In an era of rapid digitalization, businesses continually seek innovative technologies to enhance their operational processes and gain a competitive edge.
With the Internet of Things (IoT) and the integration of advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), there is a remarkable opportunity for enterprises to harness real-time data and extract valuable insights.
Even among such transformative technologies, Digital Twin stands out.
Digital Twin enables businesses to embrace automation and virtualization, revolutionizing industries across the board. From manufacturing and healthcare to telecom, automotive and aerospace, the applications of Digital Twin solutions are far-reaching.
By seamlessly replicating physical assets, processes, and systems into virtual models, digital twins empower enterprises to optimize production processes, streamline product design, exercise precise process control, monitor risks and drive superior performance management.
Unsurprisingly, the global Digital Twin market, estimated at USD 11.12 billion in 2022, continues to expand rapidly.
In this comprehensive guide, we explore the concept of digital twins and compare some of the leading Digital Twin solutions available in the market today.
What is a Digital Twin?
Any object or environment can be virtually represented using its Digital Twin. It is a virtual model that can accurately replicate a physical system.
A Digital Twin is essentially a rich virtual environment that facilitates bi-directional information flow with great potential to improve products and processes.
For instance, a Digital Twin can be used for simulations, testing and monitoring without making any changes to its physical counterpart. As a result, instead of the conventional and time-consuming physical testing approach, it is possible to improve real-world systems rapidly and at a fraction of the cost.
In 1991, David Geelrnter first voiced the idea of Digital Twins in his book “Mirror Worlds,” and Dr. Michael Grieves applied the concept in 2002 when he proposed the idea at a conference under the name “Product Lifecycle Management.”
The term “digital twin” also appeared in the draft version of NASA’s 2010 Roadmap Report, but the research organization was using the idea as far back as the 1960s when it created complex simulations of spacecraft for its space exploration missions.
Benefits of Digital Twin Solutions
Digital Twin technology has made sizable progress in the last few years, introducing next-generation digital transformation opportunities for businesses. Some of the key benefits of digital twin solutions include:
Digital Twin solutions can improve operational efficiency with strategically planned production processes. They can identify process failures and associated risks and speed up the development lifecycle, thus increasing efficiency, productivity and overall performance.
Digital twins facilitate remote monitoring and control of the system’s performance. With real-time data, all the central aspects of the production and design processes can be validated to make the right decisions at the right time.
Effective research and design offer the needed product refinements and better insights with abundant data regarding performance outcomes. Thus, Digital Twin solutions can help businesses with better-informed decisions.
Digital Twin solutions are already being implemented in major applications. Some of these include the following:
Manufacturing and industrial processes
Digital Twins can simulate and optimize manufacturing processes, monitor equipment performance and improve overall operational efficiency. They enable real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance and virtual testing of different scenarios.
These digital models are significantly valuable for creating virtual replicas of cities that enable urban planners to model and optimize infrastructure, transportation systems, energy consumption and other aspects of urban development.
Construction and building management
The construction industry can leverage Digital Twin technology to simulate and optimize building designs, construction processes and ongoing facility management. These models help owners and facility managers identify potential issues, optimize energy usage and improve building maintenance.
Retail and supply chain
With Digital Twins, it is possible to gain real-time visibility into the supply chain, which helps predict demand more accurately, optimize inventory levels and improve overall logistics efficiency. These models also enable retailers to create personalized shopping experiences and optimize store layouts based on insights generated through customer data.
Top Digital Twin Solutions
Some of the top Digital Twin solutions include the following:
Azure Digital Twins
Microsoft’s Azure Digital Twins helps create digital models of the physical environment using IoT spatial intelligence.
Azure Digital Twins is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering enterprise-grade IoT-connected solutions. It helps businesses create comprehensive digital models for places, business processes and real-world systems.
- Custom domain models using Digital Twins Definition Language
- Live execution environment representation using live graphs
- Integration with Azure IoT Hubs and LogicApps, REST APIs for system input
- Actionable insights using Azure Data Analytics
- High-level security and scalability
- Simple and predictable pricing
- Creating data-driven workspaces
- Optimizing business costs and operations
- Improved product development process
- Model cities, factories, firms, buildings and similar environments
A free account in Azure offers a $200 credit for 30 days. Azure has customized pricing plans. Check the pricing page for more details.
