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Industries turn to digital twin technology, IoT to boost profits

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From design to predictive analytics, the use of digital twins is becoming more prevalent. Here’s a look at how it can help different sectors.

 As the digital era flourished, it seemed almost inevitable that some of what existed in the physical world would take on life in the digital realm, and that this replication would eventually have business value.

The consumer universe is increasingly digitized — e-books and digital music are everywhere — and 3D printing has made digitization a two-way street. Enter digital twin technology.

Several definitions of digital twins

The face-value definition of the term digital twin is a digital instantiation of an actual physical asset. By this definition, a 3D printing process qualifies: A digital instantiation of an object is used to actually create that object. Using older terminology, a digital twin might be thought of as a simulation of something real.

In a GE Global Research Center presentation, Colin Parris, vice president of software research at GE, defines a digital twin as “a living model of something that delivers a business outcome,” operationalizing the concept in practice.

Gartner defines a digital twin as “a dynamic software model of a physical thing or system” — the key words being dynamic and system. Digital twin technology is becoming so important that it landed a spot on “Gartner’s top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017.”

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