NavVis Investment Round Could Transform the Digital Twin
Emily Pollock posted on December 17, 2018 |
NavVis is planning to use a recent round of funding to make their IndoorWorks the interface of a new digital twin ecosystem. (Image courtesy of NavVis)
NavVis is planning to use a recent round of funding to make their IndoorWorks the interface of a new digital twin ecosystem. (Image courtesy of NavVis)

Indoor spatial intelligence company NavVis recently closed an investment round of $35.5 million. One of their goals with that money is to make further inroads into the digital twin industry, developing an ecosystem to connect sensor data with 3D models and point clouds.

Digital twins are digital versions of physical assets or processes that are informed by real-time data from the physical "twin." As the cost of IoT-connected sensors has dropped over the last few years, the old idea of the digital twin has become more feasible and more popular. Now, NavVis is looking to capitalize on that market boom.

"As digital twin technology has become more widespread, the demand to customize and build on top of the NavVis platform has also grown," says Felix Reinshagen, NavVis co-founder and CEO. "To further open the NavVis platform for digital twin technology, we therefore plan to grow the ecosystem of third-party developers."

The company plans to develop a more inclusive ecosystem that works with third-party applications like IoT and AR/VR. The new ecosystem will build off NavVis Indoorviewer, the company’s web-based platform to display point clouds, 360° immersive imagery, and site maps of interiors to all stakeholders. In this ecosystem, IndoorViewer will become the visual interface for understanding sensor data and localizing it on a floorplan, giving users helpful context for the numbers they're seeing on the screen. 

"IoT data is usually visualized in spread-sheet like dashboards," Reinshagen says. "NavVis IndoorViewer connects these dashboards and data sources with a detailed and realistic spatial context. This provides important contextual information that allows users to evaluate situations holistically and accelerates decisions."

When it comes to AR/VR data, IndoorViewer will act as a hub of reality capture data which can then be used in AR/VR applications, and also provide a content management system for AR applications.

NavVis is well-poised to enter the world of digital twins. The former startup has been in business since 2003, and their most recent round of funding was a Series C round—when an already-successful company looks for funding to help them offer new products or expand into new markets. When it comes to interfacing with other applications, they already have a robust open API and SDK system that allows partners like SAP and Autodesk to build applications on their interior data. Finally, the company has a unique LiDAR solution perfect for scanning large indoor areas quickly: the NavVis M6 3D, released this May, is a mobile LiDAR scanner that resembles a three-wheeled Segway and lets users capture 360° immersive imagery and point clouds.

Reinshagen calls the move "a clear signal” that digital twins are getting more ambitious—and more useful. "Until now, Digital Twins have been primarily modeled (as planned) entities. In the future, creating and updating digital twins will move in the direction of automation,” he says. “Finally, Digital Twins will become much easier to use and accessible to the whole workforce, along with external partners and suppliers, moving away from expert desktop systems and towards more user-friendly software.”

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