Digital twins are a combination of data, visualisation and connected sensors; Digital twins are a combination of data, visualisation and connected sensors;

Digital twins

Connecting your people, processes, and data to run tomorrow’s business

Connecting your people, processes, and data to run tomorrow’s business

Digital technologies gain power as they blend and converge. Digital twins are a great example of this process – they’re combinations of data, visualisation and connected sensors, offering unparalleled levels of insight into everything from energy use to occupancy to imminent maintenance requirements. But digital twins are much more than this, they are about connecting our physical and digital worlds together to produce incredibly valuable insights and outcomes. 

A factory, a hospital, a railway station, a commercial office tower – today every business generates millions of data points. The purpose and value of digital twins varies from client to client, sector to sector. But what they all share is the ability to feed previously disparate data sources into a unified picture of how a business or asset is operating. 

Our service, as consultants and technologists who understand the built environment, is to work with your organisation to develop a twin that connects these information sources, building a digital twin that generates valuable intelligence every day. 

Digital twins are a combination of data, visualisation and connected sensors offering unparalleled levels of insight. But they're also more than this. Digital twins are about connecting our physical and digital worlds to produce high value insights and outcomes. ”

Simon Evans Simon Evans Global Digital Twin Leader

A future-ready vision

Data is increasingly recognised as another asset on company balance sheets, one that historically has often gone unnoticed. The ability to review and interpret data – from seasonal changes in sales or changing demand on a nation’s energy network – strengthens an organisation’s ability to pivot its business model, develop new services or anticipate costs. Adopting a digital twin approach can unlock the value of your business data.

All over the world regulators are raising standards for the built environment, so a major part of our work is developing digital twins for existing buildings and assets, retroactively bringing them into the data-intelligence era. Soon a digital twin strategy will be an expectation when proposals are reviewed by investors, insurers and banks. Given the lifespan of assets this is both an urgent and exciting priority.

New and existing assets

Whenever Arup designs new assets, there’s an opportunity to develop a digital twin in parallel, using design information and simulation models to benefit construction and  the operational phases. 

But it’s in creating digital twins for existing assets that our experience and pan-disciplinary capability really pay off. For assets where detailed, up-to-date information and data is lacking, we move forward in steps, incrementally, starting with a small-use case to prove the digital twin concept, and building from there


Whether you’re developing a new built asset or operating a portfolio of existing ones, there are many valuable use cases for digital twins:


A world-first: shaping the digital twin of a national energy system

Arup is working with technical partners and the UK’s electricity system operator, National Grid ESO, to create the blueprint for the Virtual Energy System – an ecosystem of digital twins that will be vital in connecting and decarbonising the energy network

Learn more about our work in the energy sector


A digital twin for next-generation signalling: the green light for the Digital Railway

For Network Rail’s rollout of digital signalling, we built a roadmap for the incremental development of a digital twin that will deliver accumulating benefits across the UK rail system. 


Complex questions, simple answers: optimising operations at Hague City Hall

Arup’s virtual model of Hague City Hall uses machine learning to analyse information from thousands of data points, diagnosing and optimising the building’s systems, and enabling huge efficiencies in energy and occupancy. 

Learn more about the Hague City Hall digital twin


Pro-active, not reactive: helping water companies prepare for floods

A digital twin we’ve developed uses machine learning and sensors throughout a catchment area to understand the behaviour of a system, allowing operators to predict and plan better for flooding events. 

A process... not a product

The digital twin isn’t really a product. You can’t buy one and simply plug it in. In reality a digital twin is a methodology, a business process that connects something physical to the digital realm within your organisation, enabling a new level of insight and decision-making.

A graphic image of the digital twin process A graphic image of the digital twin process

This new level of control allows clients to then optimise the physical component in some way – be it an office, a train, a water network or other complex system or process – creating a virtuous feedback loop.

How we work with you

There are many kinds of twin and many different ways to develop one. When you work with our team, the development process has four distinct stages:

  1. Assessment and road-mapping: we find out what data you can take advantage of, and how it might be combined to form a compelling business case. Costings are developed including a timeline to return-on-investment.

  2. Create the twin: we then develop a working model from your data and underlying information infrastructure.

  3. Manage and maintain: once implemented within your organisation, we support you to refine and expand the twin’s effectiveness and security, bolting on new services and data streams.

  4. Iterate and upgrade: continuous improvements are possible as data platforms gain in power and capability every year. We work with you to continually improve the twin.

As a form of business change, adopting a digital twin approach produces value every step of the way. Data is better understood and becomes more valuable as it becomes connected and interoperable. The twin development process is also a learning process for your business.

Connected digital twin thought leaders

We’re helping to shape the latest thinking around digital twins. Arup has closely supported the Centre for Digital Built Britain’s National Digital Twin programme (NDTp), contributing regularly to publications and authoring, on its behalf, the Gemini Papers series. We now actively support the Digital Twin Hub. 

Contact us

Every digital twin begins with a conversation – about your business or organisation; about the data you’re not currently gaining value from; about what you want to achieve tomorrow. So get in touch.


Meet our people

Photograph of a man on a windfarm looking at a map on a handheld screen Photograph of a man on a windfarm looking at a map on a handheld screen