Digital twins allow real-world data to be used to simulate processes or products that have not yet been implemented. The term began to be applied to Industry 4.0 from work related to the product lifecycle. Today, the tool is almost widely adopted in industrial and business processes.

Keys to good performance

Digital twins have multiplied in recent years, but their usefulness depends directly on the quality of the processes and the enabling technology: sensors, tools and a system fixed in the cloud that allows all the necessary information to be collected to virtually generate the process in which it should not be forgotten.

  • Rely on real data.
  • Involve the entire value and product chain in the simulators.
  • Establish different programmes and/or sensors to help verify the information.
  • Determine models to ensure the long-term sustainability of the tests performed.

Used in the right way, digital twins make it easier and faster to drive business innovation.

Cross-application: the leap from industry to other sectors

The origins of this technology are linked to the industrial world, where the greatest advances are being made. For example, the automotive company Porsche is considering eliminating its current maintenance books, thus avoiding unnecessary visits to the workshop, and replacing them with software that foresees when the vehicle itself will need some kind of repair. All this, thanks to the development of artificial intelligence equipment created through a digital twin.

However, many companies and non-industrial organisations are including this type of practice as an increasingly common part of their work systems. Such is its adoption that the city of Vigo itself has acquired a 3D digital twin to obtain a virtual replica that will allow it to generate models of floods, solar energy or noise pollution.

Metaverse

If we are talking about the pinnacle of the digital twin, we cannot fail to mention the latest technological revolution: the metaverse. The continuous exposure to a digital world and the need to be permanently interconnected has pushed companies such as Microsoft and Facebook to launch these new virtual worlds that will allow us to lead a parallel life with data and characteristics similar to real life. And what is behind all this? Digital twins of our real lives and environments.

What is expected from these new worlds?

  • Personalised 3D avatars
  • Encounters with other people
  • Recreation of virtual workspaces
  • Entertainment within one’s own digital world
  • Discovery of new environments
  • Possibility to make transitions between the two universes.

The race to achieve this ‘new reality’ in a short period of time has begun. Behind Microsoft and Facebook, the companies that are putting their faces on it, there are many others that are responsible for providing the components and infrastructures to make this possible.

Environmental application

With the current climate crisis, rising energy prices and lack of supplies, all social and economic actors are looking for new solutions, which could include the digital twins themselves.

Their environmental application is becoming increasingly necessary. A recent example is the Mar Menor, where a digital twin will be created to study the environmental impact on La Laguna. On the other hand, scientific experts intend to build a digital twin of the Earth, with the aim of simulating climatic events in order to eradicate some of today’s problems.

Using the digital twin in environmental management can open up great opportunities:

  • Gaining a deeper understanding of climatic events
  • Studying natural disasters
  • Ways to combat climate change
  • Future forecasts of the state of the planet with current information
  • Environmental forecasts for specific areas

In short, the digital twin is at the heart of informed decision-making in a world that is increasingly virtualised and hyper-connected.