What if you could have a digital replica of your office that you could access anywhere in the world? It sounds like science fiction or a fantasy, doesn't it?
Well, with the constant innovation and evolution of technology, this is actually possible.
This is not a joke anymore. You can pinch yourself or rub your eyes repeatedly to believe it.
If you're expecting it to have a cool acronym like TARDIS, you're mistaken. This technology is called digital twins, and despite its name, it's pretty remarkable, with huge bags of untapped potential.
What is a digital twin?
A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical object or system. They are created by scanning and replicating an object or system and then modeling its behavior in a computer simulation. Digital twins and augmented reality can be used to monitor and predict the performance of physical objects and systems, making them a valuable tool for business owners and engineers. And like smart manufacturing, digital twins are also being considered as one of the key drivers of the fourth industrial revolution.
Digital twins combine the best of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, data analytics, augmented reality (AR), machine learning (ML), and the Internet of things (IoT) to add immense value.
Digital twins and the need to define their value
With time, digital twins are slowly moving from the experimental category to a critical business process. As this happens, attaching value and an ROI to them becomes crucial.
One of the most significant values that digital twins bring to the table is the ability to make more informed and better decisions regarding the lifecycle of operations, products, or assets. For example, they could optimize supply chains, boost efficiencies for businesses, enhance the utilization of assets, and even test environments without any risk before making any physical changes. This can be done due to the insights provided regarding the existing state of affairs and predictions about what the future might resemble.
This technology also offers the opportunity to boost learning and augment complex human activities by integrating artificial intelligence. Furthermore, with the brilliance of data analysis and its ability to predict trends and changes, an AI-integrated digital twin can help enhance the physical world in an entirely automated manner. But to bring about such immense changes, it is vital to view digital twinning as a transformation, i.e., processes, people, and technology must come together holistically.
However, there are several hurdles to overcome if this vision of digital twins is to be realized. Two such key hurdles are data quality and accuracy and legacy systems. Those having legacy systems might face steep challenges in implementing digital twins, with even steeper costs. Additionally, the human element must also be considered. As is the case with technology, the inclination of people to embrace it plays an important role in its adoption.
Talking about the adoption of digital twins, what are some of the use cases it offers?
Digital twins can help ensure safety and reliability by identifying potential issues and problems before they cause accidents or downtime.
By providing a more accurate, real-time view of objects or processes, digital twins can help improve decision-making.
Greater insight and understanding
The use of digital twins can provide greater insight and understanding into the workings of physical objects or processes. This can be used to improve performance, design, and operations.
Enhanced customer experience
Digital twins can create better customer experiences by simulating how products will work in the real world and allowing customers to interact with them virtually.
Despite the advantages mentioned above, it's important to note that organizations with better technology adoption and data management and governance will definitely receive greater value from the employment of digital twins.
What needs to be done to realize the potential of digital twins?
While digital twins offer many benefits for business owners, there is still room for improvement. One area that needs more development is integrating digital twins with other business systems. Digital twins can be enhanced by linking them with data from other sources such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems or customer relationship management (CRM) systems. This would give businesses a complete picture of how their products and operations are performing.
Additionally, there is still room for improvement in the usability of digital twins. The current generation of digital twins can be challenging to use for people who are not experts in computer simulations. Hence, more work must be done to make digital twins easier to use and understand for non-technical users.
What does the future hold?
In conclusion, digital twins offer several potential benefits for business owners. While there is still room for improvement, digital twins are a valuable tool businesses should use to improve product design, reduce waste, and improve safety.