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The digital twin represents the digital design of physical objects or processes. The digital twin can co-exist with the physical process, being used in the processes of quality verification and production scaling, these stages being simulated and tested to verify their feasibility before the actual implementation. Although more difficult to achieve, the digital twin can be a digital copy of a project that has not been implemented, made for the same purpose to verify the viability of the project before implementation. Digital copying can correct errors in the production line, check product prototypes and design production lines entirely in the digital space.
Digital twin is a concept generally applicable in the product development process, the services implying a high degree of intangibility. In addition, services are already showing digitized processes, unconsciously using a beta version (a pre-existing version) of the digital twin concept. However, the adoption of new technologies and the degree of digitization in the service industry is about 50.5%, making it possible to expand the introduction of new technology capabilities. For example, for certain services the digital twin can be introduced at the level of the service delivery process, thus simulating, testing and analysing processes such as: customer service exposure, customer first interaction with the service, customer service delivery method, monetization of the service in relation to the client, etc. The digital model can also simulate actions such as transporting a product to the customer and how he uses it.
Digital twin is already present in a multitude of industries such as: pharmaceuticals (Gilead), automobiles (Volkswagen, Fiat-Chrysler, Tesla), electronics (Siemens, Phillips, Bosch), electricity production (General Electric), technology (Microsoft , Cisco, Oracle). In the case of Siemens, the company owns a factory that has a digital copy that is identical in all respects. All physical processes performed at the production line are, at the same time, processed using a central computer. This allows the company to identify with the help of simulations production line problems or maybe scale production by redesigning the production line using first the digital twin and then the actual implementation. Before the adoption of the digital twin, in order for the production line to be scaled, restructured or redesigned, it was necessary to stop the activity so that specialists could understand how the parts of the production line could be assembled efficiently. The digital twin model also takes into account the productivity of workers, their number and their efficient positioning within the production line. This allowed Siemens to have a defect rate of less than 0.002% and a 75% automatic production.
In the context of the exponential development of technology, the integrability and cooperation of different technological models is essential to ensure the success of a given technological model. The digital twin concept can be used in cooperation or integrated with 3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), cloud processing methods, robotic systems, machine learning or digital commerce. The estimated economic value of AI technologies for the next 20 years is over EUR 4 trillion, with a major impact on marketing, management and supply chain operations. It can be deduced that the digital twin will make a major contribution in the future to the creation of economic value by the entrepreneurial environment, with over EUR 3.5 billion already invested in the development of this technology, with the expectation that investments will reach over EUR 30 billion in the next five years.
The use of digital twin will be a trend in strategic planning for public and private institutions. The emergence of the digital economy requires the development of an information infrastructure so that all physical processes can be designed in the digital environment. The concept that can create this information infrastructure is the digital twin model. In this regard, Singapore has developed a virtual model (based on the digital twin concept) of the whole city for the purpose of urban planning, preparing the city in case of disasters and solving the high degree of traffic congestion. To improve New York’s transportation systems, the government decided to initiate and build a digital replica of the entire American city. In this way, engineers already use the digital design of the road network to check the integrity of roads or underground rail networks.
In addition to the advantages in the digital and industrial fields, digital twins can revolutionize the processes in the medical field, from routine control to heart operations. Digital design of the circulatory system is possible with the help of digital twin technology, the data transmitted through this digital design including information on blood circulation in the heart, volume propelled by contraction, blood oxygenation level, etc. At the same time, with the help of the virtual model, virtual hearts can be designed that can be used by doctors to diagnose certain diseases or to test the effectiveness of a treatment before its application.
In the case of digital twin technology, the biggest challenges are attributed to cyber security. The evolution of the digital information environment mainly creates more and more security breaches, vulnerable to viruses or cyber attacks.
All areas and segments of consumers will benefit from the implementation of the digital twin model, but it is unrealistic to say that in the current context all businesses in the business environment will be able to use the digital twin model for rapid business scaling. In general, large companies and platforms such as Apple, Spotify, Microsoft, Amazon, Alibaba or Samsung will be able to take full advantage of the emergence of the digital economy and new technologies, but due to the high adaptability of these economies, good practices regarding the implementation new technologies can be customized and integrated at the level of smaller businesses.
About the author:
Junior Business Consultant
Daniel is pursuing a BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) program at the University of Bucharest. Within Idea Perpetua, Daniel implements projects in Consulting in Entrepreneurship, Consulting in Digital Innovation and Consulting in Investments. At the same time, Daniel is oriented towards solving the problems of entrepreneurs and start-ups through a creative, innovative and efficient approach aimed at optimizing systems, automating processes, validating and scaling business models.
Published: 2020-05-14 14:00:32