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Centre for Digital Built Britain completed its five-year mission and closed its doors at the end of September 2022

This website remains as a legacy of the achievements of our five-year foundational journey towards a digital built Britain

In Greek mythology, the minotaur was a ferocious creature of half bull and half man. So dangerous was the minotaur, that Minos, King of Crete, tasked Daedalus, the great architect and engineer, to build a labyrinth to house the minotaur. The labyrinth was famous for being unnavigable; once in, anyone who entered was doomed to be eaten by the minotaur. Minos had recently conquered Athens, and he demanded, as tribute, that every year Athens would send seven maidens and seven youths to be sacrificed to the minotaur. Years later and in a bid to finally end the slaughter, Theseus, a son of King Aegeus of Athens, decided to try and prevent further bloodshed by killing the minotaur. Theseus had also fallen in love with Ariadne, daughter of Minos, and she helped him by equipping him with a sword and a ball of red thread. Theseus tied the red thread at the entrance and unrolled it as he penetrated the labyrinth. He found the minotaur deep in the recesses of the labyrinth, killed it with his sword, and quickly followed the thread back to the entrance. Phew!

Theseus was not only brave, but critically, he was also equipped with the right tools to conquer the problem – in fact he faced two problems: the ferocious minotaur and the unnavigable labyrinth. The sword deftly dealt with the minotaur, but it was the use of the red thread that provided Theseus with an innovative solution to safely and quickly navigate the labyrinth.

It’s a bit of a stretch, but in the context of CDBB’s Gemini Principles, Theseus was using tools that were:

  • Purposeful (to save lives)
  • Trustworthy (I bet he tied that knot tightly!)
  • Functional (he made it back safely and the threat of the minotaur was no more)

We can think of a digital twin as being a digital model of the labyrinth (a ‘physical asset’) – although, in our experience here at Tonic Analytics, it is usually so much more – often including data that also relates to infrastructure, people, processes, events and the wider environment. In fact, it is the inter-relationships between all these separate, yet entwined elements, that results in a truly effective digital twin that represents not just a physical asset but an entire connected ecosystem. The exciting prospect of a National Digital Twin takes this a step further, with the creation of an ecosystem of connected digital twins and the potential to deliver even greater benefits for society, business, the economy and the environment.

Just like the labyrinth, the mass of data that forms a digital twin for an ecosystem could quickly become unnavigable. A well-structured and scalable digital twin is therefore essential, but without having a clear purpose, any attempt to navigate it is likely to consume the user, taking up time and unnecessary resource for little beneficial outcome. Purpose brings focus. Purpose ensures that the digital twin contains the right information to solve a specific need and, indeed, that there is sufficient justification and a business case for its creation in the first place.

A digital twin, in itself, is nothing more than an enabler. To deliver outcomes we must add functionThis is achieved by using analytics.  Analytics bring function, by creating the all-important intelligence that will be used to empower better decisions and drive the actions that result in outcomes. Visualisations, workflows and other application features are also likely to underpin the functional aspect of a digital twin.

For a functional digital twin, it is also important to consider the impact of decisions and actions that will be based on the resulting intelligence. Any worthwhile decision or action will have some form of impact - be that financial, timescale, risk, safety or effectiveness for example. It is essential, therefore, that sufficient trust exists in the intelligence and that this be appropriate to the potential impact. This trust must extend to each step in the functional chain:

  • Data acquisition
  • Data ingestion
  • Digital twin
  • Data analytics
  • Intelligence
  • Decisions
  • Actions

Here at Tonic Analytics we know a thing or two about digital twins. In fact, they are right at the heart of our technology and services. Every day, our live digital twin cloud hosted services are processing over 6 Billion new data points for our clients – helping them to gain new insights and providing them with actionable recommendations to help them prevent, predict, and recover from undesirable outcomes. From our initial launch in the helicopter industry, we have grown quickly by applying our generic technology to markets that currently extend to airlines, energy, road transportation and infrastructure, public safety and law enforcement - enabling outcomes that range from saving lives to reducing airline delays; and reducing crime to securing the continuity of offshore oil production. We count global corporations and the public sector within our client base.

So what of our link to Greek mythology? - well, our innovative technology and extensive experience  will help you though the labyrinth of data and ensure that your own digital twin has a clear purpose, is highly functional and can be fully trusted - which is why we named our technology… red.thread®

To find out how we can help your organisation on your own digital twin journey, contact us via our website at or email me directly at