Ansys Twin Builder
Ansys designs multiphysics software solutions for business innovation. Ansys Twin Builder helps businesses in creating and deploying Digital Twin models.
This powerful digital platform helps develop simulation-based Digital Twin models. It is an open solution that uses Hybrid Analytics for integrated multi-domain system simulation. It can efficiently model real-world systems, mirroring their life and experience.
- Increased Digital Twin Prediction Accuracy
- Faster simulation using sophisticated solver synchronization
- Integrated with high-performance compute resources and extensive model libraries
- Reduced-Order-Model (ROM) interfaces for detailed simulations
- Industrial asset optimization and management
- Battery management systems
- Vehicle Powertrain Simulation
- Improving interoperability and simulation stability
Ansys Twin Builder has a free trial option for 30 days. Request a trial here and contact their experts for pricing plans based on requirements.
Eclipse Foundation offers a global platform for open innovation and collaboration. This unique model has an open-source framework called Ditto for IoT and Digital Twin solutions.
Eclipse Ditto helps businesses build digital twins of assets with internet connectivity. It is an IoT middleware and can be merged into existing backend systems with supported protocols.
- Offers web APIs for simplified workload
- Microservices with the data store
- Static metadata management
- Device-as-a-Service for synchronizing digital twin with the physical system
- State management for digital twins
- Access control enforcement with authorized API calls
Eclipse is a free, open-source platform dedicated to development services. Contact the company through multiple channels here.
The British multinational company AVEVA offers cutting-edge industrial software solutions. It helps businesses build digital twins for driving asset excellence with minimized risks.
AVEVA designs smart software solutions for leading industrial businesses. Its Digital Twin software solution spans the complete lifecycle of the asset. It is a cloud-based, open, vendor-agnostic platform that covers both engineering and IT operations.
- Whole-model visualization with touch-controls
- True digital thread with engineering and real-time data integration
- Wide range of engineering, structural and analytics models
- Historical and real-data collections with AVEVA PI System
- Integrated with high-end AVEVA software solutions for deeper contextualization
- Accelerated process design
- Reduced operational risks
- Production optimization
- Enterprise visualization
AVEVA offers a flexible software subscription program with minimized upfront costs and fast Return on Investment (ROI). Learn more and talk to their experts to get the best plan here.
The French multinational Dassault Systemes is famous for its creative and innovative sustainable software solutions. It has been listed in the Fortune 50 list by BCG. The company offers a 3D experience platform for virtual or Digital Twin solutions.
3D Experience is focused on converging the virtual and real worlds. This platform is an all-in-one solution with combined SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS offerings.
- Easy-to-use interface for easy interaction
- Immediate access to enterprise-class technologies and apps like DELMIA, SIMULIA, CATIA and more
- Automatic updates with frequent new features
- Fully secured data encryption at all layers
- All-through production planning and lean operation
- Sustainable business initiatives
- Performance, reliability and safety assessment
- Improved business resilience with prior impact evaluation
Find the entire portfolio of 3D Experience products here. Subscription plans are based on requirements.
Digital Twin Exchange
The leading technical giant IBM has been pioneering Digital Twin solutions for a long time, and offers an e-commerce platform called IBM Digital Twin Exchange that helps businesses buy and sell Digital Twin assets.
The Digital Twin Exchange platform by IBM is a rapidly growing partner ecosystem. It is a one-stop shop for Digital Twin solutions customers who can easily shop from a wide range of credible products based on requirements and budget.
- IBM Support for any technical issues or assistance
- Faster integration with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) systems
- Increased level of safety
- Reduced risk of failure
- Smart operations
- Supply chain efficiency
- Designing predictive models
- Managing enterprise-wise digital assets
The platform features a wide range of products—find the list and prices here.
Oracle IoT Digital Twin Framework
Oracle Corporation offers Digital Twin solutions integrated with its IoT platform. The Oracle IoT Digital Twin Framework helps businesses with device virtualization and implementation.
