Introduction to cyber-physical systems in the built environment

Pardis Pishdad-Bozorgi, Xinghua Gao, Dennis R. Shelden
Cyber-physical systems (CPS) imply interconnected physical and digital systems, in which the digital twin serves as a medium to visualize, simulate, manifest, observe, and control the physical built environment. The physical and digital twins of CPS are reciprocally connected and synchronized in real time through interconnected sensors and actuators. The key potential of CPS is the infinite horizon it opens for data analytics that can be performed on the digital twin’s sensory input. The data analytics enables measuring the physical twin’s performance against the design targets, which were initially simulated in the digital twin, and thus provides a closely coupled feedback loop for assessing the effectiveness of the design. In addition, machine learning tools can be utilized to make future predictions of the physical performance based on the historical data. Ultimately, through CPS, the digital twin could also perform autonomous control, interventions, and respond to the users’ needs. Smart buildings, cities, infrastructure, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices are all examples of how CPS can transform our built environment by making it increasingly intelligent, digitally connected, and efficiently performed. Buildings systems already incorporate proprietary networks of sophisticated sensors and devices in the form of energy systems, security systems, and emerging smart home devices, albeit with limited inter‐system connectivity or exposure to the larger networks of IoT devices.