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Digital Twins: Bridging the Physical and Digital World

How digital are you? What changes have you made in the path for digitalization? Can you figure out the changes that digitalization has made? If you look around, you can see the invaluable insights in using a digital twin around you in every aspect. It helps make better decisions and automates the complex decision-making process in a dynamic and seamless recalibration of production lines, equipment, processes, and systems.

What is a digital twin?

A digital twin is a virtual replica of a physical object connected with sensors and devices compatible with the Internet of Things (IoT). This mostly collects real-time data regarding physical substances. Certain data are processed and then used for comprehended, evaluate, manipulate, and optimization. Such devices are used in jet engines, wind farms, buildings, and even entire cities.

In short, a digital twin is the precise replica of the physical world preserved through updates on a real-time basis. It is used in virtual reality and 3D data and graphics to create virtual buildings and other models of product, service, system, process, and so on. According to the SAP Senior Vice President of IoT Thomas Kaiser, he says that this is “becoming a business imperative, covering the entire lifecycle of an asset or process and forming the foundation for connected products and services.”

Analyzing real-world data digitally

A digital twin applies to different environments without any limitation to the product monitoring that is used throughout its lifecycle. This can be used in multiple points which include the following:

  • Asset: Engenders a specific piece of equipment within a production line
  • Component: Emphasizes the critical, single component within the manufacturing process
  • System: Improves and evaluates the entire production line
  • Process: Scrutinizes the entire manufacturing process and helps in product designing and developing the product to distribute and use the product by consumers

The concept of a digital twin has been around since 2002 but was shadowed by IoT. However, it has made a resurgence and, in 2017, it was part of Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends. It has made the system cost-effective to implement and become imperative in today’s business, combining virtual and physical worlds to enable analyses of data and monitoring systems. It also helps forestall a problem before it occurs, avoid interruption, advance new opportunities, and plan for the future with simulations.

How it works

Digital twins enable real-world data for creating simulations for predicting the production process. It incorporates IoT Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and software analytics to augment a better result. Its process offers insights into performances and problems. It is represented as a prototype physical counterpart that provides feedback as the product is refined. It can also be used as the prototype before the physical version is even built.

With the advancement of machine learning and factors, including big data, virtual models have become the key to modern engineering to kindle innovation and expand performance. The benefits of utilizing a digital twin include:

  • Reliability: Evaluate and control the asset, processing through the network as an effective strategy to improve system performance;
  • Condensed threat: Ensure protection of the environment and business objectives by diminishing the threats of asset and process-related incidents, avoid overall unintended interruption;
  • Low-cost maintenance: Predict issues before any failure, order parts, and schedule repairs at random times without the impact of production objectives;
  • Advanced manufacturing: Fortify the product quality with insights of performance of assets and processes with proper customization and minimal impact on supply chain;
  • Efficient time management: Control industry expertise with easy-to-use tools and complete blueprint catalog to provide the analytics and real-time capabilities according to its need.

Applying the system

The digital twin works efficiently in most business sectors to predict the current state and future of physical assets by analyzing the digital counterparts. The major applications of digital twin are visible in the following sectors:

  • Manufacturing: A significant impact complies in manufacturing and maintaining the product to make it operative and optimized by reducing the time;
  • Automobile: It incorporates the vehicle’s behavioral and operational data, helping in creating a performance analysis to make sure the customers can have a truly personalized service;
  • Retail: It plays a major role in implementing the augmented retail customer experience by creating virtual twins for customers;
  • Medical: It also assists in the medical and health care sectors in terms of patient monitoring, precautionary maintenance, and providing personalized care.

In this autonomous world, we can see how a digital twin evolves and creates major improvements in several sectors. Its implementation in organizations can put better insights as it creates a difference in production performance, improves customer service, and makes better operational and strategic decisions.

Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Jing Xi Lau.
Source: SAP Store / (Smarter with Gartner)

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Faraha Rahman Lamiya
Faraha Rahman Lamiya
Hi, this is Faraha. I am an enthusiast tech journalist. So whenever something new is releasing, I will make sure you get a review of it!