Digital twins are entering mainstream use, according to research from Gartner.
The research and advisory firm found that three in four organisations implementing Internet of Things (IoT) projects already use digital twins or plan to do so.
A digital twin is a virtual model of a process, product or service. It connects the physical and digital worlds, with real-time data analysed and simulated in a virtual copy of the assets. This can help to understand, predict and optimise performance.
While only 13% of organisations surveyed by Gartner said they are now using digital twins, another 62% are either in the process of establishing the technology or plan to do so in the next year.
“The results – especially when compared with past surveys – show that digital twins are slowly entering mainstream use,” commented Benoit Lheureux, research vice president at Gartner. “We predicted that by 2022, over two-thirds of companies that have implemented IoT will have deployed at least one digital twin in production. We might actually reach that number within a year.”
Digital twins often serve multiple purposes both inside and outside the enterprise, Gartner found.
For example, a connected car digital twin may be used by the manufacturer, a customer service provider and the insurance company, each with a need for different IoT data.
“Designers of digital twins should keep in mind that they will probably need to accommodate multiple data consumers and provide appropriate data access points,” Lheureux said.
The research also showed that digital twins are increasingly being deployed in conjunction with other digital twins for related assets or equipment.
True integration is still relatively complicated, but the ability to integrate digital twins with each other will be a differentiating factor in the future, as physical assets and equipment evolve, Lheureux concluded.
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