A digital twin is broadly defined as a digital replica of a physical object or process. Its value comes from using living data to help understand the behavior of the system or “state-of-work” in the following ways:
- What could happen in the long-term FUTURE? (via Design applications that help determine the boundaries of the operating envelope)
- What could happen in the near-term FUTURE? (via Planning & Simulation applications that help model different scenarios within the operating envelope)
- What is happening NOW? (via Monitoring applications)
By helping understand the above states at the highest levels of the business system, a digital twin of the enterprise offers strategic value by helping the CEO steer the company through today’s highly dynamic environment. Furthermore, digital twins offer the potential to rethink and find new ways of working and not just simply replicate the current way of doing business.
Things to know about digital twins via the following insights:
- To capture maximum value for the business, the vision for digital twin should take an end-to-end lifecycle view that integrates the Design & Build (CAPEX) side with Operate & Maintain (OPEX) side
- Since work is specific to a worker, that unique perspective is key to any meaningful discussion on digital twins. It is natural to have different views and expectations of digital twin throughout the organization. However, they must converge towards a holistic and unified vision
- Enabled by new technology advances, digital twins are rapidly maturing within functional silos. But these bottom-up efforts will fail to converge towards an integrated digital twin of the business without a clear vision and priorities from the top-down
- Digital twins are living data models. Creating and maintaining digital twins to extract the maximum captive value requires an information architecture that enables access to living data generated across the lifecycle
- Time is the new currency. Data growth is exponential but time remains constant. Only by creating the right user experience (right information, right assistance, right time, right people, right device, right place, etc.) can problem solvers in the organization be empowered to extract the maximum value potential
- Digital twins present an opportunity to find new ways of working and rethink how people collaborate and engage with these information models to create value for the business – and not view digital twins as simply as automating the current way of doing business
Industrial organizations are slowly but surely progressing towards autonomous operations, driven by the need for competitive advantage in terms of:
• Speed: e.g. the need to embed intelligence to quickly respond to opportunity and risk
• Scale: e.g. the use of artificial intelligence to process millions of real-time data streams
• Smart: e.g. the use of drones to capture data in ways that humans could not
• Cost: e.g. manual and/or repetitive tasks that is not necessarily the best use of human capabilities
None of this is a new endeavor – over the last 200 years, we have been steadily replacing muscles with machines. And now, more recently with software, minds are also starting to be replaced by machines. As we contemplate the future of the industrial worker, we continually challenge ourselves by asking, “What do humans do best? Can we find the right balance with technology in defining the future of work?” In a sense, Industry 4.0 represents the 4th time we’ve asked these fundamental questions since the first industrial revolution. At every stage, we’ve seen that humans excel at problem solving and adaptation. We’re wired to sense and respond to changing conditions. Humans can create, improvise, imagine, deal with ambiguity, interpret emotions, and even behave irrationally if that serves our desires and purposes. And with that same spirit we will define a new world of work – again. And with the right guidance from the top-down, the digital twin vision for the business can offer both a practical means to create value in the near-term as well as help adapt to the changing future of work for the long-term.
Our customers can combine reality capture, 3D, 2D, planimetric data, and real-time feeds in dynamic, interactive experiences to help replicate individual facilities, large utility and transportation systems, or entire cities.