Analysis and Commentary

Property rights in a manufacturing digital world – by Michael Haines

Analysis and Commentary

Earlier this month Michael Haines looked at Cyber Security and Digital Twins. Today he turns to a governance framework for the 3D digital world, including dynamical models of manufactured goods and manufacturing facilities.

In the real world, most manufactured and constructed objects are subject to specific property rights, and even public assets have restricted access, including by time of day.

In modern societies, only the people with the right to do so can legally make changes to the real world. Property rights also protect privacy, with security maintained by physical boundaries such as fences and walls, with entry controlled via gates, doors and locks.

As the main reason for creating a 3D digital world is to make decisions that impact the real world, it makes no sense for people to have different rights in the official 3D digital odel of any object, than they have in the real object that it represents.

Any differences will only lead to breaks in privacy and security, and result in costly disputes about who had what authority to make any changes to the real world vs the model.

Of course, those with the real-world rights should be free to delegate them as they see fit – both in the real world and in the model.

But, if conflict and confusion is to be avoided, any delegation should reflect the parties’ real-world arrangements.

One solution is to establish a formal governance framework that allows each property owner to designate the official model of their asset where the rights, responsibilities and restrictions applying to the model mirror those that apply in the real world.

Each individual model can then be linked into a federated model of the entire natural and built environment.

The simplest way to give effect to this framework, is for all legal boundaries including cadastral, administrative, lease and contractual boundaries to be embedded in the models themselves in such a way that the models can be walled off from unauthorized access.

So, for example, if in the real world you can only see the outside of a building and cannot get past the front door, you cannot access the inside of its official model.

Or say, there is a piece of leased equipment on a site, the rules of access use and trade in the model of the equipment would be the same as those applying to the equipment itself.

Keeping in mind that, in future, every piece of equipment will be sold by the manufacturer with a fully functioning 3D model that can be put into any site or building model to simulate its operation.

Both the site boundaries and any lease agreement, along with an individual’s authority, would be the determining factors of who could access and use the model.

Potentially, the operation of the model could guide the operation of the real equipment.

Having such a capability reinforces the need to ensure only those with the requisite authority – and training – get access to the model.

Another major benefit in having a formal governance framework for the Official 3D Digital World is that it can assist in establishing the model as a typ of legal document governing the rights, responsibilities and restrictions of all parties involved in the manufacture, delivery, construction and operation of the real asset that it models.

Currently, 2D PDF’s and textual documents remain the legal deliverable in most cases, which often leave room for dispute, as no drawing or document is ever fully explicit.

Michael Haines has had 40+ years in management and consulting roles including at CEO and board level across government, telecommunications, brewing, construction, consumer goods, car manufacturing, and transport and logistics. He was a Board Member of Australian Logistics Council and in 2011 established VANZI, a ‘not-for-profit’ Initiative to broker development of the Digital Built Environment.

Picture: Circuitwise Electronics Manufacturing

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