The Financial Express

Digital Twin technology: What and how?

| Updated: January 09, 2023 17:20:01

Digital Twin technology: What and how?

'Digital twin' is one of the most frequently used technological terms nowadays -- a virtual model of a physical object or system that simulates its characteristics and behaviours. It is created by integrating data from multiple sources, including sensors, software, and other systems, and using advanced data analytics and machine learning algorithms. 

Digital twins are revolutionising many industries, like manufacturing, healthcare, and energy, through efficiency, cost optimisation, and easing innovation.

Digital twins are the new prototypes used to text and validate new tech and processes before implementing them in the physical world. It saves time and resources, making the whole process risk-free and efficient.

For efficiency purposes, the manufacturing industry is the largest adopter of digital twins, followed by the energy and utilities industry. Data reveals 75 per cent of the companies that adopted digital twins have reported increased efficiency, while more than 60 per cent reported cost-saving and improved decision-making.

Moreover, digital twins are paying a high return on investment, more than 200 per cent, according to many studies. This has led to huge industry growth as the global digital twin market is expected to reach USD 16.5 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 35.1 per cent.

Digital twins can also be used to monitor and analyse the performance of physical systems in real-time, helping organisations to identify problems or anomalies as they occur and take corrective action. This technology can optimise physical systems' performance, helping organisations ensure operations at maximum efficiency and reliability.

There are also potential applications for digital twins in urban planning and disaster response. For instance, urban planning authorities can test their development plans by simulating them on a digital twin of a city and identify the problems to implement them effectively. 

In times of emergency, such as a flood or earthquake, digital twins could be used to simulate the impact of different emergency response scenarios, helping emergency responders to make more informed decisions and optimise their efforts.

Privacy and other issues

One major challenge regarding digital twin technology is that the smallest of mistakes in the data used to create and update digital twins can lead to flawed simulations and potentially costly mistakes. Indeed cost is another major challenge. While it will effectively optimise cost, preparing it is really expensive.

And like every other groundbreaking technology, the digital twin has privacy issues too. It can involve sensitive individual or company data during integration. Also, there is always the risk of third-party hacking into the system. If it happens, sensitive information can be spread to the wrong people and misused. 

Digital twin, without a shed of doubt, is a powerful and efficient technology that can boost the goals of Industry 4.0 and push it to the next level. All that needs to be ensured are data accuracy, privacy and ethical implementation.

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