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David McKee with Digital Twin Consortium
17th May 2024 • The Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie • The Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie
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Industrial Talk is onsite at OMG, Q1 Meeting and talking to David McKee, DTC Ambassador with Digital Twin Consortium about "Data - Your digital journey must start with trustworthy data".
Scott MacKenzie and David McKee discussed the importance of disrupting traditional business models for sustainability, emphasizing the need for companies to adopt sustainable practices not just for environmental reasons but also for societal impact. They highlighted the potential of digital technologies to drive sustainability in various sectors, including healthcare, construction, and energy. Later, Speaker 2 and Scott MacKenzie discussed the importance of sustainable digital twins and data management, emphasizing the need for responsible compute, energy, power, and storage, as well as the potential of digital twin technology to revolutionize the way complexes are managed and maintained.

Action Items

  • [ ] Demonstrate the cross-functional use case project at the Transform conference in June 2022.
  • [ ] Continue iterating on requirements and challenges with end users and vendors involved in the cross-functional use case project.
  • [ ] Deploy the cloud implementation of the cross-functional use case project and have end users like White Rose Park utilizing it.


Industry trends and innovations with a focus on exiting a company and starting another.

  • David McKee is a problem solver and innovator discussed on the podcast.
  • David reflects on their entrepreneurial journey, exiting a company and accidentally starting another.

Sustainable business growth and digital transformation.

  • David discusses counterpoint technologies, a company focused on sustainability and growth.
  • David highlights the importance of slowing down and assessing customer needs to ensure long-term success.
  • David highlights the importance of basics in digital transformation, focusing on highly regulated sectors like healthcare and construction.

Digital twins, sustainability, and platform architecture.

  • David discusses the importance of sustainability in digital twin technology, mentioning the need for responsible compute, energy, power, and storage.
  • David and Scott MacKenzie discuss the concept of sustainable digital twins, including the need for a light touch but regulated and assured platform.
  • David describes the Digital Consortium's work in developing a capabilities and technologies working group, which has identified common capabilities across various use cases.
  • The consortium has published two outputs: a capabilities periodic table and a platform stack architecture framework, which provide a foundation for accelerating through the initial stage of requirements.
  • David: Digital twin building blocks include IT system, computing, networking, storage, and models/simulation.
  • David: Periodic table and architecture framework provide a quick way to identify needed capabilities.

Using digital twins for operational resilience in various industries.

  • Speaker discusses cross-functional use case for digital twin technology to improve resilience in the face of unexpected events.
  • David highlights the diverse range of participants in a consortium spanning three continents, including a university, hospital, and businesses.

Digital twin technology for businesses, including data integration and synchronization.

  • David discusses how a digital twin system is being developed for a hospital, including viral dispersion monitoring and data visualization.
  • Members from various companies are collaborating on the project, including software engineers and those from other fields, to create a full digital twin system within 6-9 months.
  • David: Digital twin brings data to life, makes it actionable (0:23:34)
  • Digital twin is a virtual representation of a real-world entity or process (0:24:00)

Using digital twins to optimize business operations.

  • David emphasizes the importance of starting with a solid data landscape and returning value quickly.
  • David and Scott MacKenzie discuss the benefits of working with startups and accelerator programs in the Northeast UK.
  • David: Data fabric saves money, provides actionable insights (0:28:12)
  • David: Clean data is key to business resilience, efficiency, better decisions (0:29:46)
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Welcome to the Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's get


right once again, welcome to Industrial Talk the number one industrial related podcast in the universe that celebrates industry professionals all around the world. You are bold, yes, you are brave, you dare greatly you innovate, you collaborate, you solve problems. And that's why we celebrate you on this podcast. We are broadcasting on site. It is Reston, Virginia. If you haven't been here, well, it looks like Reston, Virginia. And it is the OMG Q one meeting. And it's a collection of problem solvers. It's it's, they definitely talk about my capability by I just sit and I listen to sort of like a fireside chat. And this is this brings up a good point and a good segue into David McKee. He's He's exactly that I'm going to sit by the fire and he's going to teach me something.


Not not too bad. I wonder if I'll see rest in this time. I still don't know what it looks like. And I've been here multiple times, you know, airport to hotel back to the airport. Yeah.


What do you do for dinner?


I have made it out of the hotel this morning. for coffee. Did you? Yeah. Where'd you go? Was this Starbucks just down the corner?


