Business Applications of IoT and Digital Twin Technology

May 28

Think of digital twin technology sort of like team practice prior to a game. A “digital twin” is essentially the “scrimmage” before a game with a competing team. Like practice, the digital twin can be used to run a variety of scenarios which tell those who program, design, and launch IoT apps what they need to know to get the balance right.

So How Exactly Does It Work?

Essentially, a digital twin is a virtual representation of hardware or other configurations of systems and objects that can be modeled. Owing to technological advances, digital twins can be designed virtually on an increasing scale of complexity.

Physical devices, a network array, the IoT configurations of an entire building or factory; all can be modeled digitally. Even cities can be modeled and explored. Beyond networks and objects, processes can be modeled, and the list goes on. An integrated metropolis with buildings, objects, networks, and operational processes can be digitally modeled as a reference point for city planners, engineers, and more.

Keep reading: Exploring the Importance of Digital Twin Technology

On a more intimate scale, you can model what it will look like to implement new tech at a branch location in another town. Perhaps you run simulations for network processes throughout your tech company. There are many notable applications worth exploring. According to some technologists, there will be billions of potential applications for this tech in the near future.

Why Does It Work?

It’s unlikely the best mathematical models would operate in any effective way if there weren’t some sort of actual “device” providing information to “feed” its digital sibling. Essentially, digital twin technology aggregates and interprets that data so you can put the virtual version of the device through its paces without worrying about physical damages.

As you do this, software facilitating such digital doubles provides information that can help you determine if there will be potential issues, what sort of performance you might expect, and other relevant data.

More info: Using IoT Solutions to Streamline Business

Something a lot of engineers do is use digital twin technology to push through the prototyping phase. Instead of spending time, energy, and resources destroying physical components, the virtual doppelgänger can take the abuse, and refinements can be added to the physical version of the product after the fact. With that in mind, we’ll explore a few ways this tech has been put to use in recent years:

The Automobile Industry

One of the biggest things on the horizon for the automobile industry is automation. Already, digital twin technology has been used for the purpose of helping designers determine stresses, operational thresholds, and design best practices for vehicles.

As IoT begins to take over vehicular operation, this will become another area where having some sort of virtual double to play with becomes paramount for safe, efficient, cost-effective designs.

Cargo Vessels

Digital twin technology for cargo vessels can reveal what level of weight vessels can bear in diverse nautical environments, such as calm or choppy seas. Additionally, new methods of propulsion can be explored, as can new vessel designs.

NASA Exploration

NASA is credited with the first practical definition of digital twin application, and it’s easy to see why: in space, the costs of mistakes are a lot greater than they are on earth. Accordingly, spaceship design and operation became integral in assuring the greatest amount of safety and affordability in extra-planetary vessel design.

Related: How Digital Twins Impact Smart City Design

Working with Tech Professionals to Determine Digital Twin Applications for Your Business

Digital twin technology has helped NASA design spacecraft and model how components will act in the real world. Applications range from vehicular design to optimizing cargo vessel loads, including storage configurations and their associated stresses.

Healthcare applications, security process optimization, network configuration, and more–all on a massive scale–are additionally possible through this increasingly efficient tech innovation. If you haven’t explored digital twin technology, it may be worth doing. There are likely more than a few places where it just might help optimize processes within your business.

Johannes Beekman

About the author

After 25 years in engineering, Johannes Beekman founded IoT Marketing with the goal of helping companies bring wide-scale awareness to their inventions. He received a Master of Science in Physics degree from the Eindhoven University of Technology, and a Master in Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and started his career in the semiconductor field. Johannes pioneered two successful wafer fab startups for Philips Electronics; one in Europe and the second one in Asia. And served as Senior Program Manager for Sematech, where he provided solutions for semiconductor industry-wide product improvement and cost reduction challenges. Johannes has also published articles on several trade-focused websites.


Automation, digital twin technology, Industry 4.0, IoT

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