Measuring Success of the Digital Twin

How do you measure the success of something that has never been done before?

Educational 26 Feb 2020 by Ali Nicholl

It’s a compelling question, and one that has to be answered rather subjectively. It becomes more complicated when you start to ask, “How do you measure the success of something you can’t see or touch? Of something that exists exclusively in a digital ecosystem?”

These are the questions IOTICS is trying to answer. In understanding our own technology, we not only like to explore the work we do, but examine the advancement of digital twin technology as a whole.

New innovations occur every day and it’s our job to keep up with them in order to continue doing what has never been done before.

Does Biggest Mean Best?

Last year, Akselos celebrated the launch of a “digital twin” for Shell’s Bonga floating production, storage and offloading vessel. In complete detail and with 100% accuracy, the digital twin models the large, heavy physical facility.

The twin is able to feed in the information like loading conditions and inspection data needed to carry out structural assessments. Now, operators can identify areas that need inspection, maintenance, or differing numbers of staff on any given day. Overall, the twin allows Shell to plan more strategically, especially in the case of extreme weather.

It is the largest digital twin to date and has been applauded as such. It is a huge accomplishment.

But, is it successful?

In our opinion, a digital twin is enhanced via its connection to other digital twins. In this way, a digital twin operates much like human beings; without community and connection, there is a limit to what we can accomplish as individuals.

It would follow that the size and weight of a digital twin has no bearing on whether the twin is useful or successful. The success of the twin is instead determined by how it interoperates with other twins – this is what truly unlocks the potential of the entire system.

You don’t just want your twin to mimic the real world, you want it to give you insight into the limitless potential of what the world might someday be – and it only accomplishes this through a vast network of other data.

The Power of Connection

On another plane of digital twin advancement is the European Space Agency’s “Digital Twin Earth” initiative, a project which intends to create a digital replica of the entire planet.

By being constantly fed with data, measurements, and artificial intelligence, the twin will provide “an accurate representation of the past, present, and future changes of our world” according to ESA.

The twin is connected to satellites, an artificial intelligence system, and the cloud, helping it not only monitor, but predict both natural and human activity. The hope is that this will dramatically improve sustainable development enterprises.

By connecting to limitless data points, this project maximizes the potential of a network of digital twins. It not only models what currently exists, but projects what might occur in new and marvelous ways. This multidimensional nature of the digital twin technology is what truly excites us about its potential to transform our world.

Finding the Balance

When it comes to digital twin technology, IOTICS believes that success is measured not by the twin alone, but in the richness of that which connects it.

In other words, a twin is only as strong as its network of connections and counterparts. A twin on its own, no matter how detailed, is limited in its usefulness.

The most successful twin will not be one giant twin that does everything; it will be a federation of twins working together and sharing secure data.

So, how do you measure the success of something that has never been done before? You do it.

And then you find success along the way in the power of connection, the opportunity of collaboration, and the innovation of sharing data that transcends both real and perceived boundaries.


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