Yeah, but there's a there's this place. Uh, we went for lunch. It is spectacular, quite frankly. Yeah. Don't ask me what the name is. Don't, don't you? Again, that's you're asking way too much. But the reality is, is that it was spectacular. It's just right over in the corner. Just go out. Yeah, my wife knows. And I'm telling you, it's good. We'll give it a go. You need to just it's just a hop, skip and jump. Right there. All right, let's level set. Let's make sure that we know who David is, again, give us a little background on who you are. Yeah,


thanks. Good. Because things change.


He's he embodies David embodies industry. Industry goes through a lot of change. David goes through a lot of change right there. Yeah,


well, salutely. I mean, the first, I think the first time we spoke, we were on the other side of the planet. We're in Barcelona, and I was the founder, CEO and CTO at slingshot simulations. Obviously, I'm still the founder that never changes.


Here, here's my founders car.


th of August:


To high Hi, there. Don't Don't Don't ask me about the math.


And then, you know, in the process of what we're all here about, you're trying to slow down and take it easy. lasted about two hours, and decided to accidentally set up another company? Because that's what you do. Because that's because that's clearly what me and my wife, that's what the


internet says. Yeah.


Absolutely. So you know, me and my wife is out there, you know, both slowing down, you're having both being at slingshot and slowing down. You know, we've got a toddler at home. So it's not like we're not busy. Yeah. And I think she must have gone down for a nap. And but my daughter woke up would set up another company, check us out. So but actually, you know, on on that we set up a company called counterpoint technologies and counter counter counterpoint. And really, what was the motivation for them and was a bit of a branding genius around this was we kept people say, Well, what character point to this with the character? And we're like, oh, that's a really good idea. Without that word, we'll take that. Thank you very much. Yeah. But what's really interesting is we're trying to disrupt the way we do business change the business playbook. Which, obviously, within a technology focus, but actually how do we do things in a more sustainable way? And I'm not talking just about the green agenda. Yeah. But actually sustainability from society perspective, from a small company to a large company, how do we make things that actually can survive and grow and make a genuine impact for everyone around us?


Give us just everybody, it's natural. When somebody says sustainability, we're talking about trees or something like that something green. Give us just a little example of what you mean by something a little bit more than that. So


I think one example so we work with quite a lot of startups now. And I'll talk a bit more about what we do counterpoint in a second. But actually, how do we help them and founders may Do we not have to raise that extra round of investment? By helping them grow in a more sustainable way? Because actually, that's part of it. You know, it's actually that's part of building sustainable businesses. Yeah. You know, of course, we want them to do things and more Greenway and all that as well. But actually, they can't do that if they're not around anymore.


It's true. No, that's, that's.


So that's so we're looking at how do we help them grow? In that more consistent fashion? Sometimes that means slowing down than it was like doing that? The Hello, I'm not very good at it. But slowing down and stopping breathing and say, Hang on a minute, what do we need to do? How do we make sure that we don't miss payroll? How do we assess what the customer genuinely wants? You know, we're here to at a tech, you know, tech competition where we're here at the cutting edge of stuff. And actually, I'm one of the one of the businesses that we work with, and I'll talk more about it is a business called Crysp


that on the on your stat card or on LinkedIn. Check that name out. That's pretty cool.


Yeah, it's good. Yeah.


I gravitate to the names. It's like, that's how I buy it's a


good it's a good name. But it's what's fascinating about them is they embody digital transformation. And they're a member here of the Digital Consortium as well. And do they have all the bells and whistles that most of the people here in this building have? No. But they are inherently about helping businesses get from paper based filing cabinets, the digital is quick, and easy to fashion as possible. And then we can do all the cool funky stuff. Yeah. But actually, that's where that's where people are at. You know, we can talk about all this fun stuff. But if we can't do the basics, right, and get away from filing cabinets, then we can talk about AI. We can talk about machine learning, we can talk about computer vision, VR headsets, HoloLens, and you name it. Yeah, doesn't matter. So filing cabinet and my


basis, you're just talking about blocking and tackling just the basic business blocking and tackling but, but in general, it's the Yeah, yeah. And and the, the grab with a strategic mindset to go and digital, you have to get the basics down.


Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And then I'll come back to some of the Digital Trends stuff in a second. You're there you've come at it from the sectors that nobody else wants to touch. highly regulated. Yep. Typically not very much money. So schools, yes, healthcare, and construction sites, remote utilities. So interestingly, with that one is their big the biggest customer is EDF. Oh, yeah. So you know, one of the world's largest energy providers, and they are currently providing health and safety, compliance. So you know, someone trips, the fire, escape safe, etcetera, all that fun stuff. It's kind of important to have the biggest nuclear sites in the UK. Because it's simple. The no fancy sensors is a dashboard and repository. But what's fascinating about it is because they've managed to get to this point where the data is consistent. Now we can do cool stuff. We can now put it on map, we can now look at 3d, we can look at all this fun stuff. But two years ago, we couldn't because the data was in filing cabinets.


See, this is this is so interesting, when we start talking about that, and it is always inevitably I have conversations around data. And then I always go to the point is like, yeah, that data, I guarantee, how do you clean and scrub? And that's that? Yeah. Because it's always who's going to do that? How far back do you go?


And then who's gonna maintain it? Because it has to kind of maintain it. You're like, you know, if you've got a teacher, so we've got, we've helped this platforms now in schools. It's in dozens, I think must be 70 plus schools, your children's safety people are the trip to hurt themselves. Schools have to keep that data for 25 years. That's a long time. I'm sorry, but teachers already overworked. Are they going to sit there cleaning data? Yeah, well, I hope not. Because, you know, I don't want to pay for them to clean the data. No, I want to teach my kids, nobody wants


to even clean data. That's a whole other conversation.


it must have been was it may:


22. One


year? Yes, it was yes. But we first we first talked about this concept called a sustainable digital twin. Yes. And we talked about it as being two orthogonal layers around how do you build digital twin sustainably in terms of responsible compute, you know, energy, power and storage and all that fun stuff? And but also, how do you build digital twins for sustainable systems and how you do it more from an organizational? How do you do it for ecology, all that. So there's different angles to that. And someone like Chris booth, I find really interesting because it creates this sustainable, you know, very light touch, but regulated, assured platform that we can build upon. And then here at the Digital Consortium, where I'm chairing the capabilities and technologies working group, were cut across all the different working groups within the consortium, every working with nearly every single member, working, in some ways, nearly with every single use case, learning from every single one, learning what they're doing in aerospace and defense, and applying it to farming, learning what they're doing in supply chain, and applying it to the pharmaceutical and vice versa. And using that to build best practices. So to know, in the last probably 18 months or so, there's two really exciting outputs that came out from the consortium that are worth mentioning. So a colleague of mine, Peter Van schalkwyk, from XM pro led a piece of work around the capabilities periodic table. And this looks, I


just saw it out on LinkedIn. It's really cool. It's like right then and there. And I just like, oh, yeah, let me give it a thumbs up. Exactly,


. And about:


but see, this is what's interesting. And I like where you're going with this because every time I have conversations here at OMG you with plenty of the big thinkers. I always I want to gravitate to something that's approachable, something that I can do that something that I don't feel stupid, you know, but, but being able to make it simple, make it approachable. I think that that then you get compliant As you get people saying, Yeah, this is this is the right thing to do.


No, you're absolutely. And that was the biggest challenge. Yeah. And that was the biggest challenge in terms of both of them, bringing it down to the masses, and making it we can make it really accessible. But what it turns out is that, that provides a method for rapid adoption. Yes. And, you know, is there a single line of code there? No, it doesn't matter. It's a picture. And in reality, we're talking about just two pictures there. One periodic table and one architecture. That's it. Actually, the fact that I think that, for me, personally, is quite a big achievement that we've got it down to those two, two pictures. And you're and there's not too many arrows on the mind. So they just don't read them.


Yeah. See, this was it's interesting, because I always, every time I have these conversations, it's like herding cats. There's just here, we can do this. Here's another use case, another one. This is and it's so exciting. And everything, this energy that exists around that, eventually, somebody had to come in and say, okay, hey, oh, let's just sort of bring it down to something that's a little bit more tangible. And again, a little bit more approachable. No,


