The convergence of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and big data is driving the adoption of digital twins across industries to build products, monitor assets, optimize maintenance, and reduce downtime, says GlobalData.
Kiran Raj, Principal Disruptive Tech Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The digital twin technology has gained a lot of traction in the last few years due to accelerated digitalization across industries. It has become more valuable during the COVID-19 pandemic to help companies navigate the crisis. Startups have the capacity to provide off-the-shelf and bespoke digital twin solutions that enterprises in various industries such as construction, oil & gas, automotive and healthcare can quickly integrate into their business operations.”
The Innovation Explorer Database of GlobalData’s Disruptor Intelligence Center uncovers how various industries are taking advantage of the technology.
Digital twins are being used to simulate the impact of operational, environmental and financial data on large scale construction projects. This is enabling construction companies to assess the performance of relevant infrastructure in real-time and adjust operations to optimize efficiency. US startup Cityzenith developed a digital twin platform ‘SmartWorldPro’ to create a virtual replica of buildings and infrastructure to help clients design, develop and run projects at any scale.
Oil & Gas
Oil & gas companies can leverage digital twins to see how a process or system is working in an offshore environment by creating analytical and predictive models. Norway’s Kongsberg has developed a dynamic digital twin platform that allows users to explore assets, both offshore and onshore, in a virtual context. It combines real-time sensor, historical and business data to virtually simulate various operational scenarios that can help oil & gas companies to optimize performance of assets as well as reduce downtime.
In addition to designing virtual replicas of new car models to identify potential problems, automakers are using digital twins to improve the lifetime of electric vehicle (EV) batteries. German startup Twaice creates digital twins of EV batteries to help users predict battery life and maintenance issues by monitoring the usage of batteries in real-time. The insights also help original equipment manufacturers and EV makers to extend the service life of lithium-ion batteries.
Healthcare startups are offering tools to create a digital twin of the human body and its organs to study the impact of drugs. The technology can help hospitals to optimally use medical equipment for critical patients. US startup OnScale has created patient-specific digital twins of lungs that can predict oxygen and blood flow in a patient’s lungs. This helps physicians to optimize the use of ventilators for COVID-19 patients.
Mr Raj concludes: “The future of the digital twin technology looks bright in many industries, especially in the industry 4.0 set up where the impact of a product can be assessed before it is manufactured. But increased reliance on it to aggregate massive data from sensors may make it vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Enterprises with advanced threat mitigation strategies can unlock the true potential of digital twins to enhance agility and innovation.”