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28 Sep 2023 | Industry Insights

Building Management System (BMS) vs. Digital Twin: Revolutionising Facility Management

Building Management System vs. Digital Twin: Revolutionising Facility Management

Building Management Systems (BMS) have long been the gold standard in controlling and monitoring a building's mechanical, electrical, and electromechanical services.  These systems streamline operations, allowing facility managers to oversee everything from HVAC to lighting to security systems.  However, a new technology has emerged that pushes the boundaries of building management even further – the digital twin.

Understanding Building Management Systems

A BMS is essentially an overarching control system responsible for the automatic regulation of non-GMP facilities.  It provides a centralised control of building automation, enabling lifetime efficiency by allowing monitoring, control, and optimisation of building performance.  The principal aim of a BMS is to simplify operations, making it easier to manage, monitor, and improve.

Enter the Digital Twin

The concept of a digital twin takes building management to the next level. A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical entity – in this case, a building. This technology allows users to have a more accurate and detailed view of real-time conditions within a building.

Unlike a traditional BMS, a digital twin can identify issues and predict future outcomes without the need for simulation.

By integrating multiple operational functions into a single platform, a digital twin provides a holistic view of the building's operations. It communicates with all of the equipment and systems in the building, providing a comprehensive picture that is more nuanced and detailed than what a BMS can offer.

The Advantages of a Digital Twin

The benefits of using a digital twin over a BMS are manifold.

  • Enhanced Precision and Detail: The digital twin's ability to provide a granular view of a building's real-time conditions surpasses what a traditional Building Management System (BMS) can offer. This fine-tuned insight allows facility managers to make more informed decisions, leading to improved operational efficiency and asset performance.
  • Predictive Maintenance: A digital twin identifies potential issues before they escalate into costly problems. This predictive capability not only saves time but also reduces the financial burden of unexpected repairs and system downtime, making it a cost-effective solution in the long run.
  • Sustainability Champion: Digital twins are instrumental in driving sustainability initiatives. They provide precise data on energy use, waste generation, and resource consumption. Armed with this information, facility managers can implement targeted strategies to reduce energy consumption, lower carbon emissions, and enhance overall sustainability.
  • Compliance Facilitator: With the detailed data provided by a digital twin, it becomes easier to meet the stringent requirements of green building certifications like LEED or BREEAM. This compliance facilitation is a significant advantage over traditional BMS, especially in an era where sustainability is no longer optional but a mandate.
  • Integration of Operational Functions: One of the most game-changing benefits of a digital twin is its ability to integrate multiple operational functions into a single platform. This holistic approach provides a comprehensive view of the building's operations, offering a level of oversight and control that a traditional BMS cannot match.

In conclusion, while a BMS has served the building industry well, the advent of digital twins represents a significant leap forward. By offering a more detailed, accurate, and holistic view of building operations, digital twins are set to revolutionise the way we manage and operate our buildings.

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