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The Evolution of Digital Twins for Asset Operators

In Part I of this series on Digital Twins (DT) Andy crafted a great explanation of what a DT is, why it's need and the guiding principles on building DTs for Asset Operators. In Part II, I’ll address is the evolution of how we, as industrial asset operators will go through in adopting Digital Twins.

To refresh, a digital twin is a dynamic digital representation of the physical environment. We’re mostly familiar with DTs from the consumer world as the apps on our phones that manage your Nest Thermostats, the Philips Hue Light System’s color of the lights, the information about a Fitbit, or to summon a Tesla.

Unfortunately, for asset operators, these app-based consumer DTs don’t scale to the hundreds of thousands, even  millions, of measurement data streams required to operate modern industrial equipment and assets, whether it’s a discrete manufacturing line, oil refinery, or a large scale film production studio.

Two major trends, while creating a lot of marketing buzz, are pressuring asset operators and their supporting IT organization to act:

  1. Greater connectivity of our equipment with more sensing, typically referred to as “IIoT” or the Industrial Internet of Things
  2. Cheaper compute and storage allowing for more powerful analysis and operational improvement, a trend typically referred to as “Industry 4.0” or “Digital Transformation”

To connect those two trends you need digital twins. But which digital twin should asset operators pursue and how should they get started? We see DT’s evolving in stages, and the good news is that through past investments many companies already have ingredients in place to begin (and many have already started and not realized) their journey.


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