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What is a Digital Twin?

Jari Haiston in Blogs on October 31, 2022

About Jari Haiston

Jari Haiston is part of the growing digital marketing team at Symmetry Electronics. Jari comes from a background in technical writing and event coordination. In her current role, she specializes in content creation and social media management. Jari's focus as a writer is to create interesting content that is accessible to any audience.
Symmetry-Electronics-Defines-Digital-Twins

Smart city technology is on the rise and developers are consistently seeking methods to support its full implementation in urban environments. In 2017, researchers at Georgia Tech’s School of Civil & Environmental Engineering launched a virtual platform called ‘Smart City Digital Twin’ that provided developers with a comprehensive platform to monitor stormwater maintenance, improve public transport and mobility, enhance emergency response, and analyze energy consumption in smart city systems. However, digital twin technology can extend solutions past smart cities to include use cases and applications across a wide range of industries.

What is a Digital Twin?

The Digital Twin Consortium defines digital twin technology as a “virtual representation of real-world entities and processes, synchronized at a specified frequency and fidelity.” Digital twin systems provide a flexible, customizable method of “accelerating holistic understanding, optimal decision-making, and effective action” in an environment. Digital twin technology is driven by virtualizing a physical twin through the use of IoT sensors and other digital technologies.

Are Digital Twins Simulations?

Figure 1: The difference between digital twin technology and simulations.

Source: PTC

Ambiguity exists on the boundary between digital twins and simulations. While digital twin systems can simulate predicted futures, the main difference between digital twin technology and simulations (Figure 1) centers around data flow. In layman’s terms, simulations do not account for real-time disruptions to determine change. Enabled by IoT, digital twins provide fluidity in actionable insights by continuously incorporating in-the-moment data. For example, simulations can predict 5 o’clock traffic conditions, but digital twin technology can predict 5 o’clock traffic conditions if a sinkhole suddenly emerges in the middle of the highway.

The Top Four Industries Implementing Digital Twin Technology

Digital twin systems are helpful tools that almost all organizations are aware of. In fact, Allied Market Research valued the global digital twin industry at $6.5 billion in 2021 and forecasts that it will reach $125.7 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 39.48%. The significant growth rate of digital twin adoption can be attributed to the flexible solutions it provides to a wide range of industries. Microsoft’s paper, IoT Signals, defines the top four industries integrating digital twin systems as:

Digital Twin Technology in Manufacturing

When integrated into manufacturing, digital twin systems simplify logistics and help eliminate operational complexities through increased visibility.

Digital Twin Technology in Energy

The International Electrotechnical Commission explains that the virtualization of physical grid assets aid companies in improving “planning and specifications, operational efficiency, and personal training.” Digital twin systems also provide the energy sector a comprehensive method of stress-testing important assets in relation to emergency weather-related scenarios.

Digital Twin Technology in Mobility

Digital twin systems are uniquely positioned to meet the complex needs of the mobility and transportation sector. Mobility and transportation drive the global economy, and digital twin technology can be essential to maximizing efficiency and reducing wasted resources.

Digital Twin Technology in Smart Places

Digital twin adoption continues to change the game in smart places. Digital twin systems can be instrumental in creating and monitoring entire smart cities, but they can also be essential in more microenvironments like smart homes. One research team is currently looking at improving the daily lives of elderly and frail people through the use of digital twin-powered smart homes.

Key Benefits of IoT Digital Twins

It’s established that digital twin technology can be essential in almost all sectors. Integrating a digital twin system in your environment can provide the following key benefits:

  • Reduce time to market
  • Increase sustainability efforts
  • Improve product quality & overall customer satisfaction
  • Minimize supply chain complexity
  • Enable new business models
  • Streamline operations
  • Increase productivity

If you’re interested in learning how a digital twin can elevate your operation to the next level of industry 4.0, our knowledgeable team of Applications Engineers can assist. Experts in IoT, IIoT, and wireless technologies, our Applications Engineers can advise you on the digital twin system that is optimal for your use case. Consultation is free and available throughout your design cycle. Contact Symmetry Electronics today!

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Jari Haiston in Blogs on October 31, 2022

About Jari Haiston

Jari Haiston is part of the growing digital marketing team at Symmetry Electronics. Jari comes from a background in technical writing and event coordination. In her current role, she specializes in content creation and social media management. Jari's focus as a writer is to create interesting content that is accessible to any audience.

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