Although the concept of “digital twin” dates from 2012, and was coined by NASA, until the last few months, with the momentum of the internet of things, it has become one of the most named and used in the industry. It is even so imperative to be used today, that Gartner named it one of the top trending technology trends in 2019.
- A digital twin is a virtual model of a process, product or service.
- Digital twins are becoming a business imperative
- They allow learning in a virtual environment and transfer learning to the physical.
To understand more what it is, a digital twin is a virtual model of a process, product or service. This pairing of the virtual and physical worlds allows data analysis and system monitoring to avoid problems before they occur, prevent downtime, develop new opportunities and even plan for the future through simulations.
As mentioned earlier, digital twins are becoming a business imperative, covering the entire life cycle of an asset or process and forming the basis for connected products and services. Companies that do not respond will be left behind.
Surely in this part you will be wondering how they work. Think of it as a bridge between the physical and the digital world. For example, intelligent components that use sensors to collect data on real-time status, working condition or position are integrated with a physical element. These are connected to a cloud-based system that receives and processes all the data that the sensors monitor. This entry is analyzed in comparison to business data and other contextual data.
Lessons are learned and opportunities are discovered in the virtual environment that can be applied to the physical world, and, ultimately, help transform the operation of your business.
As mentioned above, pairing technology is a pioneer in the aerospace sector. NASA was the first to work with mating technology in the early days of space exploration. How do you operate, maintain or repair the systems when you are not close to them? That was the challenge that the research department of the US space agency had to face when it developed systems that traveled beyond the ability to physically see or monitor.
When the disaster struck Apollo 13, it was the innovation of the pairing systems that allowed engineers and astronauts to determine how they could rescue the mission from Earth. Today, NASA uses digital twins to develop new recommendations, roadmaps and next-generation vehicles.
Today, digital twins are used to create, test and build equipment in a virtual environment. Only when it is virtually possible to meet the requirements of a project, is it physically manufactured.
Digital twins are “powerful intellectuals” to drive innovation and performance. Imagine your product technicians with the most advanced monitoring, analysis and prediction capabilities at your fingertips. According to IDC, by 2019 companies that invest in digital twin technology will see a 30 percent improvement in the critical process cycle times.
Finally, it should be noted that there will be billions of things represented by digital twins within the next five years. These proxies of the physical world will lead to new opportunities for collaboration between product experts and data scientists, whose work is important to understand what this information tells us about day-to-day operations. Are you ready to join this trend?
ADVANTAGES OF DIGITAL TWINS
Digital twins will transform numerous processes. Something that consultants like Deloitte or KPMG in 2017 already reported in their Industry 4.0 and the digital twin and Beyond the hype reports , respectively. One of the main advantages is that they will allow companies to detect problems in advance and solve them more quickly. They can warn of any future breakdown, incident or anomaly in their operation by interacting, as HAL 9000 did, directly with humans. They can even work autonomously by being able to analyze a situation, propose optimized solutions and implement them.
When a company builds a digital replica of its products, the environments in which it operates and the systems that produce them, it can predict virtually everything that will happen in the physical world. For engineers, digital twins are very useful because, having a detailed history of the previous model, they can correct the errors and create new, more reliable versions. And the data prove him right. In 2018, IDC consultant detected 30% improvements in the critical processes of those companies that invested in this technology.
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