Digital Twins: What, Why, How?

Session synopsis

One of the digital buzzwords of the last three years is the “Digital Twin” – a mythical, virtual replica of, well you name it, that is intelligent, looks amazing, and will transform the world forever! Ja, we’ve all hear that fairy tale before. We don’t believe in cinderella or her pumpkin-carriage! But maybe there is some truth to the rumours. Maybe it is possible, and maybe this is the next step for BIM? This session will take a high-level look at what a Digital Twin is, what it consists of and how it might work. We will start with its origins, applications and development in the BIM and Product Lifecycle Management spaces. We will consider what impact the Digital Twin might have on the built environment and how it could bridge the BIM timeline beyond construction.

Why should people attend?

If you are interested in Digital Twins but don’t really know what they are, or how they work – this is the session for you.




  • Richard Matchett
    Richard Matchett
    Digital Practice Lead - Zutari

    I am a professional engineer with over 20 years’ experience in the built environment in South Africa, Greater Africa and the Middle East.

    I am the digital lead at Aurecon South Africa, responsible for our digital strategy and transformation to adapt our engineering practise during the ever-changing times we live in. I am passionate about working smart, being paper-less and raising the bar for the way our industry delivers solutions.

    I am pursuing a PhD in Engineering part-time through Stellenbosch University. I am interested in how Digital Twins could change our approach to design, construction and operation of infrastructure in South Africa, in support of the 4IR strategy and the National Development Plan.

    I am a problem solver and sense maker. I delight in making the complex simple and I use this approach in my leadership of our digital strategy. I believe in using technology as a tool to enable human ingenuity. I am excited to see how our industry transforms to adopt modern approaches to work and project delivery.

    I am also a civil engineer. This core identity means that ground my digital ambitions in the laws of maths and science. As a profession, our use of technology must be focussed on augmenting the engineering principles we use to the built environment, and I am committed to using technology to
    serve society. I have implemented this approach throughout my career, spanning various civil engineering sectors. These include geometric and transportation, major project master planning, basic services, Reconstruction and Development Planning (RDP) projects, and telecommunications (civil infrastructure).

    My project experience covers projects in South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Swaziland, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo and Bahrain.


Oct 29 2020

Event types



  1. Digital Twins are fascinating. The untapped potential in the built environment for optimization, prediction and simply knowing… unlocked when we take our designs into the post construction lifecycle of assets.