Forefront of technology: How we built a digital twin of the Technology Laboratory, our research facility for three-dimensional spatial information, and manage related data


What is the Technology Laboratory, our research facility for three-dimensional spatial information?

The Technology Laboratory works closely with our various labs around the world to aggregate a wide range of information on advanced technologies, and has accumulated a wealth of insights into various industries and businesses, including manufacturing, telecommunications, infrastructure, and healthcare. Combining these insights with future casting and agenda setting, we provide comprehensive support for the business transformation of companies, the technological innovation of universities and research institutes, and the industrial policy of governments.

This support starts with presentations that make full use of various technologies, such as the latest 3D visual equipment, directional speakers, large LED displays and projection. By using various actuators, such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and robotic arms to drive communication that directly leads to the implementation of technology via our Social Implementation Sprint Service. The Social Implementation Sprint Service consists of the following steps:

  1. Create business ideas that contribute to solving social Issues
  2. Develop minimum viable products (MVPs)
  3. Conduct proofs of concept (PoC) using MVPs
  4. Formulate business plans

Furthermore, we are exploring the potential of the Technology Laboratory as a hub for driving new innovations through face-to-face meetings with clients, interactions through avatars, and transmission over the internet, through communication across real and virtual boundaries. Therefore, it was necessary to build a digital twin of our research facility in which we could easily update 3D data.

In this article, we provide a step-by-step comparison of the different types of 3D scanners and their respective measurement accuracy, describe the 3D data of the research facility we created, and how we manage 3D spatial information.

What is Spatial ID that uniquely manages 3D spatial information?

Finally, we would like to introduce the concept of a spatial ID, which is essential for managing multiple different 3D spatial information such as the interior of this facility, sensors, and 3D avatars. A spatial ID is a unique identity used to manage 3D spatial information. Many types of sensors are installed in this research facility, robotics and entrance passes, and in order to carry out various PoC, 3D spatial information such as location, temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels is managed by using a common spatial ID. The orange voxel*2 in the above animated GIF represents a specific spatial ID range of approximately two metres square, the white fog represents gaseous information whose location is static, and the 3D avatar represents human position information whose location is dynamic Only 3D data belonging to the target spatial ID was retrieved and visualised on the game engine. However, moving objects around in a complex indoor environment requires even more precise location management.

The current spatial IDs can be managed in the following two ways:

  1. Increasing the zoom level value of the spatial ID to manage 3D spatial information by using voxels in units of tens of centimetres (left)
  2. Managing 3D spatial information by using voxels in units of several metres and coordinates in them according to a predetermined shape or format (right)

Basically, 1 facilitates the sharing of 3D spatial information with other platforms, while 2 can be adopted when high accuracy and update frequency of sharing position, orientation, and size are required.

We will continue to work with overseas members of our global network to unify the management method of 3D spatial information using the latest equipment and technology at our research facility. Please contact us if you are interested.

*1: works to reduce drawing calculations by writing light and shadow information into textures in advance.

*2 : A coined word from volume and pixel, and the smallest unit of the small cubes used in the 3D representation. The voxels used for spatial IDs can be rectangles of different heights.


S. Yanagisawa
Manager, PwC Consulting LLC
Fields and industries of focus:
AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), XR (extended reality), 3D spatial information, metaverse

After working as an augmented reality (AR) app developer for a specialised AR and artificial intelligence (AI) solution development company and as an extended reality (XR) research engineer for a mega-venture company, Satoshi Yanagisawa joined PwC Consulting LLC. He is also a special lecturer at a fashion school. He has strengths in the field of XR, especially in AR, planning, research, PoC, and service development utilising smart glasses and VR devices and has most recently been involved in R&D related to 3D spatial information and the metaverse.

T. Sasaki
Director, PwC Consulting LLC
Fields and industries of focus:
3D spatial information, drone, mobility, metaverse, digital technology business strategy and concept development

Tomohiro Sasaki worked for a major general trading company-affiliated IT solution service provider, a foreign consulting firm and a major accounting audit firm before assuming his current position. He provided growth strategy planning and execution support and IT strategy planning and execution support to major companies in a variety of industries, including information and telecommunications, high-tech, and media and entertainment. Since joining PwC, he has provided planning and consulting services for analytics-related services. His areas of focus include 3D spatial information, drones, flying cars, metaverse, and other digital technology utilisation strategies, smart cities, OMO (online meets offline), transformation of work styles in the digital age, RPA planning and implementation promotion, etc. He is also a speaker at digital-related seminars, including external seminars. 

T. Nagashima
Director, PwC Consulting LLC
Fields and industries of focus:
Emerging technology

After working for a major system integration company, Takayuki Nagashima joined PwC Consulting in 2012.Engaged in consulting work in the IT/digital domain for more than a decade, including IT/digital strategy development, data strategy development, governance development, roadmap development, system development, PgMO/PMO in large-scale system construction, PMI, BCP and business reform. He has a wide range of expertise.In recent years, he has mainly provided consulting services for the planning and full-scale development of new businesses utilising advanced technologies such as Metaverse, XR, IoT/digital twin and blockchain.