Digital Twin IoT

Heijmans: Digital Twins and the Future of Industry 4.0

“This solution has a great benefit for society: not only is there less air pollution, but there is also less stress from traffic jams, so there are happier people in the city.” – Harry van Zon, Program Manager Systems & Energy at Heijmans

Founded in 1923, Heijmans is one of Europe’s most important construction companies, whose operations are divided into infrastructure, residential construction, real estate development, and infrastructure. They have more than 4,500 employees, and their objective is to build the spaces of the future through a continuous improvement of quality, innovation, and the integration of solutions that give added value to customers.

In addition, one of their primary concerns is sustainability and the use of technology to achieve a more sustainable and healthy environment. So they unite both to heat houses with acoustic barriers, sensors in offices to illuminate, heating and keeping rooms clean according to use and need, elegant buildings where the end-user participates in the energy transition…

Digital Twins, IoT
Azure Digital Twins, Azure IoT, Azure Stream Analytics
In this effort to take care of the environment through an intelligent living environment, Heijmans turns its projects into a digital twin, equipping them with sensors and using the information obtained to improve the customer experience in terms of comfort, convenience, safety, and efficiency. To handle all the data from these digital twins, Heijmans has relied on Plain Concepts to build a robust and secure cloud architecture to process data from IVRIs and other devices by using different processing branches.

The Challenge

Infrastructure should be secured and a virtual representation of construction projects, such as buildings, bridges, or public spaces, in Digital Twin. This virtual representation of the infrastructures had to be connected to the original one through sensors that allow a real-time representation of the changes, problems, and possible improvements.

All this information should be collected in real-time and made available in the cloud, where all changes would be instantly updated, and data could be viewed realistically. This had to allow detecting and diagnosing problems between applications, supporting scale operations, deepening monitoring data, and creating visualizations with dashboards and Azure workbooks.



To have a virtual representation or an IoT ecosystem, we have used the services of Azure Digital Twins. This service has allowed us to model locations, devices, and relationships to build spatial graphs. In addition, we have opted for the integration of Azure Event Grid to react to the telemetry received from IoT Hub. From there, we can update the device on the Digital Twin, in addition to integrating a dual-path digital subscription so that these updates of the 'parent' object based on 'children' changes.

All the information collected can be viewed on a website that will display a map showing the specified street and the different iVRIs in their locations with associated information (errors, incidents, metadata...). In addition, it also has other options such as Power BI graphics and stored information. Email notifications are made through Azure SendGrid and are released when certain events occur, such as signal errors on devices.

We have emphasized security, implementing software that automatically tests errors, vulnerabilities, and other potential problems that pose a threat to the project. From database encryption, the definition of authentication streams, security certificates, etc.



We are at a time when many industries see how stepping up to digitalization brings them numerous competitive advantages and saves time, costs and improves safety. Adapting to the digital age is gradually developing as the transformation in some sectors more rooted in traditional processes is more complicated, but the future is getting closer.

The benefits of using Digital Twin are so numerous that they will revolutionize the industrial sector. We can have a model faithful to reality on which to carry out tests without putting at risk the system of the replicated infrastructure. We can design new scenarios and observe their behavior before the variants that we introduce, improve productivity in a more agile way, predict possible changes, and anticipate failures or problems…

Thanks to this intelligent digital monitoring system, we can measure the load and the real-time performance of the building/public space/bridge to study and analyze its specific situation. We can now ensure that the facility is safe and will function perfectly and predict what your life is going to be realistic. Now we can know at all times what the state of our construction is thanks to the large amount of data we receive through the installed sensors, which allows us to make decisions and plan maintenance and programming the appropriate investments based on concrete facts.