data generation which helps to shape real-time city decisions.

Initially, DUET will be developed and tested in Antwerp, Pilsen and Athens. These pilots start from different positions on the digital twin journey. Antwerp has a working prototype. Pilsen has the tools but not an integrated solution. Athens lacks both. However, all three believe in the concept, sharing a conviction that digital twin technology is key to effective, future-proof policy making. By the end of the project, each pilot receives a solution commensurate with their city’s digital maturity, smart city strategy, political buy-in and budget.

Antwerp Digital Twin in action: demo of noise simulation

We start by testing DUET in the smart city environment, with local administrations as main users. However, a fully developed solution has no restrictions when it comes to potential adopters. City halls, companies (big and small), universities, emergency services all are using DUET because it is cheaper, more advanced and user-friendly than competitor solutions. Thanks to DUET, organisations are more responsive, reacting rapidly to real-time events; policy decisions are faster and more effective, and relationships with citizens are improved.

To make DUET’s vision statement easy to understand and coalesce around, it has been broken down into three core project focus areas, and condensed into one simple to understand sentence for each of those areas.

  • Cities: DUET makes it easy for any city, no matter how large or small, to use cloud & AI to realise the full potential of city data and drive an era of informed, intelligent and co-created policy making.

  • Technology: DUET leverages cloud and high powered computing to connect physical and cyber systems resulting in a near real-time, digital footprint of a city for exploration and experimentation.

  • Standards: DUET’s Policy-Ready-Data-as-a-Service (PRDaaS) advances global standards for city data enabling a digital twin to be set-up in one-click for systemic policy impact exploration and experimentation.

As a cooperative endeavour involving 15 different partners, among them 21c, DUET is always on the look out for new collaboration opportunities. If you are interested in Digital Twins, have an initiative to share, or want to connect for any reason just get in touch using the contact form. You can also follow DUET on Twitter (@DuetH2020).


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