Summary

A “Digital Twin” is a virtual replica of a real-world product, process, system, or service. It simulates its physical counterpart and enables predictive analyses with AI to understand and adjust its behaviors for optimal performance.

ELI5

Imagine having an identical toy car to your real car. With this toy, you can try out changes and improvements without affecting the real car. A “Digital Twin” is like this toy car, but for all sorts of things, from a wind turbine to a whole factory and it is in the computer.

In-depth explanation

A “Digital Twin” is a digital representation that mirrors a real-life element as closely as it can. Its ability to act as a real-time digital counterpart of a physical entity rests upon data - from sensors on the real-world analogue - and algorithms that interpret this data. The concept brings together the physical and digital realms, combining a physical system’s data with a virtual model that uses these inputs to mirror the real-world system in a dynamic and interactive manner.

These models provide a significant boon, acting as a sandbox environment for testing and experimentation. The various simulations and scenarios tested in the model can be safely done without exposing the physical system to actual risks. They are also tweaked and adjusted in real-time in response to changes reflected in their corresponding physical entity, making them not only reactive but proactive tools.

The principle through which this is achieved is the coupling of the “Digital Twin” with AI and Machine Learning models. AI algorithms are capable of interpreting vast amounts of data in real-time, then applying what they’ve learned to the digital twin. It might predict wear and tear, optimize operations, or recommend preventative maintenance actions, among others.

Because all of this information is digital, it can be analysed with advanced analytics, machine learning, and AI. The insights obtained from such analysis help to identify potential problems before they even occur, optimize operations, and invent new opportunities to add value. Hence, “Digital Twin” technology, coupled with AI, yields efficiency, optimizes processes, saves costs, prevents downtime, and enables understanding of how a new product, service, system, or process might perform.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), Predictive Analysis, Simulation, Optimization, Real-time data, Sandbox Environment