20 | ROCKY MOUNTAIN WATER JULY-AUGUST 2021
• Data integration and management lays the foundational
technology to integrate data and apply context while making
it available to the Digital Twin and utility personnel.
• Analytics leverage data and physics-based models to
crunch data and run scenarios.
• Visualization provides the ability to ideate the physical
scenarios and monitor the current system.
• User experience makes Digital Twin intuitive, reliable,
and trustworthy to utilities. Understanding how a util-ity
plans to use Digital Twin is the most critical part and
must be considered when building and implementing the
The result is that engineers and operators work with a Digi-tal
Twin in a feedback loop, to learn, perform, predict, and
act. In any scenario, a trusted, collaborative, and continuous
partnership helps utilities perform today and tomorrow.
The digital replication of the physical world, constructed
or in design, allows operators to test, simulate, and evalu-ate
scenarios to make the most of the design or operations
of a facility. The capabilities of the Digital Twin also vary,
from replicas of the physical operation in a map or model
with limited operational data, to a real-time physics-based
model that includes weather, hydraulics, and biological
Building a brighter future together
Whether you’re an early adopter or not, the building blocks
are the same for every water system: Lay the foundation for
a Digital Twin with your digital infrastructure today.
To begin, start integrating and managing data with smart
utility tools and frameworks. For example, a water system
can first look to optimize the data from its SCADA system
or measuring devices, or even work orders and customer
information. Like the evolution of the relationship between
drivers and smart cars, or airplane pilots and autopi-lots,
small steps to the lay the groundwork for the Digital
Twin now can empower engineers and operators with
a safer, more efficient, and more reliable water system in
Michael Karl is Brown and Caldwell’s National
Optimization Services Leader and a Senior Project
Manager, who works with utilities to help them run
operations more efficiently while leveraging digi-tal
technology in a sustainable way to better serve
the unique challenges of the water industry. He has been provid-ing
optimization and digital services to the water industry for the
past 21 years.