Digital twin. It's a term that is cropping up more and more in the world of IoT: it's a headline topic for keynotes, topping meeting agendas and being referenced increasingly more online. But what does it really mean, and what might the implications of digital twinning be for you and your business? 

A digital twin is a virtual representation of an asset a company may be using such as a pump, device, a compressor or even a vehicle. Digital twins can be used to model the current condition or behaviour of the asset and to predict future behaviour, maintenance needed or used to ensure performance optimisation. Digital twins can therefore be used and deployed in a variety of different ways to model multiple scenarios or to undertake different virtual maintenance regimes or simulate future strategies.

The digital twin is created using either a data-driven or physics-driven model (or indeed a combination of the two), and you can even create a series of twins that allow you to model lots of different potential outcomes to allow a variety of different scenarios to be calculated, such as failure prediction (when) or fault classification (how).

It's a concept that is already widely used across a number of different industries including in asset management, fleet management or in the world of predictive maintenance. In fact, according to a research study from Gartner around 75% of companies that currently have an IoT system will likely deploy digital twins to model potential scenarios over the next 12 months.

Lighting, for example, will often be part of a company’s digital twin strategy: data is used in digital asset tracking and maintenance or inspections of lighting products in a smart building. The digital twin analyses how the lighting is performing and how occupants are using it. This means that operators or facility managers have access to real-time data about the building and its integrated systems, allowing them to monitor and react quickly to optimise lighting. As a result, the system allows them to improve energy efficiency and the safety and wellbeing of both employees and visitors.

Digital twins are hugely beneficial as resources through which to mitigate risk, save costs and gain overall system efficiencies. Not so much double the trouble then, rather digital twins are a savvy way to keep a finger firmly on the pulse of your business.  

Visit our Technology page to learn more how our Intelligent Grid product facilitates IoT-enabled lighting and smart sensors.

About the author

James Means

I am a cyclist and enjoy taking my mountain bike out along the many tow paths of the Basingstoke or Kennet and Avon Canal. I play tennis at my local club and am full of endeavour and enthusiasm to make up for the lack of talent, usually washed down with a few beers to undo the good work. I absolutely love cars but in a clear rush of blood have just purchased a rather dull electric car. Currently growing chilli’s to go in the spicy curries I love making. I try to feed my spiritual side with a bit of meditation or mindfulness when possible.