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Commercial building systems often require teams of engineers with years of training to maintain. Even retrofitting old buildings with technologies like HVAC systems can be expensive and time consuming, not to mention mistakes. The construction labor shortage only exacerbates the challenges, with the United States Chamber of Commerce reporting that 70% of contractors are struggling to meet project deadlines.
While digital simulation is gaining ground in other areas, some vendors are touting “digital twin” technology as a partial solution to ongoing construction obstacles. Digital twins are virtual representations of systems that span their lifecycle and use machine learning to aid in decision making. Platforms like London-based SenSat help clients in the construction, mining, energy and other industries create location models for the projects they oversee. Meanwhile, companies like GE are offering products that allow companies to model digital twins of real machines and closely monitor performance.
PassiveLogic is another provider in the growing digital twin technology market, which today announced it has raised $ 34 million in Series B funding, bringing its total raised to $ 53.2 million. Founded in 2016, PassiveLogic uses AI-powered “deep physics” models to enable customers to design, construct, operate and manage both buildings and construction controls.
Digital twins for buildings
Troy Harvey and Jeremy Fillingim, entrepreneurs with a background in hardware engineering, have teamed up to found PassiveLogic with the goal of bringing autonomous controls to the more than $ 1,000 billion building construction industry. The Salt Lake City, Utah-based company’s software environment allows users to create models by drawing schematics and then generate a physics-based digital twin that can be deployed through control hardware. PassiveLogic.
PassiveLogic creates virtual analogs that attempt to mimic the behavior and interactions of their real-world counterparts. Algorithms attempt to understand how a building’s equipment and systems interact, enabling local AI in the building to make control and management decisions for maintenance and operations.
A key consideration in the deployment of digital twin technology is the accuracy of the data, of course – the models are only as good as the data that is used to develop and maintain them. Businesses facing data quality, reliability, management and governance issues are unlikely to be successful with digital twin platforms unless they thoroughly audit and correct for these issues. problems.
As Gartner notes in a report, “It is difficult to anticipate the nature of the simulation models, the types of data, and the analysis of sensor data that might be required to support the design, introduction and delivery. lifespan of physical counterparts of digital twins. . While the 3D geometry is sufficient to visually communicate the digital twin and how the parts fit together, the geometric model may not be able to perform simulations of the behavior of the physical counterpart in use or in operation. functioning. At the same time, the geometric model may not be able to analyze the data if it is not enriched with additional information. [Moreover,] digital twins with long life cycles … [might] extend well beyond the lifespan of the proprietary design software formats that were most likely used to create them and of the means of data storage. “
PassiveLogic aims to counter some data challenges with hardware controllers and sensors that enable connectivity to building systems, providing an advanced platform for sensors, equipment and the Internet of Things (IoT). The devices are designed to support new and old buildings and campuses, including hospitals and data centers, throughout tasks such as programming, installation and commissioning.
Explosion of competition
AI optimizing utilities is a booming business with high demand. Gartner predicts that at least 50% of manufacturers with annual sales exceeding $ 5 billion have launched at least one digital matchmaking initiative for products or assets. Analysts at the firm also predict that the number of organizations using digital twins will triple by the end of 2022.
In addition to PassiveLogic, there are BrainBox, Aquicore, and Mesa, whose algorithms make fine adjustments to HVAC systems on the fly. Augury, a startup developing sensors that attach to machines and record data that is then analyzed in the cloud, works with service companies to diagnose and optimize systems like industrial HVAC. And Carbon Relay leverages the data from the sensors to make predictions about the cooling usage of data centers.
PassiveLogic – which has around 70 employees – says its customer base includes building owners, operators, architects, engineers, contractors and utility partners. The company is still in the pre-product phase, with plans to launch a beta and general release later this year.
“PassiveLogic’s widespread autonomy platform is ideally suited for buildings, which are complex control systems requiring fully customized solutions… However, the technology will have an equal impact on other complex systems such as power grids, logistics and supply chain facilities, networks and other critical infrastructure, “Harvey told VentureBeat via email.” The pandemic has actually spurred interest in safer and more comfortable workspaces and buildings that meet human needs. As employers and building owners contemplate use in a post-pandemic world, we believe that self-contained and energy efficient buildings will be a critical asset. “
Addition, Keyframe, RET Ventures, Brookfield and Era Ventures participated in the last round of PassiveLogic.
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