Home Definition Exploring What is Digital Twin Technology

Exploring What is Digital Twin Technology

by Marcin Wieclaw
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what is digital twin

A digital twin is a virtual replica of a physical object, person, or process that can be used to simulate its behaviour to better understand how it works in real life. Digital twins are linked to real data sources from the environment, which means that the twin updates in real time to reflect the original version.

Digital twins also comprise a layer of behavioural insights and visualisations derived from data. When interconnected within one system, digital twins can form what’s known as an enterprise metaverse: a digital and often immersive environment that replicates and connects every aspect of an organisation to optimise simulations, scenario planning, and decision making.

Digital twins have the potential to deliver more agile and resilient operations. According to McKinsey research, 70 percent of C-suite technology executives are already exploring and investing in digital twins.

Digital twin technology enables the creation of a virtual replica that accurately simulates the behaviour of a physical object, person, or process. By being linked to real data and forming an enterprise metaverse, digital twins offer immense value to organizations by providing insights, optimizing operations, and facilitating informed decision making.

Types of Digital Twins and Their Applications

There are different types of digital twins based on their application. A product twin represents a product and can provide real-time data on a product throughout its life cycle. This type of digital twin can improve the reduction in time to market and bring about improvements in product quality. For example, Google Maps can be considered a product twin as it provides real-time data on traffic, helping users navigate efficiently.

Another type of digital twin is the production plant twin, which represents entire manufacturing facilities. By simulating the behavior of the plant, organizations can identify bottlenecks, optimize processes, and achieve rapid iterations in production. This results in increased revenue and enhanced product quality.

Procurement and supply chain twins are another valuable application of digital twins. They optimize supply chain operations, streamlining processes and reducing delays. With real-time insights into the supply chain, organizations can make data-driven decisions, further reducing the time to market and ensuring efficient delivery of products.

Infrastructure twins represent physical structures such as buildings or highways. These digital twins enable organizations to monitor and manage infrastructure remotely, leading to more effective maintenance, improved safety, and increased environmental sustainability.

Value of Digital Twins

“Digital twins can bring immense value to organizations, driving efficiency and optimization across various industries.”

Digital twins bring significant value to organizations by reducing the time to market, improving product quality, and increasing revenue. By leveraging real-time data and simulations, organizations can identify and rectify issues during the design and development stages, resulting in faster production cycles and enhanced product quality.

Furthermore, digital twins enable organizations to achieve environmental sustainability by reducing material usage and improving traceability. With better insights into the product life cycle, organizations can make informed decisions to minimize waste and maximize resource efficiency.

Rapid iterations in the digital twin environment allow organizations to iterate and test new ideas more quickly, leading to innovation and revenue growth. By simulating scenarios and making data-driven decisions, organizations can optimize processes, reduce costs, and seize new opportunities.

Therefore, the value of digital twins extends beyond individual applications. It empowers organizations to transform their operations, make informed decisions, and drive success in today’s dynamic business landscape.

Building and Implementing Digital Twins

To successfully build and implement digital twins, organizations must first achieve digital maturity. This involves establishing a high-quality data infrastructure that ensures the delivery of reliable data from both testing and live environments. Digital maturity is crucial in providing a solid foundation for the development and operation of digital twins.

The process of building a digital twin follows a three-step approach:

  1. Create a blueprint: Organizations need to develop a blueprint that outlines the types of twins to be built, the order of their implementation, as well as their capabilities, ownership, and governance structures. This blueprint acts as a roadmap, guiding the organization throughout the digital twin implementation process.
  2. Build the base digital twin: Once the blueprint is in place, a project team can start building the base digital twin. This involves gathering and assembling the core data, developing visualizations, and identifying initial use cases. The base digital twin serves as the foundation upon which further capabilities can be added.
  3. Boost capabilities: As the organization progresses in its digital twin journey, it can enhance the capabilities of the digital twin by incorporating additional data layers, analytics, and artificial intelligence. This expansion allows for the support of new and more sophisticated use cases, further leveraging the potential of the digital twin.

By connecting multiple digital twins, organizations can embark on a journey to the enterprise metaverse. This interconnected network of digital twins simulates complex relationships and enables organizations to achieve advanced use cases and optimize decision-making processes.

Benefits of Building Digital Twins

“Digital twins provide organizations with a powerful tool to gain insights into their operations, identify opportunities for improvement, and make data-driven decisions.”

