Digital twins are picking up. Source: Shutterstock

Digital twins are picking up. Source: Shutterstock

Companies are finally getting started with digital twins — Gartner

ROLLS ROYCE, General Electric, and a few other companies have championed digital twins — or digital replicas of physical functions and processes — for almost a decade now.

Most other companies, unfortunately, struggled to understand, build, and leverage digital twins. Simply put, it wasn’t a priority.

However, with the rise of the internet of things (IoT), digital twins are about to get more attention according to a new report by Gartner.

According to the research giant, 13 percent of organizations implementing IoT already use digital twins and another 62 percent say they plan to use them within the next 12 months. This brings the total percent of organizations planning to establish digital twins to 75 percent within a year.

Rapid growth might help digital twins beat forecasts

“The results — especially when compared with past surveys — show that digital twins are slowly entering mainstream use,” explained Gartner Research VP Benoit Lheureux.

“We predicted that by 2022, over two-thirds of companies that have implemented IoT will have deployed at least one digital twin in production. We might actually reach that number within a year.”

According to analysts, it seems as though the rapid growth in adoption of digital twins, for the 62 percent of firms keen on exploring the technology this year, will be facilitated by technology vendors who have been advocating the incredible value they create for businesses through marketing and education efforts.

“We see digital twin adoption in all kinds of organizations. However, manufacturers of IoT-connected products are the most progressive, as the opportunity to differentiate their product and establish new service and revenue streams is a clear business driver.”

Digital twins facilitated by IoT opportunities

The internet of things (IoT) creates several opportunities for businesses that leverage digital twins.

Here are some examples to explain how different kinds of businesses are evaluating this technology in conjunction with IoT to create new services and revenue streams.

To begin, let’s talk about office printers. Way back in 2015, companies such as Xerox and HP brought heavy-duty printers into the IoT environment to facilitate maintenance and ensure machines were always ready to go.

Taking this further, digital twins can help better understand how the product is used to improve how they’re designed for the future.

Another example is the industrial delivery trucks. Using digital twins allows automakers to ensure companies that rely on them to keep their supply chains running are never let down.

The technology can help with preventive maintenance, product improvements, and ensure that data is constantly reviewed in real-time to inform customers about what’s going on with their trucks and how they’re performing.