Digital Twins

Digital Twins: Benefiting All Stakeholders in Virtual Environments

Digital Twins and Virtual Environments

Engineers utilize the concept of digital twins for centuries. You design an apparatus, then track its performance on paper, find points you can enhance, and then make the necessary tweaks to processes or components. Digitization and advancements in computer sciences now allow all these processes to be automated using sensors while algorithms generate insights. This is the core concept of digital twins. Leonardo would have built a copter if he had gained access to a working digital twin of his copter designs. Unfortunately, he lacked sensors to install in crucial joints and had no measuring devices to assess the performance of his mechanical parts.

IBM’s Chris O’Connor explains on their company blog: “Digital twin is a virtual/digital representation of a physical entity or system. It involves connected “things” generating real-time data. That data is analyzed in the cloud, and combined with other data related to the thing / context around it. It is then presented to people in a variety of roles, so they can remotely understand its status, its history, its needs, and interact with it to do their jobs.”

(Image Source: Deloitte University Press)

Digital Twins Replicate Complex Systems

Unlike command and control centers, the digital twin is just a virtual replica of a real machine or system. The core idea behind this is not to manage the system remotely, but to analyze its behavior, design strengths and weaknesses, and get insights on the enhancements you can introduce to the system.

A virtual twin may be applied literally to any system or machine. In reality, you need digital twins only when complex systems are concerned, not to analyze a simple lever system. The emerging Internet of Things networks are perfect examples of a system you can optimize using digital twins. Those are hundreds and millions of connected devices where you need all cross-connections assessed and overall network efficiency evaluated using sensors and input-output gauging devices. You need to measure bandwidths and evaluate the combined computing power of an IoT network to reap off the benefits.

Digital Twins Are Not Easy to Implement

The same applies to industrial systems where the potential application of the digital twins concept can result in savings worth billions of dollars due to improved manufacturing efficiency. Gartner experts put digital twins on their list of the top 10 technology trends for 2017, but this potential is only achievable in case future systems feature self-optimizing capabilities in a manufacturing ecosystem comprising a digital twin.

digital twin

This is quite a task even for large multinationals. You need to design and implement sophisticated systems where a complex physical machine and its digital replica are able to communicate crucial data at planning, production, and order processing level, as well as utilize the results at the lowest machine level.

In theory, you can have an identical manufacturing platform and its virtual twin from the very beginning, thus being able to alter and enhance the machine design before implementation in practice. Then you collect data from sensors and introduce further enhancements, resulting in an almost perfect production efficiency, minimum errors, and minimized rejects level. You can test any possible machine configuration on the digital version first, having the ability to select the optimum one.

The opportunities are endless provided that you have access to resourceful computer systems able to process a vast amount of data and store it for further use. You can perform these resource-consuming computing tasks in the cloud, yet you still need a powerful software platform to make the most out of a very complicated digital twin.

One of the most promising features of an advanced digital twin is it can use the very same data streams to serve the needs of different stakeholders – from design engineers to floor technicians to product designers and marketers. All within a single IoT platform that connects a reliable computer system to physical machinery and operations, paving the way for the next industrial revolution.

By Kiril V. Kirilov

Kiril Kirilov

Kiril V. Kirilov is covering IT and business and finance topics as a full-time journalist and freelance writer for over two decades. He also deals with all things content strategy and content marketing.

Kiril analyses all business and new technology trends across the tech industry. He is also founder of a content strategy service.

CONTRIBUTORS

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? Find Out

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? Find Out

ERP Deployment You know how ERP deployment can improve processes within your supply chain, and the things to keep in ...
Why ‘Data Hoarding’ Increases Cybersecurity Risk

Why ‘Data Hoarding’ Increases Cybersecurity Risk

Data Hoarding The proliferation of data and constant growth of content saved on premise, in cloud storage, or a non-integrated ...
4 Open Source Business Intelligence Tools For Big Data Reporting

4 Open Source Business Intelligence Tools For Big Data Reporting

Open Source Business Intelligence Tools It’s impossible to take the right business decisions without having insightful information to back up ...
Scale Matters in the Enterprise Cloud

Scale Matters in the Enterprise Cloud

The Enterprise Cloud What used to be an unknown and mysterious term, “the cloud” is now a common and mostly ...
10 Ways The Enterprise Can Prevent Data Leaks In The Cloud

10 Ways The Enterprise Can Prevent Data Leaks In The Cloud

Prevent Data Leaks In The Cloud More companies are turning to the cloud for storage. In fact, over 60 percent ...
AWS S3 Outage & Lessons in Tech Responsibility From Smokey the Bear

AWS S3 Outage & Lessons in Tech Responsibility From Smokey the Bear

AWS S3 Outage & Lessons in Tech Responsibility Earlier this week, AWS S3 had to fight its way back to ...
Cloud Services Are Vulnerable Without End-To-End Encryption

Cloud Services Are Vulnerable Without End-To-End Encryption

End-To-End Encryption The growth of cloud services has been one of the most disruptive phenomena of the Internet era.  However, ...
Two 2017 Trends From A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Two 2017 Trends From A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Reaching For The Stars People who know me know that I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I recently had the ...
Bryan Doerr

Cyber-Threats and the Need for Secure Industrial Control Systems

Secure Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Industrial Control Systems (ICS) tend to be “out of sight, out of mind.” These systems ...
Cyber Security Tips For Digital Collaboration

Cyber Security Tips For Digital Collaboration

Cyber Security Tips October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month – a joint effort by the Department of Homeland Security ...

NEWS

U.S. IT Sector Employment Expands by 8,100 Jobs in November, CompTIA Analysis Reveals

U.S. IT Sector Employment Expands by 8,100 Jobs in November, CompTIA Analysis Reveals

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., Dec. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New hiring in computer and electronics manufacturing and technology services and custom ...
Hackers shut down infrastructure safety system in attack: FireEye

Hackers shut down infrastructure safety system in attack: FireEye

Hackers shut down infrastructure safety system (Reuters) - Hackers likely working for a nation-state recently penetrated the safety system of ...
Deloitte TMT Predictions: Machine Learning Deployments, On-Demand Content and Live Events Will Continue to Drive Growth

Deloitte TMT Predictions: Machine Learning Deployments, On-Demand Content and Live Events Will Continue to Drive Growth

NEW YORK, Dec. 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Deloitte forecasts double digital growth in machine learning deployments for the enterprise, an increasing worldwide ...