The concept of digital twins isn’t entirely new. It was introduced years ago in conventional forms for production and product lifecycle management. This era of Industry 4.0, with advanced sensors, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) adoption, has now refined digital twinning and expanded its applications.
Fundamentally, a digital twin is a virtual representation of equipment, processes, information, and numerous physical assets. Data from many sources, such as sensors, is synchronized to offer real-time status. The technology helps to optimize operations, lower costs, and implement predictive maintenance capabilities.
Manufacturing, retail, and automotive sectors have rapidly deployed digital monitoring and control solutions over the years. But the systems are proving beneficial for healthcare providers and utilities as well. For example, the concept is being explored to create a virtual replica of the brain and heart to speed up diagnosis and treatment.
Two of the most promising digital-twin application areas are the energy and infrastructure industries. Utility providers consistently look for ways to reduce operational costs, enhance efficiencies, and detect problem areas. Digital platforms and connected solutions can allow energy firms to manage physical assets remotely and save on human work hours and expenses.
Annual valuation of the global digital twin market is expected to reach US$20 billion by 2025. Buildings and energy applications could account for a notable share of these revenues. Undoubtedly, mounting power consumption every year and rapid urbanization will fuel the technology demand.