Home / Blog / Digital Twins: where we are where we go – II

Digital Twins: where we are where we go – II

The digital transformation makes possible to operate in the cyberspace, decreasing processing and transaction cost. Digital Twins create a bridge between the world of atoms and the world of bits

There are starting to be so many components, processes and products having a digital twin that there is the interest and need in connecting them in networks (watch the SAP clip).

The digital transformation makes possible to operate in the cyberspace, decreasing processing and transaction cost. Digital Twins create a bridge between the world of atoms and the world of bits creates digital models. Supply and manufacturing make use of digital processes and digitally controlled machines (CAM) creating a digital thread, the products are developed to be connected and to relay operational data, thus creating digital shadows. Digital Twins are a fall-out of the value chain.

Other industries, like the AEC (Architecture Engineering and Construction) and healthcare sector, are also starting to consider the creation and exploitation of Digital Twins.

The Digital Twins four stages of evolution. We are now in the third stage. Image credit: Seebo Blog

All of this is also pushing towards an evolution of the paradigm of Digital Twin and we have already reached what is called stage 3 (in several applications, whilst in others we are still at stage 1 and 2).

As shown in the figure:

  • in the first stage we only have the physical twin, although its development has generated a substantial stream of data that have been used in its design/manufacturing. Several industries may be at this stage, having plenty of data that have been created during the design that are not leveraged in the subsequent steps.
  • in the second stage the Digital Twin assumes its own identity and exists along the physical entity. Notice that in this stage what was a Digital Model/data related to a manufacturing process of an object, becomes instantiated and coupled to a specific instance of a physical entity, no longer the model a turbine but the model of a specific turbine.
  • in the third stage, present status in advanced industries, the digital twin and the physical twin are connected and synchronised (i.e. the digital twin mirrors the status of the physical twin).
  • in stage 4, we can expect several industries to move to this stage in the next decade, the digital twin will overlap with the physical twin with operation taking advantage of both. As I will point out in a subsequent post, there are several issues that will have to sorted out as we move to this stage.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.