absolutely. And there's definitely, I think Peter, and I have the privilege of chairing those into individual pieces can definitely relate to that the herding cats piece. That kind of brings me to where we are not far. And we've got a particular initiative that I'm really excited about, which is our cross functional use case. So this is looking at bring together as many of the I think it's 12 verticals as we can. Now, you know, I think we've got seven, we've managed to pull into one use case, you can't catch, catch everything. And there's an also bringing in as many vendors into a single use case as well to showcase the challenges. And actually really quickly with end users present, actually iterate on those and build something practical. So what we've what we've managed to do, and we only started this in December, and we're going to be demonstrating it. And at transform in June. Yes. So it's a pretty quick turnaround. That's huge. We started with 17 vendors, who expressed interest, we're not down to 11, just in terms of the ability to move at pace, and will filter out some of the requirements we've got, and the use case focused on resilience. Good to see. So again, looking at sustainability, but from a very particular angle. So there's again, which is kind of where I really like to focus on sustainable digital twin. So looking at operational resilience, this could be natural disasters, could be road traffic incident could be health incident, you name it. Could it be COVID to be COVID? It could be COVID. Absolutely. I'm not sure if anyone's any of us want to touch that one. No, that's a separate. That's


a classic example. I'm not resilient. Yeah,


that might require more than 11 vendors like Yeah. So what speak was really exciting about this piece in particular is we're in the across the members are involved three continents. We've got here in the US, we've got a end user in California. We've got an end user in Singapore. We've got two end users in the UK. So these are members of the consortium. But they all own or manage property. So physical buildings, and this is real estate. Yeah, we have a kind of public sector government body in the US. And I think it's currently level from memory. We have University of Leeds, helps them my


background was just gonna say your stat card is just full of leads.


a business park with has over:


it's a classic dashboard approach is bad yellow watch, and green good.


It works. It's everyone knows. If it's not broken, don't change it. So doing that, but doing that on the office site and replicating that immediately. So we we've got them, we have another member According to Reuters, which is adding a cybersecurity framework. Oh, good good as well. But that that's also really interesting, because they're going to be out there demonstrating how actually, you can have a digital twin of the, of the digital twin itself. So they're looking at the network and the cyber and how we can use a digital twin to monitor that. This multifaceted, come together, there's there's another member, and there's edX there as who do some zoom and some really clever geospatial stuff. We have Chris, again, who provide in the underlying foundational fabric of data in that assured peace, because that's what they do. It's all about that assurance that we're talking about a minute ago. And they're saying, actually, if you want to show that something is compliant, and you know that there is an incident here, well, actually, we need to show we can trust the data. And we need to migrate Holliday from paper. So they're, they're already doing that. So we're bringing them in. And then there's a couple other members there as well. So the really interesting thing, and exciting to think about this is actually we're bringing people together of different sizes of companies, you know, some of these are, you know, one or two people teams to obviously kind of multinationals in there, as well. And there's people waiting on the sidelines to get involved. So there's a fate it's gonna be phase two and phase three as this thing will grow. And we're looking forward to bringing like some pro and others into the into the conversation at the appropriate as the data becomes available. And you kind of go through the lifecycle of this. But the nice thing about this is that this is one of the first times we're able to so quickly bring together this number of vendors to build a full digital twin system. And we're doing it following the path of the capability parallel table, going through the platform stack Architecture Framework, and going through to deployment and be able to track and show went wrong as well show the challenges that we all had to face. And we will come with different perspectives. Some of us software engineers, some of us not. So we're literally in space, about six to nine months, we're going to we're doing that that whole thing, including a cloud deployment, and this thing will be up and running live with white rose park and a couple of the others actually using it. So this isn't, you know, a talk, this isn't a toy example. At the end, this is in use


your for the listeners out there, what's make it as simple as possible. Why is a digital twin or that approach? Important for business?


I mean, I think, fundamentally, it comes down to two things. First of all, it brings your data to life. Because we've all got data, every business has data.


But we're not doing what you did in the beginning. You said, let's get that data, accurate, clean, scrubbed, whatever.


Yeah, there's all that stuff, your annual on actually, those are some of the challenges we're looking at as we go through this piece, as well as we've got different use cases, different vendors different providing data, and it was all in different formats. Why would it be? But actually, if we can bring it to life, make it actionable? Yeah. Because actually, you know, when we looking at health and safety incident, or even environmental incident, whichever. If you record the date, and you put it on a piece of paper, and you put it in the drawer, so it doesn't do anything. Yeah, it only matters when you suddenly have your audit. Yeah. And they say I'd like to see all your paperwork and they go through. I said, What did you do about this? And then you're thinking we didn't do anything? Yeah. And then you then you're then you're in trouble. Yeah. Then you get sued. Yeah. And you're taking core, whatever is. So actually a digital twin is at the most basic level is bringing that together into some people might say, Well, isn't that just a dashboard? Actually dashboards are important element. Because otherwise, you can have all the headsets and you can have all the other things but you probably need a dashboard. But the key word and the definition that we published about a digital twin couple years ago now we would describe the digital twin as being a virtual representation of a real world. entity or process. So it's not just your buildings, it's your processes as well. We need both synchronized at a specified frequency or fidelity. And the word synchronized is key. Because otherwise, so load the data. Fine. Yesterday, we're all good. Yeah, I have no idea about today. Yeah. So the key thing is actually that constant synchronization, that constant thing, actually, we are constantly in the loop. And then as you get more advanced with these digital twins, you're then adding that forecasting that prediction. See,


that's, that's where everything is, and simulations and simulations.


