Las Vegas Nevada
By creating a massive digital version of city, Las Vegas hopes to make urban improvements beyond decarbonisation

Why Las Vegas wants digital twins to drive urban transformation

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Karl Tomusk

Las Vegas plans to make major improvements and reach zero carbon emissions by creating a giant digital version of itself.

Teaming up with digital twin developer Cityzenith, the city is taking a 7 sq km site around McCarran International Airport, equipping it with IoT and digital twin tech in an effort to “vastly improve” mobility, air quality, noise pollution, water management and building emissions.

The partnership is part of Cityzenith’s Clean Cities – Clean Future initiative, which implements the company’s SmartWorldOS digital twin platform in major world cities to make them more efficient.

Las Vegas is the second city, after New York, to sign up to a partnership with Cityzenith. Phoenix and several other major cities are expected to follow “soon”, the company said.

Why digital twins?

An EY report earlier this year concluded that digital twins – combined with IoT connectivity, machine learning and enhanced building management systems – are becoming “the market differentiator” that will lead to greater efficiencies and decarbonisation.

Digital twins can cut real estate operating costs by up to 35%, the report said, because the technology can take control of a building’s operations. Those digital copies can monitor a space and optimise how and when parts of the building, such as the HVAC system, are used.

One example the report gave was Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, which used a digital twin to cut its energy, water, carbon and waste across 200 buildings.

The data it gathered from those buildings allowed the university to pinpoint hidden energy and cost savings, thereby cutting its energy consumption by 21% in the first five years. That rose to 31% over 10 years in later phases.

Digital twins ‘vital’ to cities

Las Vegas chief innovation officer Michael Sherwood said: “Digital twins are rapidly becoming vital to how cities are run. Now in Las Vegas we will have a city-scale digital twin that is driven by the physical environment, and ultimately letting us control key systems through it.

“This will give us new levels of insights and control to benefit city planners, residents, and businesses. We’re setting the benchmark for cities around the world to become smarter, efficient, safer and more sustainable.”

The city and Cityzenith are working with a company called Terbine to bring together and contextualise IoT data from local government agencies, building operators, transportation systems, vehicle manufacturers and more for the digital twin.

Michael Jansen, CEO of Cityzenith, said: “We are excited to partner with the forward-leaning city of Las Vegas in this ground-breaking partnership. We are confident that this seminal project will demonstrate the combined power of digital twin and IoT technology working together to transform mobility, walkability, and emissions/air pollution.

“Among our many goals, we are keen to demonstrate how the Las Vegas digital twin project will help local building owners of any scale dramatically reduce operating costs and emissions for little to no investment.”

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