The growth of Digital Twin technology parallels the growth of the IoT—Internet of Things. Many research firms are tracking both the IoT and Digital Twin markets, but not all use the same definitions.
Juniper Research in the UK, for example, defines a Digital Twin as a virtual model representation of a connected physical product, process, or service, across its whole lifecycle (design, build, operate). The virtual replica uses operational realtime data and other sources of information to enable detection of issues, advance both learning and understanding, as well as test and simulate scenarios in the physical model counterpart.
Digital Twins modelling in IoT operations has produced a range of advantages for several industries:
- Visual communication of crucial information and data about products and/or services in complicated operational environments and in context, such as rate of manufacturing efficiency or supply chain functioning, and detection of potential machine production errors.
- Forecasts of realistic, likely scenarios of emerging errors and/or inefficiencies in the connected physical object thanks to its live link and tracking between the virtual and physical realms.
- Analysis of data and systems’ monitoring to head off problems before they even occur, prevent downtime, develop new opportunities, and even plan using simulation.
- Integration with, and utilization of, digital innovations such as machine learning, HPC (high-power computing), artificial intelligence software, edge processing, blockchain and analytics to facilitate effective process automation, intelligent business decision-making, rapid responses to queries and increased production efficiency.
In recent years technology advances, particularly big data and cloud computing, have enhanced the significance of data and information analytics in Digital Twins models to help businesses gain in-depth insight on issues hampering the efficiency of their operations.
Juniper found that total global spend on Digital Twins will reach $12.7 billion by 2021; an increase of 17% from $10.8 billion in 2019. Its research indicates that, despite the negative impact of COVID-19, there will be only a 1% drop in overall Digital Twins spend in 2020. Investment in Digital Twins is driven by valuable efficiency gains, which are increasingly essential in uncertain times. The research identified that under these circumstances, return on investment is still achievable, primarily due to the extensive links Digital Twins have to the wider IoT ecosystem.
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