Digital Twins Focus on what Matters

Educational 14 Feb 2021 by Ali Nicholl

A version of this article previously appeared on Business Chief.

There has been a lot of hype around digital twins, but there is now a real need for digital twins as the driving force behind the next generation of smart systems and, more specifically, supply chains. With so much data in play at all times, effective communication between sources of data and across technologies has never been more important.

But, the more company borders you cross, the more data you exchange, and the more technology platforms you access, the higher risk you accumulate. Suddenly, it no longer seems worth it to jeopardize the safety and security of your data simply to further automate how your assets communicate with one another.

IOTICS’ digital twin technology makes it so you never have to prioritize security over what’s best for your business. The digital twin isn’t simply a new way to visualize your assets, but a unique way to allow for the secure exchange of data across nearly any industry and any platform.

The digital twin creates a virtualization of any data point — people, places, processes, things — that can communicate with other data points efficiently and without compromising the original data source. In addition, these data-based virtualizations are comprehensive; they include all the controls necessary for the data to be read and utilized directly by machines.

The inclusion of controls, as well as data, is integral to a twin’s ability to autonomously interoperate and thereby enrich customer-centric services. Their power lies not in what they can physically show us, but how they can securely and meaningfully interact with each other and, in doing so, create secure, scalable, adaptable digital ecosystems.

An entire manufacturing plant, for example, can be mapped out using digital twins; twins of any relevant components, twins of assembly lines, even twins of the people who work there. Whatever combination of technology, people, and assets come together to make your enterprise happen can be modeled using digital twins. From there, the digital twin allows for access to each of these data points individually or as a network of sources that can be combined in unlimited ways.

This is not copying data or rearchitecting an entire system, but rather leveraging data in a way that provides real-time insight into demand, supply, performance and operations. It is the ability for connected objects to talk to each other and work together to provide entirely new services.

Digital twins don’t replace existing technology. Instead, they extend capabilities, increase flexibility and mitigate the risk of businesses failing. Organizations such as Rolls-Royce are harnessing twin-based interoperable ecosystems to deliver the next generation in customer service: Customer Service 4.0.

Rolls-Royce business unit, Power System, is using digital twin and event data technology from IOTICS to unlock over 200 data sources, brokering interactions to create digital twins of their in-field assets and receive real-time event insights across customer, supplier and partner boundaries.

Chief IT Digital Officer of Rolls-Royce Power Systems Jürgen Winterholler explains that, “Digital twin technology is helping us realize our vision of placing our customers at the heart of everything we do.”

Starting within its extensive rail ecosystem, Rolls-Royce Power Systems sees the transformational potential of physical products and assets having their own digital twins that securely capture, share and exchange data and controls.

“Customer Service 4.0 means seeing the world the way your customers do, collaborating with them, their customers, and our service partners, to deliver greater efficiencies, enhanced insights and new opportunities, without compromising on the quality and security they expect from Rolls-Royce Power Systems,” added Winterholler.

But it is not just manufacturing which will benefit from this brave new digital twin world. The applications are as limitless as the twins themselves.

It is not what the technology can do or what problem it solves, but what it enables us to create by harnessing the power of connection. Suddenly, a whole new world of data is available, liberating us from operating business as islands and instead allowing us to create more effective business together. Digital twin technology enables us to focus on what truly matters to companies, their customers and their communities.


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