More accessible than you think
A Digital Twin is the digital equivalent of a physical product or process. This technological marvel is designed to improve understanding of the physical world, make predictions about the physical world and gain new insights. The simulations are based on real data collected primarily by IoT sensors, CAD data and/or various APIs. Technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Augmented Reality (AR) make this possible. Digital Twin originated from NASA, where it is still being used to test rockets before sending them into space.
In light of the origin and the science-fiction factor, many companies are doubtful about potential uses in their situation. Below are a selection of current myths and our views on them:
A Digital Twin is mainly useful in an industrial setting.
False. There are hundreds of possibilities – large or small, expensive or budget-friendly. We give some examples in the second part of this blog post.
A Digital Twin is very expensive.
This does not need to be the case. You can start small and work forward. You can begin with a small department or project and then scale up to the entire company. In many cases, the existing infrastructure is enough to get started. Many companies have a 2D drawing of a product or a production line, so the data is already available.
A Digital Twin project takes several years.
True: Long life, easy to expand according to future needs.
False: Can be done in phases, scalable, future-oriented.
Digital Twin requires all kinds of new technologies.
True: Data is the core, so you need to have it and collect it properly. Obviously, with more sensors you get more data.
False: A lot of information is already available, and a Digital Twin can be built up incrementally.
It's certainly possible to start small. What you want to do with a Digital Twin doesn't have to be revolutionary; it can also create added value in your everyday activities. Here we give two examples.
Suppose you are a marketer and are organizing an event. You don't know anything about electricity, but you need to make sure that the food truck you hired is properly connected to the power grid. In this situation, you often call on the facility manager. If you have a Digital Twin of the building, you can view it on your smartphone. By pointing your camera at the power sockets, you can see immediately which ones are suitable for the food truck.
Or suppose you are fire safety inspector. Using a Digital Twin, you can walk around in a building and aim your tablet's camera at equipment that isn't in order. You can then simply touch the image to generate a message. The person who has to sort this out knows exactly where they need to be, and miscommunication is a thing of the past.
Technopolis has specific plans for this. They want to have an energy-neutral building with smart building functions by 2030. A Digital Twin will support them in this. It allows them to set up exhibitions digitally to see if everything is right, for example in terms of safety.