Digital Twins: the best things in life come in twos

A major trend making its way on every technology decision-maker’s radar is the idea of digital twins.

Sounds exciting, right?

After all, the best things in life come in twos. But, what is it exactly? Well, put simply by Gartner, the digital twins trend focuses on creating digital representations of real world operations. The digital twin is a software object that mirrors a physical entity like people, processes, organizations, and environments, and uses input from a mix of sensors and data to support advanced imitations. Digital twins have the ability to download data, software, models, and updates to generate a report on its counterpart’s state and proactively respond to changes, malfunctions, and failures.

Building digital twins

Today, the concept of digital twins is becoming more relevant as a result of growth in IoT connections along with cloud to edge, conversational platforms, and focus on the customer experience. Digital twins are driving the next generation of business and creating advanced digital ecosystems. Organizations have already started to use digital twins for everyday things such as sound systems and automobiles to show operational features like the status of batteries, radio volume, location, and temperature

Human users can benefit from digital twins by using conversational interfaces and other user experience channels to connect with real world objects as well as their digital twin counterparts. As AI is applied, digital twins will continue to become more sophisticated and take on an important role in connecting things like assets and security.

Using digital twins in IoT

According to Gartner, by 2021 there will be over 25 billion IoT endpoints and digital twins will exist for billions of things including asset optimization, competitive differentiation, and user experience. The accelerated adoption of IoT-enabled software will urge the use of digital twins to monitor and govern machines, and unlock significant savings opportunities.

Digital twins in IoT systems involve massive amounts of data from different sources including situational data, contextual data, forecast data, operational data, and sensors to collect data from the original entity and transmit the status to the twin copy in real time. In addition, the digital twin will continuously learn and update itself to mimic the changes of the original entity and be used as a living model that drives strategic business outcomes.

Expanding the digital universe

The concept of digital twins continues to grow in human personas each day. Many elements of a digital persona exist in things such as online profiles and system preferences including social networks like Facebook and Twitter, credit agencies, healthcare firms, and e-commerce platforms like Amazon. This allows marketing professionals to gather information from digital profiles, aggregate them in a group, and direct these consumers to advertisements and product promotions created specifically based on their interests. These elements allow companies to understand individuals by connecting them to people’s real-world actions, which helps them more accurately personalize products and services to improve overall customer experience. According to a Gartner study, privacy concerns are expected to significantly increase as these digital personas begin to become more structured, ultimately becoming more invasive.

In short, a digital twin gathers data of situations to make predictions and enhance understanding of what is happening or what is going to happen. The twin runs simulations when asked specific questions and delivers only the most feasible results as well as informs us on what needs to be done, allowing operators to think and act smarter. As the trend continues to evolve, their ability to collect and visualize the right data will improve and digital twins of physical assets will be complemented by other digital analogs.