How can digital twin technology help your business grow?

Saurabh Singh March 30, 2022

Wouldn’t it be extraordinary if you could easily simulate plans and alternate scenarios for products and services? 

When we craft websites and applications for today’s connected world, it’s important to use tools and technologies that meet the new realities of digital transformation

One such technology is digital twin technology, also considered one of the most essential industry 4.0 technologies worldwide. 

The concept of digital twin technology gives a glimpse of what is happening in your current production and operation line and a prediction of what might happen in the near future. 

Earlier, NASA used the precursor to digital twin technology (a pairing tech) to solve the issue of operating, maintaining and repairing systems when you aren’t near them physically. This was precisely how space enterprises determined the ongoing and upcoming challenges. Today, digital twin technology applications at NASA are used extensively to explore the next-gen vehicles and aircraft. 

Not only tech giants but modern businesses and enterprises use digital twin technology for various reasons, including enhancing ongoing operations, testing new features and products before launching them, training employees, and running services in a virtual world where it is cost-efficient and less complicated to fix any issue.  

Real digital power comes when companies integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to analyze the operations model represented by digital twins. With the range of advanced tech solutions in the business landscape, digital twin technology has boosted productivity and efficiency of manufacturing, healthcare, logistics, retail, automotive, aviation, energy, and every possible industry.

In fact, the digital twin market size in the manufacturing and supply chain industry is predicted to reach over 6 billion USD by the year 2025. 

manufacturing and supply chain industry

This would have made you curious about what exactly is the concept of digital twin technology. This article covers every whereabout of the digital twin technology for business and enterprises and how you can leverage digital twin solutions in your everyday operations. Let’s dig in. 

What is Digital Twin technology?

Digital twin technology is a virtual representation of a system or object that spans its lifecycle. The environment created is updated from the real-time data and uses simulation, reasoning, and machine learning to help in decision making. 

In simple terms, it is the spectra of creating a highly complex virtual model, which is the exact twin or counterpart of a physical system. The system could be anything from an engine, car to a bridge. However, keep in mind that the digital twin technology is not an object simulation; it is a digital twin that keeps updating when the new data adds up to the object. 

Modern day organizations use digital twin applications to accomplish various tasks, such as 

  • Visualizing products in use in real-time by real users
  • Refining assumptions with predictive analytics
  • Managing linkage and complexities within systems-of-systems
  • Creating a digital thread, connecting disparate systems and promoting traceability
  • Troubleshooting far away systems and devices

There are many more industrial uses and applications of digital twin technology that we will discuss in our upcoming sections. 

applications of digital twin technology

Digital twin technology can help you get comfortable with the IoT implementation and automation because they have the opportunity to simulate the application prior to it going live. The lessons learned and opportunities uncovered through a digital twin can then be applied to the physical environment.

Since digital twins can give a real-time view of what’s happening with equipment or other physical assets, they have been beneficial in manufacturing to reduce maintenance issues and ensure optimal production output. 

Although the concept of the digital twin came around in 2002, it was IoT (Internet of Technology) that made it accessible and affordable to businesses. When you take a minute to consider all the ways digital twins can be applied to your business, you will notice the potential is limitless. We will get to the industrial applications of the digital twin concept once we get familiar with its working. 

How do Digital Twins work?

A digital twin can be as simple or as complex as you require, with various amounts of data determining. You can create the digital twin even before the asset is built physically. The virtual counterparts (digital twins) are created using different elements mentioned below: 

Sensors – They are used to capture the operational behavior of processes and assets (pressure, temperature and vibration) alongside their functional environment (air, humidity, temperature etc.). 

Communication network – This is to provide reliable and secure data transfer from physical devices to the digital world. 

A digital platform – The platform serves as a modern data repository storing and processing shop floor sensor data with high-level business data like ERP, MES etc. You gain actionable insights by combining these data resources and implying data analytics algorithms. 

By maintaining a consistent data flow, you attain the best possible analysis of your assets to analyze business outcomes. Thus, your digital twin works as a live model of the physical equipment. 

Another essential question is when to use the digital twin technology?

When to use Digital Twin technology?