The implementation of digital twins offers several benefits to organizations:

  • Improved decision-making: Digital twins provide real-time data and insights, enabling organizations to make well-informed decisions based on accurate information.
  • Enhanced operational efficiency: By leveraging digital twins, organizations can optimize processes, identify bottlenecks, and streamline operations to achieve greater efficiency.
  • Increased innovation: Digital twins unlock opportunities for innovation by providing a platform for experimentation, rapid iterations, and the development of new products and services.
  • Effective risk management: With digital twins, organizations can simulate and evaluate potential scenarios, allowing for proactive risk management and mitigation.

The journey to the enterprise metaverse is an ongoing process that requires continuous improvement and exploration of the potential of digital twins. As organizations advance in their digital maturity, they expand their capabilities and boost their performance, ultimately transforming their operations and achieving a higher level of digital transformation.

Examples and Future of Digital Twins

Digital twins are already revolutionizing various industries, offering innovative solutions and paving the way for the future. Let’s explore some real-world examples and delve into the exciting possibilities that lie ahead.

In the sailing world, Emirates Team New Zealand leverages a digital twin to streamline boat design and testing processes. This virtual replica allows them to simulate and optimize boat performance without the need for physical prototyping, resulting in faster development cycles and significant cost savings.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, on the other hand, utilizes a brewing and supply chain digital twin. This cutting-edge technology optimizes production operations, improves efficiency, and automatically addresses bottlenecks. By closely monitoring and analyzing data in real-time, they can make data-driven decisions and achieve greater productivity in the brewing industry.

Beyond sports and beverages, digital twins are also transforming the stadium management and space exploration sectors. SoFi Stadium, one of the most technologically advanced stadiums globally, employs a digital twin to optimize various aspects of stadium operations, including visitor experience, security, and energy management. Meanwhile, the US Space Force leverages digital twins to simulate space environments, allowing them to test and refine strategies, improve mission success rates, and enhance astronaut safety.

One prominent example of digital twins in the aerospace industry is SpaceX. Using a digital twin of its Dragon capsule spacecraft, SpaceX continuously monitors and adjusts trajectories, ensuring precise navigation and maximizing mission safety. The digital twin serves as an invaluable tool for complex simulations, facilitating rapid iterations and enhancing overall mission capabilities.

The market for digital twins is projected to reach a staggering $73 billion by 2027, indicating remarkable growth opportunities. Advantages of digital twins include improved research and development processes, enhanced efficiency and cost savings, and long-term product sustainability. As we look to the future, digital twins hold immense potential, enabling cognitive power and continuous learning capabilities that can further revolutionize products, services, and processes in diverse industries.

FAQ

What is digital twin technology?

Digital twin technology is a virtual replica of a physical object, person, or process that can be used to simulate its behavior and better understand how it works in real life. It is linked to real data sources and updates in real time to reflect the original version.

What is an enterprise metaverse?

An enterprise metaverse is a digital environment that replicates and connects every aspect of an organization. It is formed by interconnecting digital twins within one system and is used to optimize simulations, scenario planning, and decision making.

What are the types of digital twins and their applications?

There are different types of digital twins based on their application. This includes product twins, production plant twins, procurement and supply chain twins, and infrastructure twins. Each type serves a specific purpose in optimizing various aspects of an organization’s operations.

How can digital twins bring value to organizations?

Digital twins can bring value to organizations by reducing time to market, improving product quality, increasing revenue, and enhancing environmental sustainability through reduced material usage and improved traceability.

How can organizations build and implement digital twins?

To build and implement digital twins, organizations need digital maturity, a high-quality data infrastructure. The process involves creating a blueprint, building the base digital twin, and then enhancing its capabilities over time by adding more data layers, analytics, and AI.

How are digital twins being used in various industries?

Digital twins are already being used in various industries. For example, Emirates Team New Zealand uses a digital twin to test boat designs, while Anheuser-Busch InBev uses a brewing and supply chain digital twin to optimize production. The possibilities for digital twins are limitless, with increasing cognitive power and continuous learning capabilities.

What are the advantages of digital twins?

Digital twins offer advantages such as better research and development, greater efficiency, and product end-of-life solutions. They enable rapid iterations and improvements in various aspects of an organization’s operations.

What is the future of digital twins?

The future of digital twins is bright, with increasing market growth and advancements in cognitive power and continuous learning capabilities. This technology has the potential to further improve products, processes, and operations.

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