Digital Twins: Bridging the Physical and Digital | Enterprise Technology & Performance | Deloitte Netherlands


How will the next generation of digital twin enhance capabilities to design, optimize, and transform the enterprise?

Digital Twins: Bridging the Physical and Digital

High fidelity digital simulations combined with IoT sensors and machine learning are presenting an array of new opportunities ranging from optimization, autonomous decision-making to paving the way to new business models.

The definition

A digital twin can be defined, as an evolving digital profile of the historical and current behavior of a physical object or process tiered to optimize business performance. It is based on a set of multi-dimensional measurements, capturing real time information from the physical world thanks to its ability to ingest an impressive array of data.

These measurements can deliver a potent set of insights, augmenting our capability to often take business critical decision based on the information attained. Hence, entire manufacturing processes can be redesigned and reengineered as a consequence of these actionable insights.

Origins, maturity and acceleration

The implementation of Digital Twins was initially kicked started in firms such as GE for the monitoring and study of aircraft components. Specifically engine components, hence, there has been ample room to experiment with Digital Twins which provide a near – real time comprehensive linkage between the physical and digital worlds.

Following studies and tests carried out on engines, it subsequently expanded within the aerospace industry and has been used to monitor wiring, connections and other elements of aircrafts.

What we have seen over the years, which has given the technology the capacity to mature and accelerate, are key factors such as interoperability, platforms, simulation and visualization. These advancement on multiple fronts have been able to mitigate the gaps and limitations which Digital Twins had to date such as poor data quality, forecasting and prediction capabilities. AI embedded features for instance have enabled users to distill the increased number of data sets and optimize time to action. Furthermore, the ever growing role of the cloud and efforts around data modernization have also contributed to enhance data collection capability increasing accuracy, completeness and quality.

The Interoperability factor has played a pivotal role in accelerating adoption. Reduced sensor costs, enhanced industry standards for IoT, cloud and third part vendors integration across multiple platforms are only a few examples that has augmented the breadth and digital twin outreach.

Can we already Imagine the future?

As a result of the advancements brought over by the aforementioned factors we expect to see digital twins deployed more broadly across industries in the coming years. An increasing number of businesses will explore opportunities to use digital twins in order to design new products, business models whilst optimizing processes and make data-driven decision in real time. This course of action will be aided by the advent of a more advanced network connectivity such as 5G, providing an almost limitless array of opportunity around track and tracing, real time monitoring and flow of goods.

Capital-intensive assets and processes like manufacturing, utilities, and energy are already at the forefront of research and application of digital twin use cases taking on the lessons learnt from the aerospace industry. More will emulate the early adopters as they carve out an important market lead through trial and error. An example of pioneering research is the application of Digital Twins in the healthcare sector and its application to monitor patients. If we can create a digital twin of an object or a process, what prevents us in doing so for the human body in order to monitor and respond to diseases? With 3-D printing of organs as a very likely future scenario, the importance of simulations enhanced by growing computing power, affordability and cloud capability will be a driving force for all of those business aiming at a strong and more resilient future. The age of the Digital Twin is upon us.

More information?

For more information on Digital Twins or IoT please do not hesitate to contact Helena Lisachuk or Roy Halstead via the contact details below.

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