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What is a Digital Twin?

A digital twin is a digital representation of a physical asset, process or system, as well as the engineering information that allows us to understand and model its performance.

Typically, a digital twin can be continuously synchronized from multiple sources, including sensors and continuous surveying, to represent its near real-time status, working condition or position.

A digital twin enables you to visualize the asset, check status, perform analysis and generate insights in order to predict and optimize asset performance.

Why Build a Digital Twin?

Digital models of as-built facilities rarely accurately represent the brick/mortar reality without having an efficient, cost-effective way to improve the accuracy of the as-built digital models. Keeping pace with changes in drawings/models is a never-ending challenge. Warranty/commissioning information is often managed with an ad-hoc, Windows file share, etc systems. Installation facility managers do not typically use BIM authoring tools, so they cannot make good use of electronic BIM files.

In certain cases, applications such as Navigator, i-Models, Navisworks not widely using Cyber security is a major hurdle to adopting technology. For instance, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) has time-intensive processes to review/approve any software for use on their networks. Commercial Cloud requires FedRAMP certification both for the provider (e.g. MS Azure) and application (e.g. ProjectWise) at base/installation level. Condition-based/Reliability-centered maintenance is still not a reality at most DoD installations. It is still a mix of run-to-fail, and manufacturer's recommended maintenance programs. A centralized investment strategy for all Services is based on infrastructure condition and mission dependency. None of the Services has a fully mature enterprise asset management system. They rely on multiple/disparate systems, not easily integrated.

The digital twin offers solutions to these challenges. The digital twin can help you:

  • Ensure digital models represent reality
  • Keep pace with changes in drawings and models
  • Manage information across multiple systems
  • Optimize asset performance

Digital Twin Benefits

  • Better Insights - Digital twins provide value based on indicators such as status data on an asset (motor), the asset usage data, and can simulate the asset behavior and impacts on the asset when incorporating different factors and scenarios. These insights help companies rethink business/financial models, and use the data to create new ways to measure customer lifetime value or determine ways to add more value to both the customer and the enterprise. More accurate customer value models lead ultimately, to more revenue from either differentiated equipment sold or new service and maintenance approaches.
  • Better Decisions - Digital twin data can help companies examine how to increase revenue per customer or lower equipment operating costs by allowing them to make better asset decisions. They can also use relevant contextual and asset data to analyze the enterprise stakeholder within the context of the equipment.
  • New Products - Monetization of models in this framework center around selling data, selling digital twin models, or selling services enabled by the digital twins. Companies can help re-evaluate customer capital and operating expenditure decisions by using digital twin data and information to identify new business opportunities. Digital twin data can also help with existing assets; for example, new owners of assets want to know about their assets' history of modifications, maintenance, etc.