This post was originally published as part of a series of predictions for Connected Technologies Solutions
Ali Nicholl, Head of Engagement, IOTICS
Over the past 18 months we have seen the rise of digital twins as a concept moving from simple visualisations to fully interactive tools sitting on top of data lakes and platforms. This new generation of digital twins offers unparalleled opportunities to transform services, businesses and communities.
However, for twins to fulfil their potential and deliver what has been described as ‘The Third Platform’, we need to move from single, powerful asset twins, to a world where all things are machine readable – including people, processes, spaces and the confluence of all of them.
That vision of the entire world being subject to the power of algorithms requires twins of literally billions of things and people and businesses to work together. Vendor specific approaches, and solutions built on data siloes that require the ingestion or copying of vast amounts of data are doomed to fail.
We need interoperable ecosystems built on secure twins, each with its own event stream, liberating us from siloes and saving the need to store petabytes of dead data. We need twins that interact through secure brokerage to form transient or permanent collaborative networks, scaling with the customer, consortium or societal needs, beyond the constraints of multiple proprietary platforms, hardware or devices.
Imagine simple smart services, the changing of toilet paper on trains. Currently there is a sensor on the train that reports when the toilet paper runs out. That is a step forward, but it is reactive. The proactive service solution requires individuals to regularly check and if needed, to stock up. It is inefficient, inconvenient and relatively costly. What if we could enable twins of the train, the toilet paper, toilet, service personnel and passengers to interact.
Trains have thousands of data points, but we might only choose to model its location, destination and timetable, and for the toilet paper we need only to know when it was last changed as an event, while the toilet door sensor confirms how may visits there have been and aggregated passenger numbers enable us to infer likely usage. And twins of service personnel mean that we can ensure that the servicing of the toilet on a train happens in a location where we have stock, capability and time.
It is a trivial example but requires the interoperation of at least the service company, train manufacturer, train systems provider, train operating company and infrastructure management company.
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