Technology is the future of human well-being.
No matter how reiterated this sounds, it is indisputable that technology has made inroads into every area of human life and has revolutionized practically every activity and industry. Every single day, technology has been making new advancements to streamline human life.
In this article, we will discuss how digital twin technology has remodeled several industries. But let’s start with the basics.
What is a digital twin?
A digital twin or virtual twin is the digital replica of a product, an operation, or a system. It is a representative digital imaging of a real-life system or an IoT device. A digital twin is connected to its physical counterpart to generate real-time data using sensors. A digital twin is the modern version of cross-reality environments, co-spaces, and mirror models. Digital twin integrates several technologies, including cloud, Internet of things (IoT), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning).
The components of a digital twin of any product include:
- The actual physical item operating in real space
- A machine language-based version of the item – a twin
- Real-time data obtained from sensors that link the physical item and its virtual twin
Digital twins are widely used to build predictive models and carry out simulations across manufacturing, healthcare, supply chain management, and the energy sector. The digital twin market is consistently growing thanks to its wide range of applications and is expected to reach 20 Billion USD by the year 2025.
Let us discuss how digital twins are used across several industries.
Applications and use cases of digital twin
Improved patient care is one of the top priorities of healthcare systems. With remote healthcare and telehealth gaining momentum, leveraging technology to improve diagnosis and offering relevant treatment that hits the bull’s eye is critical. Digital twin facilitates virtualization of surgeries to minimize errors and gain a better understanding of possible problems in advance, before actually operating on the patient. Digital twin technology also helps in replicating hospital environments to attest to safety and performance. A digital twin in healthcare can be generated using data fed by wearables on the patients to closely monitor and replicate the vitals and activity to provide patient-centric care for common healthcare deliverables such as nutrition, dietary, and lifestyle changes.
IIoT (Industrial IoT) is no more a buzzword. With the arrival of Industry 4.0, if we can expect any sector to go under a complete metamorphosis, it is manufacturing. Smart factories are the new normal. Smart, highly connected devices and systems, 3D modeling, and severe penetration of the internet are a prerequisite to drive the Industry 4.0 initiatives.
In manufacturing, digital twins are used for the design and validation of products before they are actually deployed to the market. It is widely used for digital machine-building and performance tuning by simulating the digital twin to check for performance and errors.
One of the key challenges in successfully driving Industry 4.0 is training the workforce to use. With digital twins, training can be expedited without actually involving the systems. A digital twin is also a key driver of device health monitoring to eliminate unplanned downtimes and cost-effective troubleshooting through predictive maintenance.
Ever-changing customer demands, growing concerns around sustainability, and globally escalating energy consumption call for an energy revolution driven by IoT. As the energy sector moves towards sustainability, improved grid management, smart grid technologies, and smart meters, predictive maintenance of these systems is more important than ever. Digital twin technology integrated with IoT-based sensors helps in offering predictive maintenance and remote troubleshooting by continuously monitoring working conditions, real-time system status via replicas of energy plants.
With digital twins, curbing energy losses, providing real-time system performance insights, discovering events, and providing end-to-end insights into the entire energy portfolio is possible. Thanks to its multifold benefits, digital twin technology is widely adopted by energy industry giants such as Shell Chemicals.
Building and designing cities rich with infrastructure to meet the growing demands of energy with conscious and sustainable choices is the need of the hour. Digital twin technology is now experientially used to model smart cities before implementing them on a large-scale. Digital twin helps in creating virtual replicas and 3D models of an entire city with buildings, the urban infrastructure of roads, transport, and vehicles to pave the way for efficient planning and truly democratizing smart city designing.
The digital twin technology has been around for more than a decade, but with the integration of IoT and smart connected devices, now is the time to make use of it like never before. The times ahead are exciting indeed, and it’s about time that organizations across industries adopt digital twin technologies to be ahead in the curve. Contact us today to discuss how you can leverage digital twin in your organization.
After successful 5 years stint in a corporate role, Nitin is back to what he enjoys most – conceptualizing new software solutions to solve business problems. Nitin is postgraduate from IIT, Mumbai, India and in his 19 years of career, has played key roles in building a desktop as well as enterprise solutions right from idealization to launch which are adopted by many Fortune 500 companies. As a Founder member of Pratiti Technologies, he is committed to applying his management learning as well as the passion for building new solutions to realize your innovation with certainty.