Oracle IoT implements the digital twin concept comprehensively. It helps in designing the digital proxy of any real-world asset or system. Oracle also offers a Digital Twin Simulator for developing ready-to-use simulation models.
- Configurable alerts for simulated devices
- JSON-based model for visual representation
- Integrated ML techniques for robust analytical model
- Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) tools for industrial twins
- Better visibility with interconnected systems
- Well-designed interfaces for What-if analysis
- Connection with back-end applications for real-time configuration
- Simulation models development without hardware setup
Oracle offers a uniform pricing structure with committed use discounts and other rewards. Check estimated prices using the Oracle Cost Estimator.
Amazon IOT TwinMaker
Amazon has been extending intelligent software solutions through its AWS platform, and offers Digital twin solutions with AWS IoT TwinMaker.
AWS IoT TwinMaker helps businesses develop operational digital twins. This platform offers the tools to efficiently create a virtual representation of existing physical systems with real-world data integration for faster monitoring operations.
- Built-in connectors for richer data access
- Advanced digital twin graphs for defined relationships
- Interactive 3D view with scenes, workspace and resources
- Plug-ins for Grafana for customized visualization panels
- Optimization of industrial operations
- Increasing production output
- Improved equipment performance
- Low-code web application building
AWS IoT TwinMaker can be used for free with the AWS Free Tier. After free usage expires, purchase a pricing plan based on usage requirements. Find pricing details here.
General Electric offers innovative technology solutions for different industry verticals. In addition, GE Digital offers Digital Twin solutions integrated with cutting-edge technologies and services.
GE Digital is a rich platform that specifically designs digital twins for industrial applications. Being a co-founder of the Digital Twin Consortium, GE is focused on industrial optimization and currently has more than 330 Digital Twin blueprints.
- Cost-effective design and maintenance solutions
- Reduced planning time
- Productivity improvements
- Advanced analytics with immersive visualization
- Network Digital Twin solutions for grid operations
- Performance Intelligence with greater speed and efficiency
- Process Digital Twin solutions
- Smarter manufacturing with AI and Analytics
Request a free trial version and demo here.
How to Choose Digital Twin Solutions
Implementing Digital Twin solutions can be challenging. It requires an in-depth evaluation of the current systems and efficient strategic planning. Here are some tips to consider when evaluating different Digital Twin solutions.
Selecting the right model
Businesses need to exclusively analyze their requirements from the Digital twin solutions. If there are specific use cases or just enhanced feature requirements, opt for platforms capable of addressing these requirements.
Also, choose the right model that can cater to your business vision and generate the required value. The primary digital twin types are Physics-based Twins and Data-based Twins. Physics-based digital twins are built from CAD files and work best for simple objects. It is best suitable when immediate decisions are not necessary.
Data-based twins rely on Machine Learning algorithms that can produce more accurate and quicker results. Thus, they work best for complex products and processes.
There are also hybrid digital twins that combine both approaches and are more efficient. Therefore, it is crucial to explicitly define the challenges that you want to address and then finalize the model that will work best for you.
Maturity tests can evaluate the business’s current digital product development capabilities. It addresses the system complexities and helps prioritize the investment areas to implement digital twin technology effectively.
The initial months must be invested in developing an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) with a cross-functional, agile team. It can maximize value gains from the beginning. Based on the learnings, the implementation plan can be calibrated.
As industry leaders already offer ready-to-use solutions, businesses need not invest a hefty amount in developing the necessary infrastructure and capabilities for incorporating Digital Twin technology. Instead, they can save considerable time, effort and resources by exploring these vendors and facilitating the development process.
It is vital to purchase Digital Twin tools, elements and blueprints from a single vendor to avoid compatibility and integration challenges.
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Bottom Line: Top Digital Twin Solutions
Digital twins combine real and digital words and seamlessly integrate the entire value chain to create the best-in-class products. They optimize both the product and the production.
More and more tech leaders are entering the arena to develop efficient Digital Twin solutions and foster new approaches to help businesses operate faster and smarter. The steady growth in the global Digital Twin market proves that more enterprises are willing to leverage these solutions.