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What is a digital twin and what are its benefits

‘Digital twin’ has burst into our vocabulary at such a speed that today it almost seems ubiquitous. But what exactly is it? And what are the benefits of having one?

What is a digital twin?

A digital twin is a virtual replica of a physical object or process. A combination of data (from sensors and/or other systems) and artificial intelligence can allow the digital twin to simulate the performance and behavior of its ‘real life’ counterpart.

The use of digital twins began in industries where the product design and testing process was complex and detail-oriented, and any mistakes extremely costly (such as Formula One race cars and spacecraft design). Digital twins allowed designers and decision makers to experiment in the pursuit of a best-in-class outcome before committing to production. The digital twin shows how the real product would work in different environments, allowing improvements to be made and errors addressed before a ‘perfect’ physical prototype is built.

What are the benefits of digital twin technology?

Today, digital twins are driving innovation across a huge range of private and public initiatives and offer significant benefits for enterprises and governments. See below for examples.

Better decision-making

Digital twins allow for better decision-making and support problem solving through extensive virtual simulations.

Greater efficiency

Digital twins allow organizations to optimize operations and performance of assets. They also improve efficiency.

Lower costs

Using digital twins enables organizations to explore ways to save energy and time, and reduce waste.

Stronger risk management

Risks and safety hazards can be identified in a virtual environment thanks to digital twins.

Investment in digital twin projects is booming across multiple sectors. A report by Capgemini found that investment by aerospace and defense companies increased by 40% in the past 12 months – of the 150 companies questioned, 80% already had a digital twin program. On a national level, digital twins of cities are being used to support decision-making in a wide range of areas including urban planning, transport, waste management, and energy consumption.

The use cases for digital twin technology will continue to grow as the technology evolves. Digital simulations are becoming faster and cheaper to generate, easier to keep up to date in real-time, and more valuable in their impact.

We are working with leading governments and brands around the globe to explore the benefits of digital twins and use the technology to its full advantage. This is a digital technology that is already reinventing our future – and we are at the forefront.

A woman viewing the sky through an app

Digital twins: use cases for enterprise and government

Digital twin technology has dozens of use cases that span across sectors, as well as offering huge potential to governments and the public sector.

Find out more

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