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Dassault Systèmes to develop Singapore’s ‘digital twin’

Zafirah Salim | July 28, 2015
The French company is partnering with the National Research Foundation to develop Virtual Singapore, a 3D city model platform that aims to solve the nation’s emerging and complex urbanisation challenges.

Bernard Charles, President and CEO of Dassault Systèmes, speaking about the Virtual Singapore project at a media briefing in Singapore

"Many agencies in charge of city development are really blind," said Bernard Charles, President and CEO of Dassault Systèmes at a media briefing in Singapore on July 16, 2015.

"They are making decisions without fully understanding its effect, especially when cities are so connected nowadays. This includes energy and waste management, space utilisation and even the lifecycle management of buildings," he added.

He lamented that most of the assets available to plan the lifecycle of a city are also very "poorly documented" - only some basic documents and maps are digitised, and there is no holistic approach to city management or planning.

With this in mind, Dassault Systèmes, a French 3DEXPERIENCE company, has collaborated with the National Research Foundation (NRF), a department within Singapore's Prime Minister's Office, to develop Virtual Singapore, a 3D city model platform for knowledge-sharing and community collaboration.

First launched in December 2014 as part of Singapore's Smart Nation drive, Virtual Singapore is part of a five-year S$73 million research and development programme that the NRF, Singapore Land Authority (SLA), Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and Dassault Systèmes have embarked on.

While NRF leads the project, IDA provides information and communications technology expertise and SLA provides 3D topological mapping data. SLA will also own and operate the project once it reaches completion in 2018.

According to Dassault Systèmes, Virtual Singapore is a collaborative platform with a rich data environment and visualisation techniques that will be used by Singapore citizens, businesses, government and research community to develop tools and services that address the emerging and complex challenges that the nation faces.

A city is no longer a 'flat thing'

This pioneering project builds upon Dassault Systèmes' 3DEXPERIENCity, powered by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, to create a dynamic, 3D digital model of Singapore and connect all stakeholders in a secured and controlled environment. The model will employ data analytics and simulate modeling capabilities for testing concepts and services, planning, decision making, researching technologies and generating community collaboration.

With images and data collected from various public agencies, including geometric, geospatial and topology, as well as legacy and real-time data such as demographics, movement or climate, Virtual Singapore users will be able to create rich visual models and realistic large-scale simulations of Singapore.

Users can then digitally explore the impact of urbanisation on the city-state and develop solutions that optimise logistics, governance and operations related to environmental and disaster management, infrastructure, homeland security or community services.

This 3D modeling process is also known as the building of 'digital twin', which Charles defined as the "digital definition of what's happening in the reality". It does not only take into account the physical aspect of things, but also the biological and geographical aspects.


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