Digital Twin Technology: a new step into the metaverse world

Read this article by our ambassador Marjorie Grassler

While you still wonder if you should integrate such technology into your business, other CEOs are already on the moon. Picture the scene: From the very first day, when tapping enter on their computer’s keyboard, they activate the digital twin. Slowly but firmly, the engine starts, the software runs its first line of code and the data flow, previously installed into the machine’s depths, gets swallowed, one terabyte by one terabyte. The rhythm is accelerating, the large amount of data is now almost totally digested.

Digital Twin benefits for all: Engineers, Operations Managers, Data scientists, and Workers

The digital twin engineers, creators of the beast, were assisting to this moment the whole time and expecting it like the birth of a child: “Digital engineers play a crucial role in building the relationships and communication lines across silos to create a network that marries the physical and digital worlds throughout the manufacturing value chain”.

Data scientists, another group of specialists are about to be thrilled since Digital twin technology generates vast amounts of data, and data scientists can play a key role in analyzing this data to identify trends and insights that can improve product and process performance. According to Diego Galar, Professor at the Luleå University of Technology and a regular Data Innovation Summit speaker, a digital twin is a co-creation between data scientists and engineers: “The creation of a digital twin is challenging since we need engineering and data science to converge”.

Meanwhile operations managers are hopping up and down with impatience. They know that digital twin technology can help them to identify bottlenecks, optimize workflows, and improve overall efficiency. Mohammed Harris Subahan, a program manager at Cisco describes his experience with digital twin as particularly useful for Operations Managers: “it allows them to identify potential issues before they occur, gain insights into the data center’s performance, and optimize its operations”. Moreover, he shares about working in a data center environment: “Operations Managers can simulate different scenarios and test the impact of changes to identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption without compromising performance.

Workers are astonished and cannot wait to see how their all-work environment will improve by preventing dangerous failures, minimizing Human-Machinery interactions, creating Safer Systems and allowing training opportunities: “The most notable and impactful one is applying the digital twin concept to the workforce—every organization’s most valuable asset”. Digital Twins will give workers new possibilities in which the dynamics in the workplace are better understand and informed decisions are taken.

What next? The enterprise metaverse: a network of digital twins

Digital Twins technologies can fundamentally change and improve European companies. Still, it is not the final stage. Lately, Metaverse has gained significant attention. Think about it as a 3D internet, where you can explore and interact with different virtual worlds and communities. Imagine now all companies are connected through their digital twins, making them able to unlock the complex relationships between the different steps of the value chain like it is portraited by McKinsey and Company: “A retailer, for instance, could connect the digital twin of its retail store to digital twins of its warehouses, supply chain, call centre, and more until every part of the organization was replicated, sharing insights, simulating scenarios, and enabling automation and AI use cases”. This network of virtual representation could be the start of the enterprise metaverse: “The enterprise metaverse offers an opportunity to reinvent these experiences and processes in a digital context to achieve even better outcomes rather than replicate the existing experiences and processes”.

There is still a long way to go to reach this level of connectivity, but digital twins are the technologies that can build an industrial metaverse. To start debating the topic, the World Economic Forum has imagined the impact on companies. According to this vision, digital work opportunities would abound, improving security while increasing machine interaction. Data could be shared seamlessly, allowing meta-analyses of data and extensive know-how aggregation and automated AI solutions. In this scenario, lack of interoperability and intellectual property protection would be at risk. Concentration could be one of the issues while having a wide range of complementary services. Technology will continue to evolve, and this could be a risk to be considered with a high degree of digitalization in case of disruptions in the supply chain or other low-probability events happen. The customer will have access to a highly realistic product, but problems could appear with inefficient use of customer data and the lock-in effect.  

There are still many challenges to unlock until the enterprise of the metaverse or the industrial metaverse could be something reachable but technological progress is making it more and more possible to get closer to the metaverse world.

Article by Change2Twin Ambassador Marjorie Grassler