The Importance of Digital Twins

By Rebecca Lam

Thu, 4 Oct 2018

Digital twin technology is making its way into the world of artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and data analytics, but what exactly is it and why is it so important?

Digital twins can be simply explained as a digital representation of a physical object or system. The digital replica of the physical twin/processes/systems can be used for many purposes, integrating artificial intelligence, software analytics and machine learning with data to create living digital simulation models. These digital simulations will alter as their physical twins change and affects the design, build, and operation of how products pull together. A digital twin will continuously learn and update from multiple sources to represent its near real-time status, working condition or position.

The future of digital twins will go hand-in-hand with IoT devices, as they are linked to real-world objects and offer information on the state of the counterparts. The importance of digital twins is evident, as they can potentially exist for billions of things in the near future, with a prediction that there will be 21 billion digitally connected sensors by 2020. This could save billions of dollars in maintenance repair and operation.

The technology behind digital twins has expanded to include larger items such as buildings, factories and even cities, and could potentially reach people – expanding the concept even further. Large and complicated items such as aircraft engines, trains, and turbines are also utilising digital twins to be designed and tested digitally before being physically produced. As digital twins become increasingly important within industries, it won’t be long until it reaches yours – if it hasn’t already. 


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Rebecca Lam

rlam@challenge.org

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