Knowing what a digital twin is is one thing, creating one is quite another. The vision of an exact digital replica of a physical asset, connected and sharing data in real time with its real-world reference, has been described by many innovators and technologists as a vision with seemingly endless benefits. Here, we want to look at how these visions are brought to reality: how to make a digital twin.
“Ideas are useless unless used. The proof of their value is in their implementation. Until then, they are in limbo.”
This is how Theodore Levitt may feel about today’s state of digital twins. There’s a lot of literature on the potential for digital twins to change industries; the value they might provide, and the challenges around data security and governance (potentially for city- and country-scale digital twins). But how do we actually make one?
In this blog post, we’re setting out our view of the stages involved in creating a digital twin. It’s important to note that these steps don’t happen in isolation or in a perfect sequence. They all need to be considered at the same time. As an asset owner, you might define what you want to do, and find out you can’t collect that data, so you revisit your definition. Or you can, but not at the granularity you need. Or you find the perfect sensor, but it includes a microphone – and the building users aren’t happy with the idea of potentially being recorded. So you go back and redefine your data needs.
The process is not perfectly linear, but in the interests of structuring it, we’ve set out six stages of developing a digital twin.