According to research and advisory firm Gartner, 48% of organisations that are implementing the Internet of Things (IoT) said they are already using, or plan to use digital twins (virtual representations of real objects) in 2018.
Gartner says that by 2020, at least 50% of manufacturers with annual revenues of over US$5 billion will have at least one digital twin initiative launched for either products or assets. The number of organisations using digital twins is expected to triple by 2022.
“There is an increasing interest and investment in digital twins and their promise is certainly compelling but creating and maintaining digital twins is not for the faint hearted,” said Alexander Hoeppe, research director at Gartner. “However, by structuring and executing digital twin initiatives appropriately, CIOs can address the key challenges they pose.”
Gartner has identified four ways to tackle some of the top challenges posed by digital twins.
1- Involve the entire product value chain as this will allow digital twins to help alleviate some key supply chain challenges. These investments should be made value chain driven to enable product and asset stakeholders to govern and manage products, or assets like industrial machinery, facilities across their supply chain in much more structured ways.
2- Establish well documented practices for constructing and modifying the models as modelling practices increase transparency of complex digital twin designs and make it easier for multiple digital twin users to collaboratively construct and modify digital twins.
3- Include data from multiple sources as it is difficult to anticipate the nature of the simulation models, data types and data analysis of sensor data that might be necessary to support the design, introduction and service life of the digital twins’ physical counterparts.
4- Ensure long access life cycles as the life cycles of these digital twins extend beyond the life spans of the formats for proprietary design software that most likely were used to create them and the means of storing data.
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