Digital twins are central to the vast majority of industrial IoT use cases.
Organizations that are leveraging IoT to drive better business outcomes are increasingly using digital twin technology. In fact, Gartner predicts half of large industrial companies will be using them by 2021.
A digital representation of a physical object, digital twins allow businesses to create a crystal-ball-like-view into the future. They enable simulation, analysis and control to test and explore scenarios in a practice setting before initiating changes in the real world.
While digital twins have historically been associated with more complex technology environments, its impressive ability to both eliminate problems and deliver next-level operational performance is making these models a must-have technology in every IoT team’s toolkit.
Some of the first digital twin cases I’ve witnessed involved complex—and usually expensive—capital assets such as diesel engines, turbines, and heavy-duty mining and construction equipment. Their digital representations are equally complex, comprising finite state machines with potentially tens of thousands of discrete states. However, digital twins offer even the simplest constructs a vast number of benefits. I’d like to quickly explore five reasons every IoT deployment needs digital twins:
1. Predict the future
In order to predict the condition of an asset down the road, it’s necessary to transcend a pretty dashboard view of a device’s current anatomy, and truly understand its behavior. Digital twins provide a closer look at what conditions and events influence it to change, to regress or thrive, from one environmental state to another.
2. Increase accuracy
Understanding these behavioral patterns, and leveraging advanced machine learning algorithms, enables meaningful digital twins to be played forward or backward in time. This modeling allows operators to better understand how a device might perform in a certain scenario, for example, to alleviate a potential mechanical failure before it happens.
3. Avoid failure
This may seem obvious, but businesses place a high value on being able to avoid costly breaks or errors. Digital twins enable teams to explore innumerable possibilities so they can deliver, with a higher level of confidence, a recommendation around the longevity or reliability of an asset. Businesses that are wanting to improve uptime and increase production can leverage digital twins.