You can definitely use the digital twin concept in any possible digital business space, but the experts suggest three ideal situations when the digital twin concept works marvelously. 

Digital twin solutions can be broken into three broad categories that exhibit different times when the process can be used: 

Digital Twin Prototype (DTP): 

This is the situation where the physical asset is already created.

Digital Twin Instance (DTI): 

This is done once a product is manufactured in order to run tests on various usage scenarios.

Digital Twin Aggregate (DTW):

This is the situation where DTI information is accumulated and analyzed to determine the capabilities of the asset, test operating parameters and run prognostics. 

The over discussed categories are arched widely and comprise a variety of uses, including planning, product development, logistics, quality control, manufacturing etc. 

Now how do you apply the digital twin concept in your business? Well, let’s get you an answer. 

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Business applications and use cases of Digital Twin technology

The digital twin solutions are transforming manufacturing, healthcare, retail, supply chain and many more industries by amplifying model driven decisions. Let’s see how major industrial markets are implementing the digital twin concept in their business models. 

use cases of Digital Twin technology

How are Digital Twins transforming the supply chain? 

Performance prediction 

You can easily virtualize product packaging and then test for errors even before the asset is packaged. Digital twin technology applications help logistic enterprises determine material feasibility. 

Shipment protection 

Logistics businesses analyze how various packaging conditions affect product delivery with the simulation of digital twin insights. 

Operational performance and warehouse design 

Digital twins enable logistics enterprises to test warehouse layouts so they can choose the most efficient warehouse design to maximize operational performance. 

Creating a logistics network 

A digital twin of a road network carries information about the road layout, traffic situation, construction etc. With the acquired knowledge, logistic enterprises can design inventory storage locations and distribution routes. 

How are Digital Twins transforming Healthcare? 

Improved healthcare operations 

Building a digital twin of a hospital center, staffing, care models, capacities help healthcare providers examine the operational performance of a health enterprise. 

Enhanced personalized care 

Pharma companies and healthcare providers use digital twin technology applications to model physiological characteristics, the genome code, and patient’s lifestyle to offer personalized care such as unique and rare drugs for specific patients. 

How are Digital Twins transforming Manufacturing?

The manufacturing industry ultimately relies on high-cost equipment that generates a high volume of data facilitating even more need for bringing digital twin solutions to the business. 

Design customization 

With digital twins, businesses can design several permutations of the product to provide customized products and services to their customers. 

Product development 

You can also check the feasibility of upcoming products before launching. According to the test results, you can easily develop products focused on scalable models. 

Construction 

A digital twin helps construction companies understand real-time building performance to tweak apt performance and optimize efficiency. Digital twin data is used for planning and designing future buildings. 

Predictive maintenance 

It’s not a surprise to see how digital twins are transforming the manufacturing market by predicting the potential downtime of machines. It allows businesses to minimize non-value-adding maintenance activities and improve the overall efficiency before it happens. 

However, using a digital twin for predictive maintenance can be a slight challenge to scale since it will be a machine-specific virtual replica. You will probably need data science experts or a reliable digital transformation company to build and maintain twins. 

How are Digital Twins transforming Automotive and Aerospace? 

Before digital twins, the concept of physical twins was used in the aerospace industry. As discussed above, NASA is a brilliant instance of how digital twins effectively simulated and managed Apollo 13 programs. 

Even in the automotive industry, the development of new engines and vehicles mostly take place in a virtual setting. The digital twin concept is used in the automobile industry to craft virtual models of a connected vehicle. You can also use digital twin solutions to design ideal automotive assets much before the actual production starts. 

Self-driven automobile development 

One of the best digital twin technology examples is self-driven autonomous vehicle development. Self-driven cars need numerous sensors that keep updating data regarding the vehicle and the surrounding environment. Due to liability questions that surround autonomous vehicles, creating a digital twin helps with ensuring unexpected damage and minimal injuries. 

Not to forget the factor of vehicle maintenance and road testing that act as the most significant supporting benefit. 

How are Digital Twins transforming Retail? 

