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The Centre for Digital Built Britain published The Pathway towards an Information Management Framework - A Commons for Digital Built Britain (the “Pathway”) as a response to the recommendation in the National Infrastructure Commission’s Data For the Public Good (2017) to establish an Information Management Framework. 

The Pathway document lays out a proposed approach to enable effective information management and unleash the value of the information held within the built environment to enable better decisions to be made, to drive innovation and a more responsive environment for us to flourish in.  

In order to support secure, resilient exchange, interoperability, and integration and linking of data and models, the pathway proposes the technical core of the framework consisting of: 

  1. A Foundation Data Model 
  2. A Reference Data Library 
  3. An Integration Architecture 

On 29 May 2020, CDBB launched an open consultation seeking feedback on the proposed approach to the development of an Information Management Framework for the built environment. The consultation was made available on the CDBB Website. 

The open consultation closed on 31 August 2020. 

Key Findings 

The open consultation revealed majority agreement with the approach proposed in the Pathway. The responses also highlighted areas that need further clarification and opportunities to expand on original proposals. 

The National Digital Twin programme will be conducting further interviews, and analysis of the feedback to produce a full response to the consultation covering any changes to the approach to developing an Information Management Framework by the end of the year. 

Open Consultation  

Methodology 

The consultation was conducted as a survey via web form on the CDBB website. Respondents were requested to submit responses on set of 11 questions on the Pathway Toward an Information Management Framework. The questions asked during the open consultation are included in the Appendix. 

Respondents were asked about how our proposed approach to the models and protocols and key concepts fit with both the Gemini Principles and their own vision for a National Digital Twin and whether the pathway outlined would deliver the framework and how it might be improved.  

The consultation asked participants to challenge the approach and technical elements of the IMF, looking at different ways to develop the IMF or any key missing or mis aligned elements or tasks from the pathway  

Those that participated were encouraged to share barriers, benefits and opportunities they see as a consequence of the implementation of an IMF and the creation of a National Digital Twin. 

Promotion 

The Open Consultation to the Pathway toward the IMF was promoted by the National Digital Twin Programme once the paper was launched at the end of May 2020.  

A webinar was held on Monday, 8 June 2020 at 19:00 via Teams Live. Miranda Sharp, NDTp Approach and Commons Lead chaired a panel of experts involved in developing the pathway document:  

  • Dame Wendy Hall, Regius Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton 
  • James Hetherington, UKRI, named author of the IMF Pathway 
  • Matthew West, Information Junction, named author of the IMF Pathway 
  • Mark Enzer, Head of the National Digital Twin Programme 
  • Sam Chorlton, DT Hub Stream Lead, National Digital Twin Programme 

There were 350 registrations to attend the Webinar, of which 160 attended. Follow up emails were sent to all registered and attended to invite them to take part in the consultation. 

Articles were posted to the Digital Twin Hub and an appeal to members to take part in the consultation included in the July and August DT Hub newsletters. 

A LinkedIn campaign ran in August as a final push for organisations to respond to the consultation. 

Who Responded? 

A total of 24 individuals and organizations responded to the consultation. 

 Of these 24 respondents, 15 (62.5%) were individuals representing their own views, and 9 (37.5%) represented the views of their organisation. 

Most respondents work within the Built Environment and were made up from: 

  • 37.5% Consultants 
  • 20.83% Asset Owners 
  • 12.5% Research and Innovation 
  • 12.5% Technical Developers/Provider 
  • 8.33% Industry group/professional association 
  • 4.17% each for Local government, and Education 

Next Steps 

The National Digital Twin Programme will build on the initial findings of this work to undertake a second wave of targeted interviews. The NDTp Commons Executive team have selected a small number of significant organisations for interviews about the technical approach and pathway to the IMF. They will be presented with the range of responses to the consultation questions and the responses given by the open consultation responders  

These interviews will take place during October and November 2020. Once completed a full analysis across the first and second wave of responses will take place and a discussion document, highlighting specific technical questions, will be produced. The discussion document is expected to include recommendations for improvement and additions to the technical proposal put in the pathway towards an IMF. 

Appendix 

Questions from the open consultation 

  1. It has been proposed that the Information Management Framework (IMF) should essentially consist of a Foundation Data Model (FDM), a Reference Data Library (RDL) and an Integration Architecture (IA). Do you agree with this overall framework? In your view, are there any key elements missing from this framework? 
  2. In your view, is the proposed approach to the IMF consistent with the Gemini Principles? Are there any inconsistencies that should be addressed? 
  3. Section 3.4 lists the models and protocols that would form part of the IMF. Is there anything that you would like to suggest to improve this list? 
  4. Section 3.5 describes key concepts of a Foundation Data Model. Is there anything that you would like to suggest to improve this description? 
  5. Section 3.6 describes key concepts of the Reference Data Library. Is there anything that you would like to suggest to improve this description? 
  6. Section 3.7 describes key concepts of an Integration Architecture. Is there anything that you would like to suggest to improve this description? 
  7. Section 4 proposes a pathway for developing the IMF. Do you agree with the proposed overall approach? In your view, are there any key tasks missing from this pathway? Would you suggest any improvements to the order in which the tasks are undertaken to develop the IMF? 
  8. What do you see as the barriers to connecting digital twins within organisations and between different organisations/sectors? How can these barriers be overcome? 
  9. In your experience what are the reasons why organisations invest in the creation of digital twins? Why would they invest in connecting digital twins? 
  10. Do you have any other comments on the proposed approach to developing the information management framework? 
  11. What opportunities do you see arising in your business from being able to connect Digital Twins and share and integrate data across them? 

Acknowledgements 

The open consultation and summary report were led and written by Miranda Sharp and Rachel Judson.