Digital Twins – Smart Cities DNA

Described by experts as the “third wave” of the internet, Digital Twins are one of the most important technologies of our time. They are also the DNA for Smart Cities. Let’s dive into this promising technology changing cities and the world.

John Thornhill from the Financial Times said in The birth of ‘digital twins’ will transform our world: “Digital Twins represent the third wave of the internet, after search and social media. The online world will evolve from a consumer internet to an enterprise internet, profoundly affecting the way we run roads, railways, airports, mines, factories, hospitals, power plants, distribution centers, construction projects and cities.” 

The concept of the Digital Twin dates back to a University of Michigan presentation to industry in 2002 for the formation of a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) center.

In a research by Dr. Michael Grieves and John Vickers: “The PLM or Product Lifecycle Management in the title meant that this was not a static representation, but that the two systems would be linked throughout the entire lifecycle of the system. The virtual and real systems would be connected as the system went through the four phases of creation, production (manufacture), operation (sustainment/support), and disposal.”

The premise driving the model was that each system consisted of two systems, the physical system that has always existed and a new virtual system that contained all of the information about the physical system. This meant that there was a mirroring or twinning of systems between what existed in real space to what existed in virtual space and vice versa.

Digital Twin Market Basis Tech

What is a Digital Twin?

A digital twin is a method where complex systems and processes are developed or monitored using a digital equivalent of the physical system. This means that digital twins are the virtual replicas of physical devices, buildings, structures that data scientists and IT pros can use to run simulations before actual things are built and deployed.

They are key in 4IR and the technology behind digital twins has expanded to include large items such as buildings, factories and even cities, and some have said people and processes can have digital twins, expanding the concept even further. Digital twin technology has moved beyond manufacturing and into the merging worlds of the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and data analytics. As more complex “things” become connected with the ability to produce data, having a digital equivalent gives data scientists and other IT professionals the ability to optimize deployments for peak efficiency and create other what-if scenarios.

The digital twin concept consists of 3 parts: the physical product, the digital/virtual product, and connections between the two products. Digital Twins incorporates different technologies, including Big Data, AI, Machine Learning (ML) & IOTs.

Digital twin is key to the development of Industry 4.0 to provide automation, data exchange and joined-up manufacturing processes as well as de-risking product rollout. Industry employees are able to monitor operations in real time, providing prior alerts of possible failures and allowing for real time performance optimisation and assessment with minimal loss of productivity.

Among the benefits of using digital twins we find that this tech provides detailed information about large collections of key data assets in an industrial city project landscape. Likewise, they expand a culture of data-analytics based decision-making, thus supporting all ways to continuously improve performance.

Major companies in the Digital twin market: General Electric (US), IBM (US), PTC (US), Microsoft Corporation (US), Siemens AG (Germany), ANSYS (US), SAP (Germany), Oracle (US), Robert Bosch (Germany), SWIM.AI (US), ZenithCities (US).

Digital Twin Industry Sectors

Digital Twins And Smart Cities

Our planet must accommodate around 10,000 new cities by 2050, to keep pace with the projected population explosion. As these cities grow, so does the demand for better and more efficient services.

Digital twin Tech will allow more informed decisions, increased operational efficiency, and mitigated risks for smart cities. Digital Twins will help solve with data major public health, safety, mobility, property & environmental issues. Digital twins tech will allow cities to react in real time to such freak weather events, but also to test an infinite number of potential future emergencies.

The Smart Cities Market will be worth $820.7 billion by 2025 while the global digital twin market size was valued at USD 3.1 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 48.2 billion by 2026.

Digital twins are immensely valuable for planners, city authorities, extending access to all smart cities stakeholders that can increase engagement in smart city projects, that is why digital twins tech will play a key role in the creation of smart cities around the world.

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