Consumer modeling and simulations 

If you have a retail business, you can create digital twin models of various customer personas to scale your customer experience. Moreover, talk about personalized products and clothing to customers based on their digital footprint. 

Similarly, the digital twin solutions are taken well in every possible business scenario coming along with a higher benefit scale. Speaking of which, let’s also take an overview of the advantages of the digital twin technology so that we don’t leave you with any doubts. 

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Business benefits of using Digital Twin technology

Since the digital twin is a dynamic, up-to-date representation of a physical object, it never stops evolving and providing real-time output. This is probably why digital twin models are widely embraced in every digital landscape. 

Accelerated risk assessment and production

With the help of digital twins, enterprises can validate a product before it exists in the real world. You can create a replica of the planned production process to identify any process failures. Think of the cost saved on product malfunction. 

You can also disrupt the system to synthesize unpredictable scenarios, determine corresponding mitigation strategies and examine the system’s reaction. This new capability can improve risk assessment, accelerate the development of new products and enhance the operation line reliability. 

Predictive maintenance 

Since the digital twin’s system, IoT sensors generate big data in real-time, you can examine this data to proactively identify problems with the system. This ability helps businesses to accurately schedule predictive maintenance resulting in minimal downtime and maintenance costs. 

Team collaboration 

One of the most underrated benefits of digital twin technology is promoting productivity and better team collaboration. The 24*7 access to the system and process automation allows smooth flow of data and efficient operations. 

Real-time remote monitoring 

Getting an in-depth, real-time view of an extensive physical system is still a challenge for many organizations. Digital twin allows concurrent accessibility where you can monitor and control the system performance remotely. 

Better financial decision making 

A virtual depiction of a physical object can integrate financial data such as material and labor costs. The availability of big data and advanced analytics makes it possible to financially picture possible outcomes and make faster and more reliable decisions. 

These benefits do not limit to one dimension. You can digitally transform your business without any downtime challenge to any extent using the digital twin technology solutions. 

But how to successfully implement the digital twin technology in your business? Let’s find out below. 

Things to consider before implementing Digital Twin technology 

There are a few things you can do to ensure the successful implementation of the digital twin concept in your enterprise. The primary ones are listed below: 

Update your data security protocols 

According to Gartner’s prediction, approximately 75% of the digital twin models for IoT connected products will require at least five different integration points. A considerable amount of data generated from these endpoints will be vulnerable to cyber-attacks and other malfunctions. Hence, it would be best if you were prepared with updated security protocols of the digital twin technology. 

These are the areas that need higher security importance in the near future: 

  • Least privilege principles
  • Data encryption 
  • Routine security audits 
  • Access privileges including a clear description of user roles
  • Addressing known devices vulnerabilities  

Data quality management 

Digital twin modeling depends on the data generated from thousands of remote sensors that communicate over unreliable networks. If you are willing to implement digital twin technology, you must be able to exclude bad data and manage gaps in data streams. 

Team training 

The potential users of digital twin technology solutions must adopt new ways of working with data and technology so that they face challenges in working with new technical capabilities. In short, you need to make sure that your staff has the required skills and tools to manage digital twin models.

The future of cognitive Digital Twin technology 

Digital twins are already helping enterprises stay ahead of digital disruption by understanding changing customer preferences, experiences and customization. This knowledge for your business means rapid product delivery, higher quality data, faster development and whatnot. 

Other advanced technologies such as NLP (Natural Language Processing), object visual recognition, acoustic analytics, and signal processing are just a few of the features that take us beyond human intuition when versed with Digital twin modeling. 

This shows the digital twin technology is not just about what we are building but for whom we are building. 

How can Appinventiv help you with digital twin technology solutions? 

Appinventiv is a digital transformation company that specializes in helping enterprises revolutionize their business through the power of technology and innovation. We believe in pushing organizations to become more agile and intuitive, in simple terms, become more customer-centric. 

With our suite of digital transformation solutions, including data modeling, legacy modernization, digital twin consulting and other digital transformation strategies, you can achieve tangible results. Connect with us to jumpstart your digital transformation journey. 

THE AUTHOR
Saurabh Singh
CEO & Director
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