What is a digital twin and what does it mean for your business?

AR/VR/MR AR , Training , Research , Automotive , Design , Marketing , speaker 2018 , Service & Maintenance

One of the cutting-edge technologies that is bringing significant value to the enterprise is the Digital Twin. Much has been alluded to the concept, but this year, DIGILITY 2018 will offer its visitors the opportunity to learn how their own businesses can benefit. Today, we want to introduce the Digital Twin basics, so you will be ready to learn more at the event next week when Sudanshu Kapoor, Augmented Reality Director of Sales at PTC, explains how the Digital Twin Can be Transformed into Reality.

Introduction to Digital Twin
Firstly, what exactly is a digital twin? A digital twin is comprised of two components – the digital definition of the product and the physical experience of the product in the field such as environmental conditions or performance data. Without the physical information, all you have is a digital sibling – not a true digital twin. Leveraging both the digital definition and physical experience of a product has a multiplier effect throughout the company.

Multiple Views of Digital Twin
Traditionally speaking, a company develops, produces and sells a product, but has had no way to gain insight into the operational performance of that product and certainly not in real time. Feedback has been limited to customer service portals or hotline complaints. What’s lacking is information about the product’s actual operational performance.

This business problem is being solved by organizations as they digitalize their physical systems in the outside world. Specifically, digital twins bridge the gap in the product lifecycle and add value to stakeholders across the organization via information gleaned through IoT, data analytics, cloud computing and AR. Real business benefits from digital twins range from lowering prototyping costs at the design stage to streamlining service requirements in service operations in the field.

Which Use Cases Drive the Business Value for Digital Twins?
Through a variety of embedded sensors, connectivity mechanisms and data analytics, connected products with cloud-based remote monitoring applications are the primary IoT architecture for digital twins. Remote monitoring enables a virtual representation of a physical product in real-time during operation in the field.

This application lets our “voiceless” products tell us everything we need to know to quickly gain real business value across the enterprise. Stakeholders who can instantly benefit include:

  • Design: Product designers, architects and engineers using CAD software improve future renditions and engineering models to optimize product performance and efficiency. This real-time operational data saves design and testing costs in prototyping.
  • Field Services/Technicians: Preemptive product malfunctioning alerts through prescriptive analytics increase ‘problem area’ visibility while reducing equipment downtime, routine inspections and maintenance costs. Digital information can be virtually displayed through AR glasses or tablets onto the physical product to simplify product service and repair.
  • Management: New operational data feeds into production and planning models, dictating pivotal strategic insights, recommendations and roadmaps.
  • Marketing & Sales: Knowledge of customer preferences and actual usage of a product makes it possible to accurately tailor messaging to help drive revenue.
  • Product Managers: Improved product insights accelerates time-to-market.

Which Markets Stand to Gain the Most Value from Digital Twins?
Any industry with products, devices and other systems deployed outside of company walls stands to reap the benefits of digital twins. However, the costs of these deployed products varies and high-end products will benefit the most from digital twins. Because high-end connected products usually play mission-critical roles, they must perform consistently and cannot afford to malfunction.

Examples of value come from industrial markets:

  • Automotive: Vehicle sensor data gives automotive OEMs and tier suppliers analytics from deployed fleets enabling OTA patching opportunities. Insurance providers adopting usage-based insurance (UBI) can leverage driver data for setting premiums and accident reconstruction.
  • Aerospace: A commercial plane’s thousands of sensors stream asset data for better system servicing and operational status.
  • Healthcare: Connected medical systems and devices ensure product integrity and measure patient outcomes.
  • Manufacturing: Connected digital factory machinery increases uptime and production yield, while reducing repair and maintenance rates.
  • Oil & Gas: Remote rigs send condition data limiting routine inspections and servicing.
  • Rail: Insight into deployed locomotives and their condition enables optimized scheduling and reduces fall out and maintenance time.
  • Utilities: Digital representation of systems on a power grid improve demand response functions and energy efficiency. 

Final Thoughts
Enabling transparency across an organization by converging the digital and physical worlds is becoming increasingly necessary as more and more products shift to the ‘as-a-service’ model. True digital transformation and the final link of the digital thread is enabled through the advent and adoption of the digital twin.

It is possible to significantly lower the cost of a product from the design stage through to servicing operations when stakeholders are given product performance data. Determining tangible business value and ROI of digital twin implementation is done through clearly identifying winning use cases and obtaining development support of trusted technology partners.

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With more than 1.400 attendees and 75 international speakers, last year’s DIGILITY established as a thriving and vibrant business platform for all enthusiasts for Digital Reality. On 26/27th of September 2018, we are inviting you once again to Cologne! Whether we talk about virtual worlds, augmented features, ethical challenges, artificial intelligence or 3D - we are facing new realities and new technologies. We face new demands and thereby new business opportunities. We face: DIGILITY again! With an amazing lineup of speakers and a 2000 sqm expo area, we offer THE real platform for everyone who wants to shape the future. 

Get more information on DIGILITY 2018 and register for your ticket now at www.digility.de.