Digital twin technology is an emerging concept that is bringing the world of IoT and Internet of Things (IoT) to a whole new level. While IoT connects things (sensors, actuators, devices, machines etc.) to the internet, digital twin technology creates a virtual mirror image of these physical assets.
A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical object. If a unit is built in the real world, it can be mirrored virtually. The physical and virtual aspects will be identical to each other and they are synchronized in real time.
The term “digital twin” was first used at NASA in 2002. A digital twin is an evolving concept that can be applied in many ways: from making smart cities more sustainable and effective to designing personalized medicine for patients or training surgeons for complex operations without putting patients at risk.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become synonymous with the use of sensors to collect data and connect devices to the internet. The term digital twin has been around for a while, but is gaining renewed interest, especially in light of the IoT.
Digital twin is a concept that is also called digital twin technology, virtual twins or digital replica. A digital twin is a virtual model of a physical asset or system which is used for various purposes. The idea of having a digital representation of objects in the physical world dates back several decades and was initially used in manufacturing and product design, but it has become relevant again with the massive amounts of data that are being generated by connected devices as part of IoT implementations.
The idea behind creating digital twins is to use real-time information from sensors to understand how products, processes or systems behave and interact with their environment, so we can predict how they will likely behave in future situations by using simulated models.
In this blog post I am going to explore how digital twin technology fits within an IoT context and what its implications are for businesses that are looking to adopt IoT solutions.
Many people think the internet of things is a very new concept. It is not. The term internet of things was coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, co-founder of MIT’s Auto-ID Center. The internet of things (IoT) is based on the convergence of unconnected devices with wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and the internet. This is the basic idea for the digital twin technology.
What is a digital twin?
A digital twin is a software representation of a physical object or system across its lifecycle that relies on sensor data from IoT devices and other sources. A digital twin allows to visualize, control and optimize its performance in real-time or in a specific timeframe, such as history or prediction.
The concept of digital twins first appeared at NASA in 2002, but it didn’t get much attention until 2013 when Gartner added it to their list of top strategic technology trends. In 2016, GE Digital announced the launch of Predix, a cloud-based platform for building industrial IoT applications and analytics. The platform includes an app store with industrial apps that implement digital twins.
Digital Twin goes far beyond the Internet of Things (IoT) and is a much more direct connection of virtual and real world. The idea and concept of the Digital Twin was first introduced by Michael Grieves in 2002 at the University of Michigan. Since then there have been many different interpretations of the term Digital Twin, and even more so recently as it has become a hot topic in many industries.
The concept of the Digital Twin is to create a digital representation of a physical object or process that can be used for various purposes. The Digital Twin is not limited to being “just” a 3D model, but can contain all relevant information about the object or process it represents, such as performance data, maintenance needs, failure modes, conditions, etc.
Digital Twins are not new per se: we have had virtual models and simulations for decades. What makes digital twins different from traditional simulations? What’s new and interesting about them? How do they relate to existing technologies such as IoT?
Internet of Things (IoT) and digital twins are the two most important technology-enabling concepts that are transforming industries. We have talked a lot about how IoT is changing the way we live and do businesses. But what is digital twin? The term was coined by Dr. Michael Grieves in 2003, who defined it as a dynamic software model of a physical thing or system that relies on sensor data from the physical world to understand its state and respond to changes.
Digital twin can be defined as, “a virtual image or model of a real-world object or process, capable of being used for various purposes including understanding and optimizing performance and maintenance.” Simply put, a digital twin is an amalgamation of sensors and software which captures data about a machine’s conditions in real time, using that data to run simulations which analyze the machine’s performance, predict future behavior, identify potential problems before they happen and even determine optimal operating parameters.
You can think of digital twin as a sort of virtual clone of your equipment that lives in the cloud. It contains all of the same properties as your equipment, but also has the capability to incorporate new information in real-time. This allows you to conduct experiments and make predictions without putting your actual operations at risk.
Digital Twin technology is concerned with the development of digital replica of physical assets, processes and systems that can be used for various purposes. The digital twin concept is defined in an ISO standard (ISO/TS 18417) as “a digital representation of a physical object or system across its life cycle”.
The concept of the Digital Twin has become popular in recent years and it is increasingly being used in several domains such as manufacturing, healthcare, asset management, energy, transport and logistics. In manufacturing, the concept of the Digital Twin has been promoted by GE who refer to it as the “Digital Twin of a machine” (DTm). The DTm concept is described by GE as follows:
The Digital Twin begins with capturing design data from computer-aided design (CAD) files to create a virtual model. During production, sensor data is streamed from the physical machine to continuously validate and improve the virtual model. After production, sensor data along with real-time data from other sources like operating conditions, maintenance history and service logs are used to make the virtual model smarter. Applications built on top of this platform use these models to deliver their respective capabilities such as performance monitoring, prognostics and diagnostics and fleet optimization.
It seems that everywhere we go these days, we hear the term Internet of Things (IoT). In fact, I read the other day that there are about 23.14 billion IoT devices connected to the web today and that number is expected to more than double by the year 2020.
So, what is it? The Internet of Things, or IoT for short, refers to a network of physical objects, called ‘things’, that have internet connectivity so they can send and receive data. What this means is that we can give these things computer vision, artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities so they can think for themselves. They can learn about their environment and react to changes in real-time.
The concept of IoT has been around for some time now. However, with technologies like 5G networks on the horizon and edge computing becoming more mainstream, we are now seeing IoT innovations happening at a rapid pace.