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YVR launches ‘digital twin’ to simulate real-time airport experience

YVR has a twin! One of the busiest airports in North America launched a virtual real-time interactive digital twin.

Navigating even the most well-designed airport can be stressful, which is why YVR is hoping that a real-time, virtual “twin” of its facility can lessen the strain.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) recently launched its “digital twin” – an interactive representation of YVR's facilities that presents key information through 2D or 3D visualization. 

In other words, people can visualize everything taking place at YVR as it’s happening by navigating the digital twin platform. 

"For example, if there's congestion at any check-in point, an alert is generated which we can click into to see live information about what is going on," said Lynette DuJohn, Vice President of Innovation and Chief Information Officer at YVR.

"This allows our operations and security team to address potential issues with corrective action, allowing our employees to find efficiencies through technology, creating a better experience for travellers." 

People who are unfamiliar with the airport or have accessibility challenges will be able to do a run-through of the airport before physically experiencing it. Travellers can also see an estimated passenger count for the day on an hour-by-hour basis to get an idea of where the busiest place will be at the airport, DuJohn explained. 

Beyond creating a smoother travel experience, the technology allows people to tap in and view some of YVR’s award-winning artwork, including "Female and Male Welcome Figures" designed by Coast Salish artist Susan A. Point in the airport's Customs Hall, she added.

The digital twin was created in part with video game engine Unity, Vancouver-based 3D modelling firm GeoSim Cities, and Vancouver-based digital business transformation company Thynkli.