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What is digital twin? – Part 1

What is digital twin?
Virtual representation of real world item or process.

Digital twin platform enables us to actually collect this data, process it, provide insights and then enable us to take some actions based on the data. More specifically take proactive measures instead of reactive measures. General its used for items but we can also use it for processes. I will explain on how we can use digital twin for processes.

What are types of Twin?

  1. Digital Model/Simulator: Here we manually feed data into a existing model to see its results. If we have seen the movie ‘Day After Tomorrow’, the scientist inputs data from various locations in the existing model and can predict what the world would go through in next few days.  
  2. Digital Shadow: Here real world devices/sensors send IOT data to virtual platform. Lets assume we have a physical car and a wheels in your car has a sensor wheel which is sending data to the a cloud based digital twin wheel (Virtual representation of car). This will help understand when your car tires needs to be replaced or repaired. A real life example is Michelin Fleet Solutions.
  3. Digital Twin: Here we have 2 way data sync from sensor to the digital twin and may receive some action based on input provided. Example here is where we have a multistory warehouse which has sensor on all most critical components, water supply, electricity circuit, elevators, co2 level, AC etc. Based on feedback of the sensors, temperature(Cold storage) in one section of the warehouse is different and other section(Meeting room).

Typical Digital Twin functions

  1. Visualize current state of item or process
  2. Trigger alerts under certain conditions
  3. Review historic data
  4. Simulate scenarios

Few Benefits:

  • Helps save money incase we go live/production with a major defects or avoid downtime at all.
  • Learn from past scenarios.
  • Help increase safer work environment.
  • Increase Quality / efficiency / life of the products/organization.

How are digital twin used in real world?

As I have already shared, Michelin Fleet Solutions now sells kilometers instead of tyres to make profit and sensor in wheel of car is sending data to the a cloud based digital twin wheel (Virtual representation of car).This will help understand when your car tires needs to be replaced or repaired. Also they provide feedback to customer on which routes to take and what time to travel to avoid reduce lifespan of the wheels.

Another example is where a supermarket monitors all the customers as to which section they visit most, which is most visible section for adds, how many people buy what kind of items from check out counters, etc. This helps them to place new products / high margin products in that area with high footprint and also plan a longer exit path so because physiologically, the more time a person spends in the store, the more he would purchase.

Origins of digital twin
John Vickers who was Principal technologies invented the word digital twin back in 2010.
Michael Grieves then worked with Vickers to create digital twin of few real life items. It got boost after IOT growth accelerated.

One of the best example is Digital Twin Victoria(Australia)

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