What Is Digital Twin Technology – And Why Is It So Important? – Forbes
While the concept of a digital twin has been around since 2002, itâs only thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) that it has become cost-effective to implement. And, it is so imperative to business today, it was named one of Gartnerâs Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017.
Quite simply, a digital twin is a virtual model of a process, product, or service. This pairing of the virtual and physical worlds allows analysis of data and monitoring of systems to head off problems before they even occur, prevent down time, develop new opportunities, and even plan for the future by using simulations.
Thomas Kaiser, SAP Senior Vice President of IoT, put it this way: âDigital twins are becoming a business imperative, covering the entire lifecycle of an asset or process and forming the foundation for connected products and services. Companies that fail to respond will be left behind.â
How does a digital twin work?
Think of a digital twin as a bridge between the physical and digital world.
First, smart components that use sensors to gather data about real-time status, working condition, or position are integrated with a physical item. The components are connected to a cloud-based system that receives and processes all the data the sensors monitor. This input is analyzed against business and other contextual data.
Lessons are learned and opportunities are uncovered within the virtual environment that can be applied to the physical world â ultimately to transform your business.
Pairing technology pioneered in aerospace
NASA was the first to dabble with pairing technology â the precursor to todayâs digital twin â as far back as the early days of space exploration.
How do you operate, maintain, or repair systems when you arenât within physical proximity to them? That was the challenge NASAâs research department had to face when developing systems that would travel beyond the ability to see or monitor physically. And when disaster struck Apollo 13, it was the innovation of mirrored systems still on earth that allowed engineers and astronauts to determine how they could rescue the mission. Today, NASA uses digital twins to develop new recommendations, roadmaps, and next-generation vehicles and aircraft.