Thirteen per cent of organisations implementing Internet of Things (IoT) projects already use digital twins, while 62 per cent are either in the process of establishing digital twin use or plan to do so, according to a recent IoT implementation survey by Gartner

A digital twin refers to a software models of a physical object that can be used to understand the asset’s state, respond to changes, improve business operations and add value.

A digital twin refers to a software model of a physical object that can be used to understand the asset’s state, respond to changes, improve business operations and add value.

For example, the digital twin of a connected car digital twin can could show the manufacturer, a customer service provider or insurance company how the vehicle is operating.

“The results — especially when compared with past surveys — show that digital twins are slowly entering mainstream use,” said Benoit Lheureux, research vice president at Gartner.

This rapid growth in adoption is due to extensive marketing and education by technology vendors, but also because digital twins are delivering business value and have become part of enterprise IoT and digital strategies, Gartner says.

The survey results showed that digital twins are useful for a range of constituents, each with different needs from the IoT data and the digital twins already in-use were often integrated with other digital twins.

For example, in a power plant with IoT-connected industrial valves, pumps and generators, there is a role for digital twins for each piece of equipment, as well as a composite digital twin, which aggregates IoT data across the equipment to analyse overall operations.

Despite this setup being very complex, 61 per cent of companies that have implemented digital twins have already integrated at least one pair of digital twins with each other, and even more — 74 per cent of organisations that have not yet integrated digital twins — will do so in the next five years. However, this result also means that 39 per cent of respondents have not yet integrated any digital twins; of those, 26 per cent still do not plan to do so in five years.

“What we see here is that digital twins are increasingly deployed in conjunction with other digital twins for related assets or equipment,” said Lheureux. “However, true integration is still relatively complicated and requires high-order integration and information management skills. The ability of to integrate digital twins with each other will be a differentiating factor in the future, as physical assets and equipment evolve.”

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