Digital Twins in 2021: 15 Amazing Examples

Digital Twins in 2021: 15 Amazing Examples

The concept of digital twin is not new. The technology has been around since the 1960s. NASA has been physically creating duplicate systems for its various space missions at ground level, to test its equipment in a virtual environment. An example of this is Apollo 13, for which a digital twin was developed by NASA to assess and simulate conditions on board.

In the recent past, digital twin has become one of the most promising technological trends. It is estimated that the global Digital Twin technology will reach $48.2 billion by 2026, from $3.1 billion in 2020 and estimated to grow at a rate of 58% between 2021 and 2026

A digital twin is a digital representation of a physical object, process, or service. A digital twin can be a digital replica of an object in the physical world, such as a jet engine, wind farms, or even larger items such as buildings, or whole cities. This twin technology is used to replicate processes to collect data and predict the performance.

With the rising internet penetration coupled with the proliferation of smartphones and the advent of advanced technologies such as VR, AR, AI, machine language, deep learning, and blockchain is driving the market growth of Digital Twins as a technology. It is helping to reduce the time to market, increase operational efficiency, and improve product lifecycle for various end-use segments such as healthcare, automotive, and aerospace.

“By incorporating digital twin technology with our wearables that are equipped with embedded AI, we’re able to build our products to their fullest potential, pioneering this new innovative method of preventative safety.”

- Ognjen (Ogi) Grba, CEO — Connect Up Technologies

Below are some amazing examples of how the digital twin technology is being used:

Use Case 1 — Automotive

Use Case 2 — Autonomous Vehicles

Use Case 3 — Quality Management

Use Case 4 — System Planning/Virtual Start-up

Use Case 5 — Logistics Planning

Use Case 6 — Product Development

Use Case 7 — Disaster Management

Use Case 8 — Aviation

Another digital twin use case that is being explored in the airline/defense industry is to achieve a perfect cargo load balance. For example, a Boeing 737 has a maximum cargo load of 80,000 kilograms but many planes fly with less cargo than this as weight figures are calculated manually. By using IoT sensors on a digital twin, a precise and yet safe cargo load can be determined increasing cargo revenue per flight.

Use Case 9 — CPG

Use Case 10 — Healthcare

Use Case 11 — Insurance

Use Case 12 — Smart Cities

Use Case 13 — Car Racing

Use Case 14 — Space Optimization

Use Case 15 — Wearables

“Digital Twins as a technology can transform the way the world functions. When we can dream and imagine of innovative and efficient ways to apply this technology, the possibilities are endless. “

-Asokan Ashok, CEO — UnfoldLabs Inc

The Benefits of Using Digital Twins

With the help of a digital twin, companies can test and validate a product even before it comes into existence. By creating a replica of the planned production process, it enables engineers to identify any process failures before the product goes into production. Engineers can disrupt the system to synthesize unexpected scenarios, examine the system’s reaction, and identify corresponding mitigation strategies. This new capability improves risk assessment, accelerates the development of new products, and enhances the production line’s reliability.

2. Predictive Maintenance

Since a digital twin system’s IoT sensors generate big data in real-time, businesses can analyze their data to proactively identify any problems within the system. This ability enables businesses to schedule predictive maintenance more accurately, thus improving production line efficiency and lowering maintenance costs.

3. Real-time Remote Monitoring

It is often very difficult or even impossible to get a real-time, in-depth view of a large physical system. However, a digital twin can be accessed anywhere, enabling users to monitor and control the system performance remotely.

4. Better-Team Collaboration

Process automation and 24×7 access to system information allows technicians to focus more on inter-team collaboration, which leads to improved productivity and operational efficiency.

5. Better Financial Decision-Making

A virtual representation of a physical object can integrate financial data, such as the cost of materials and labor. The availability of a large amount of real-time data and advanced analytics enables businesses to make better and faster decisions about whether adjustments to a manufacturing value chain are financially sound.

Facing New Security Challenges

As digital twins are usually based in the cloud and don’t require physical infrastructure, the associated security risks are somewhat lower than with other types of systems. However, the massive amounts of data being collected and utilized is drawn from numerous endpoints, each of which represents a potential area of weakness. It’s estimated that 75% of digital twins will be integrated with at least five endpoints by 2023, and a time is coming when visualizing complex systems may require the linking of multiple digital twins.

Every time a new connection is made and more data flows between devices and the cloud, the potential risk for compromise increases. Therefore, businesses considering digital twin technology must be careful not to rush into adoption without assessing and updating current security protocols

My Thoughts on Digital Twins in 2021

Therefore, in the future almost every manufactured product could have its own digital twin if it is generating data that can be captured and analyzed. This concept is known as a `digital triplet` and will represent the next stage of evolution of the digital twin. For example, instead of Boeing having just one digital twin of a new aircraft for development purposes, the company will have a unique digital model for every aircraft it makes. These individual models can be fed information from connected sensors in real time, and AI analysis can be applied to make real time predictions about the product life cycle, predictive maintenance etc.

Going forward human beings will also have their own digital triplets, which will collect real-time information from wearables and can contain a user`s unique genetic code and using this information in theory every person on the planet could receive extremely individualized yet cost effective medical treatment. It is just a few years away !!

This post was written by Asokan Ashok, the CEO of UnfoldLabs. Ashok is an expert in driving customer insights into thriving businesses and commercializing products for scale. As a leading strategist in the technology industry, he is great at recommending strategies to address technology & market trends. Highly analytical and an industry visionary, Ashok is a sought after global high-tech industry thought leader and trusted strategic advisor by companies.

For any comments or discussions, please feel free to reach out to Ashok or UnfoldLabs at “marketing-at-unfoldlabs-dot-com”

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