Simulations, absolutely. But actually, one of the things that I'm really keen about and at current a point we're really looking at is, don't start with that. Start with getting your data landscape. Just because actually, one of the and this is one of the things that we really focus on. You know, we, myself and others in the team we were working with, I think, must be about dozen startups at this point. We're also working with accelerator programs helping run accelerator programs in the Northeast UK. And we're looking at putting 400 Researchers through an accelerator program in the next 18 months. So you know, we're not hanging around, you guys are bald man. We are, we are bald. And they're going across every like every sector, you can think of some really cool stuff from social scientists, that arts humanities through to deep, deep tech. But the really fundamental thing is we're doing it is doing it differently. I think about how do we return value as soon as possible? If you know, we talk about this mega mega digit from Project, and you're like, okay, so so we're gonna be reading two or three years.


18 months?


Okay, that sounds like every IT projects. But actually, that's not what excites me. And that's why I like working with, with, with some of the companies, I'm bringing different people together. So a lot of the people I'm working with and bringing people you know, I like crisp as a really good example of this, is they don't have that, read all the funky stuff. That might be why you're gonna spend $2 million. Yeah, but actually, the first $100,000 You spend with them? will then return value in two weeks.


No way.


Because you know, what we'll do is we'll send an auditor, walk around your site, check all the paperwork, scanner paperwork, we'll put it in tidy all up.


Does a good rule of thumb, how far back? Do you go with the data?


Depends on the sector. Yeah. So if it's schools, you come back right away. You know, some of that can take time.


It's always I've had that conversation a number of times, like how far do you want to go back? Because nobody wants to clean the data. So I mean, less time, just less data to scrub and all that stuff.


But by keeping it simple, yeah. You kind of go through that. But the key thing is we say right, well, what we're going to do, is everything moving forward from this point. Yeah. Isn't the new format. Yeah, everything just stop. So then we can take our time cleaning, you know, but actually, we're not creating more joke. Good point. And significantly, what we've done was in a couple of weeks, we've got this environment where we've now got this man, it's data fabric, this foundational layer, that ordered returned value is saving your money. It's showing you that live that actionable insight that now we can go to the maximum six Emperor's we can do we can add all those things on top and start adding that extra value. But you've got value on your 2 million quid within two weeks.


I love it. You never disappoint. Oh, he's okay. I was I was excited to see your name on my calendar. I said. Yes. All right. How are you my friend?


Reach out on LinkedIn. Yeah, that's where I go.


Right answer right answer. All right. We're gonna have all the contact information for David out on Industrial Talk. If you haven't listened to his past podcast, it's a must listen to our he never. He never stands still he he embodies industry as a change as he changes. He's amazing. Yeah. I've got the I've got the trading card to prove it. Alright, listeners, once again, we're broadcasting from wrestling. Its own Gs q1 meeting. And again, you're gonna get a bunch of people like David, coming on the podcast, sharing their insights. They're doing a lot here at this particular event. We're gonna wrap it up on the other side. Stay tuned, we will be right


back. You're listening to the Industrial Talk Podcast Network.


Here's a call to action, clean that data. That'd be good on a shirt, clean that data. Then you can do all the cool stuff that that comes from. Great, clean, scrub. Validate Get Data to help your business become more resilient. Efficient, make better decisions. David never disappoints. Every time I talk to David. I feel like I'm just scratching the surface of what he knows. And I mean, there's a we've I've spoken to him a number of times, it's all out on Industrial Talk. I'm telling you, that is one guy you need to connect with. He, he definitely. Just a little glimmer of his insights. digital twin consortium omg the event q1. That was great. All right. Again, go out to Industrial Talk. Reach out. It's all about education, collaboration, and innovation. David, people will be brave. They're greatly hanging out with David changed the world. We're going to have another great conversation shortly. So stay tuned.



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