Digital Twin Technology Reshaping IoT-Enabled Environments

Evolution Of The Digital Twin Technology

What is a digital twin? Digital Twins can be best defined as digital copies or virtual replicas of physical assets. Data scientists can make use of digital twins to try and run simulations before they build and deploy actual devices. Digital Twin technology transforms the way in which the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, as well as, Data Analytics is optimized.

The concept of ‘digital twin’ rewinds back to the year 1970 with the launch of Apollo 13. NASA’s digital twin model of Apollo 13 was a famous rescue mission to assess space monitoring conditions. The concept of Digital Twins later gained recognition in 2002 at the onset of a presentation by Challenge Advisory at the University of Michigan. According to Gartner, the digital twin is one of the top 10 strategic technology trends since 2017. Gartner estimates 21 billion connected sensors and endpoints by the end of the year 2020! 

Related Reading: Checkout in detail, where and why should you invest in IoT.

Digital Twins: Enhancing IoT Enabled Industries

Data scientists build digital twins that can receive input from sensors that collect data from its real-world counterpart. The twin is then allowed to simulate in real-time. This process provides critical insights and feedback that helps in analyzing the actual system’s performance. For instance, a twin car can be built digitally by validating various inputs to check on factors such as safety, mileage, etc. 

Digital Twins impact various IoT-enabled environments such as manufacturing, automotive, healthcare, financial services, urban planning and many more. The major IoT-enabled industries that can leverage the benefits of digital twin technology and how they benefit from it are as follows:

  • Manufacturing Industry: The Digital Twin concept with the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) is implemented in the manufacturing domain. It can be designed and deployed in numerous ways such as in tracking and monitoring systems, evaluating production, troubleshooting equipment used, etc. As digital twins can predict failure chances, it helps in saving costs, time and in improving customer loyalty.
  • Automotive Industry: The future of autonomous vehicles lies on well-connected road systems and vehicles. Critical data gathered from this network. The digital twins then act as simulated models that help engineers analyze the behavior of vehicles before they are used on roads. 
  • Healthcare: Medical monitoring technology is used to gather critical data such as heart rate, oxygen levels, etc. This data is used in the creation of digital simulations. Digital twins help the healthcare ecosystem in disease diagnosis, remote monitoring of patients, etc. 
  • Urban Planning Sectors: Vital data such as maps, blueprints of buildings, real-time data from sensors, etc are used to create digital twin models to improve urban planning services. These services include waste disposal, mobility services, providing resources like electricity and water, etc.
  • Asset Management: Both worksite and remote industrial operations can be managed via digital twins with the help of remote asset monitoring services. Predictive maintenance of assets like machinery improves operational efficiencies and decreases disruption of business operations. Digital twins can also be converged with augmented and virtual reality techniques for better visualization of industrial workflows. 
  • Financial Services: Customer behavior can be easily monitored with digital twin technology. It helps in creating personalized profiles for individuals via data analysis of their previous behavior in buying decisions etc. It can also simulate cash flows and balance sheets. Client needs can be analyzed better by insurance firms and asset managers and can thus provide personalized experiences for their customers. 

Internet Of Things – Letting Industries Go Digital

Digital Twin Technology: Fostering Innovation In IoT-Enabled Environments

According to Gartner digital twin will be used by 50 percent of the industries in 2021. This will result in a 10% improvement in operational efficiency in these IoT-enabled organizations. The digital twin technology is the most important Industry 4.0 technology that is available today. 

It helps in automating decision-making processes, providing critical insights into dynamic recalibration of products and other equipment in the industries, monitoring the manufacturing processes and production lines, etc. 

The digital twin technology helps in monitoring manufacturing components, assets, and critical processes in real-time. Also, it helps in improving OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness), increasing product quality, enhancing traceability, reducing wastage and boosting overall efficiency.

Main Data Elements in Digital Twin Technology: Key Benefits For Improved Innovation

There are three main elements in digital twins such as Past, Present and Future Data that improve efficiency in IoT-enabled industries. The past data is the data from the previous performance of individual machines etc. Present data is the real-time data from sensors, whereas the future data is the data received from machine learning algorithms and various inputs from engineers. 

The key benefits of Digital Twin IoT enabled industries are as follows:

  • Automated Insights

It is important for an IoT-enabled environment to understand the relationship between different types of data within its network. This IoT data can be extracted and enhanced in the form of knowledge graphs. This helps in automating processes and improving decision-making. 

  • Increased ROI Generation

A decline in revenue is mainly due to the downtime of machines. The digital twin technology can reduce downtimes, prevent failures, and increase the life-span of machines. This not only improves productivity but also brings down the operational costs significantly and improves revenue generation. 

  • Predicting Failures 

Digital twins provide a platform that enables IoT-enabled industries to be prompted constantly about production, operation and management activities. The virtual testing platform that it provides, simulate the real-world data into critical and meaningful insights. In addition to being a scalable solution, it also self-diagnoses problems. This makes it easy for industries to make human-machine interaction efficient and productive. 

  • Digitizing The Whole Industry Ecosystem

There is a rapid adoption rate of digitizing operations by industries day-to-day in order to achieve positive business outcomes. This is made possible with the steady data flow from the environmental and operational sectors of the IoT-enabled industries. 

This up-to-date and personalized data maximize profitability and productivity. In addition to being a high revenue opportunity, the digital twin technology also digitizes the working assets and processes in its entirety. 

In a nutshell, the benefits that can be leveraged from digital twin technology for IoT-enabled industries are as follows:

  • Reliable operations and management of equipment and production lines
  • Increased Overall Equipment Effectiveness or OEE achieved via reduced downtime.
  • Increased ability of customers to remotely configure products.
  • Significantly reduced maintenance costs due to preventive measures taken that aid in finding out chances of failures or machine breakdown, etc.
  • Improved production cycles leading to reduced downtimes.
  • Better productivity
  • Considerably reduced risks in areas of product availability, product failures, services, maintenance, etc.
  • Provides critical insights of past, present and future data in real-time environments.

The globe is yet to witness over 50 billion connected devices by the time period of 2020-2030 and over 7 billion customers using the web worldwide. 

For an immersive experience on how to transform your IoT-enabled industry or business with the Digital Twin technology, call us right away. We will help you gather brilliant strategies on fostering innovation with specific digital twin models!

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    About the Author

    Vinod Saratchandran

    Vinod has conceptualized and delivered niche mobility products that cater to various domains including logistics, media & non-profits. He leads, mentors & coaches a team of Project Coordinators & Analysts at Fingent.

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