Workshop explores resilience model’s expanding scope

Potential expansions to the CReDo model (the Climate Resilience Demonstrator) including further geographical, use case and climate scenarios were unveiled at The Future of CReDo event at Connected Places Catapult. Participants also mapped out commercial options for how the model could be owned and operated going forwards.

Helping infrastructure owners to better understand the threats to their assets posed by extreme weather – and take appropriate action – are broad aims of new reports published by Connected Places Catapult on behalf of CReDo: the Climate Resilience Demonstrator, and discussed at a workshop held in London on 29 September.

CReDo is a project that shows how connected digital twins can be key tools in helping to protect infrastructure assets from threats posed by climate change. It seeks to understand the ways in which different pieces of public infrastructure closely depend on one another; pointing out that if one asset fails it can have a dramatic impact on several others.

Advocates of the project make the case that overall infrastructure resilience in the face of challenging climate events can be improved if a greater focus is placed on making investments in the most appropriate manner and adopting new technologies.

Until now, the focus of CReDo has centred around flooding and how using a digital twin and sharing data among infrastructure owners can help to predict how a major flood event could have an impact on the supply of power, communications and water.

Great progress has been made so far by Connected Places Catapult alongside project partners BT, Anglian Water and UK Power Networks to demonstrate the impact a connected digital twin could have on improving infrastructure resilience in a market town in Norfolk.

But the demonstrator is entering a new phase and beginning to expand in scope. Over the next year, the CReDo project will continue its expansion geographically as well as into new climate scenarios, namely extreme heat.

Delegates welcomed to the workshop

At the workshop in London, hosted by Connected Places Catapult’s Dr Chris Jones, stakeholders representing owners of several infrastructure asset types including water, telecoms, energy and transport – as well as government, regulators and academics – came together to be introduced to CReDo and the next steps for the project.

Participants were then presented with several possible ownership models for CReDo, options for commercialising digital twins, and the likely barriers to overcome in order to create an economically sustainable future for the development and use of such platforms. In an interactive part of the session, they evaluated the options, workshopped the barriers and discussed ways to overcome those barriers.

CReDo Engagement Lead, Sarah Hayes said the digital twin will help to create so called ‘failure models’ to help improve the understanding of how assets may behave in difficult weather conditions.

“We hope to realise the value from sharing data. CReDo promises to increase resilience, provide better and improved decision making and reduce the cost of repairs when responding to extreme weather events in future.”
CReDo Engagement Lead, Sarah Hayes

Sarah added that better understanding of how different infrastructure assets depend on one another should mean that network resilience is managed in a more co-ordinated way; building trust among stakeholders and creating more of a “willingness to share data across organisations”.

Delegates were told that sharing data and improving resilience through simply expanding CReDo nationally could provide an economic benefit to the country of as much as £432 million – 55 times the cost of implementation – although estimates of benefit vary depending on how much data is captured. The economic benefits from further expansions into different climate scenarios and to different asset sectors could greatly increase this number. The next step for the demonstrator is to make it ready for market.

Understanding infrastructure interdependencies

Connected Places Catapult’s Senior Product Manager, Holly Hensler told the event that CReDo will map infrastructure interdependencies in a manner that was not previously possible, to see when and how likely it is that assets will fail; allowing owners to know where to increase resilience and investment. “As climate change continues, a platform like CReDo will become even more important,” she said.

Connected Places Catapult’s Senior Product Manager, Holly Hensler

“If a flood knocks out two power assets, it could also cause failure with interconnected assets creating a ‘cascade fail’. It is important to understand these interdependencies, which is where CReDo can help.”

The platform also promises to demonstrate the power of different asset stakeholders working together; bringing previously siloed data to the table to improve strategic resilience planning. Such an effort could also benefit society by ensuring that the public has continued access to clean drinking water, heating during extreme weather events and can use the telephone to reach the emergency services.

Holly added that the demonstrator will now look to expand its geographic coverage from its focus on a market town in Norfolk, look at more infrastructure sectors and asset types, and consider a wider range of climate events such as extreme heat, wind, cold, drought and snow.

Anglian Water’s asset performance specialist Tom Burgoyne said of CReDo: “We welcome the focus on exploring how we encourage cross sector investment in the platform, increase the level of data sharing and pass useful information back to asset owners.

“CReDo promises to help us to explore the challenges of increasing resilience, and make sure our investments are directed to the right places.”

BT Group’s service specialist Justine Webster added: “We expect CReDo will help to improve understanding of how multiple asset owners must work together to focus on resilience and reduce knock on effects for other sectors. It also promises to provide better real-time data about weather conditions to help improve decision making.”

Operating models considered

Connected Places Catapult’s Senior Business Analyst, Friso Buker presented the ‘Strategic Business Case’ report that explores five different operating models and structures for CReDo – where the platform is managed by either government, SMEs, the private sector, a public-private partnership or an ‘open source’ model.

Important points to consider, he explained, include whether the model can hold onto the ethos of the public good, how it will manage industry rivalries and who gets to make decisions. In a show of hands, participants at the event appeared to favour a public-private model, allowing both market understanding, and government control. But Friso asked: “Will the private sector want to get involved if there is little indication if CReDo will become a successful service?”

He also outlined several revenue models being considered for the platform: a ‘freemium’ service where users pay a flat fee for access for a set period of time; a pay-as-you-go model; and arrangements set around licensed or ‘value based’ models similar to an insurance arrangement. “But how we negotiate that, and agree on the value of the service, represent an extremely difficult proposition,” he remarked.

Data Strategist Cara Navarro spoke of the methodology behind how CReDo can expand into different use cases, taking the transport sector as a case study example. She explained that professionals responsible for protecting road and rail assets will need to better understand how their assets including drainage, structures and telecoms equipment rely on – and are vulnerable to – other networks.

Cara showed a ‘knowledge graph’ of the connections of different technologies within the road and rail sectors, showcasing the interconnectivity and potential disruption brought on by cascading failures in those sectors. Detail of the knowledge graph can be seen this infographic: ‘CReDo Transport Use Case Dependencies’ published on the DT Hub.

Roadmap unveiled

An interactive section at the event was opened by Systems Engineer Tom Marsh who unveiled a roadmap for how CReDo could be brought to market, and considered some of the gaps in understanding and activities that need to fill those gaps.

He went on to showcase three different cross-sector funding models. More detail can be found in the ‘Developing CReDo from a Demonstrator to a Market-Ready tool’ report found on the DT Hub.

Participants addressed barriers to the different ownership roadmap models: stipulating barriers that could and could not be overcome across each model. They then focused on the roadmap of their choice in focus groups, discussing actions needed.

Chairing the session, Holly Hensler said the most unexpected outcome was that even though the groups were focused on different roadmaps, they converged into a similar roadmap model – namely one where government is the main sponsor and owner of CReDo, but making use of the agility and speed of SMEs to deliver parts of the work.

Infrastructure asset owners, regulators and government bodies are encouraged to sign up to the DT Hub and CReDo networks to read the reports and take part in discussions through the forums with the rest of the CReDo network.

For further details, or to get involved, contact