Digital Twin FAQs

What is a Digital Twin?

While the concept of a digital twin has been around since 1950s, it’s only thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) that it has become cost-effective to implement. And, it is so imperative to business today, it was named one of Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017.

Quite simply, a digital twin is a virtual model of a process, product or service. This pairing of the virtual and physical worlds allows analysis of data and monitoring of systems to head off problems before they even occur, prevent downtime, develop new opportunities and even plan for the future by enabling simulations.

The digital twin brings data from various different source together and orchestrates them into a single coherent model that is easy to understand. It shows the process, product or service in context in other words as you would see it in the real world but adds visualizations, data overlays and other 'super powers' so you can see what it happening behind the scenes. This can be obvious elements like performance or more difficult and complex things like risk or remaining useful life forecasting.

How does a Digital Twin work?

Think of a digital twin as a bridge between the physical and digital world.

First, data such as sensors, logistics, materials, 3D shape and finances are gathered to show a real-time status, working condition, or position of the physical item. The components are connected to a cloud-based system that receives and processes all the data that is monitored. This input is analyzed against business and other contextual data.

Lessons are learned and opportunities are uncovered within the virtual environment that can be applied to the physical world — ultimately to transform your business.

What can a Digital Twin be used for?

While a digital twin can be used for almost any business or use case. SEKAI focuses on asset intensive industries such as smart cities, factories and power stations. These are areas where the business need to manage hundreds of thousands of assets in coordination with a specific set of goals or tasks.

Within this scope the digital twin can be used for many applications just a few are outlined below:

  • Performance Optimization
  • Knowledge Capture
  • Remaining useful life analysis
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Training
  • Site Planning
  • Remote maintenance
  • Remote support
  • Field maintenance data capture

What is the difference between a Digital Twin and a simulation?

This is a common question we get about Digital Twins because on face face value both a simulation and Digital Twin look similar. The main and most significant difference is that a Digital Twin is driven my live, real data from the real world and simulation is driven my some set of data typically generated by a machine. The Digital Twin deals with processes and data outside of the scope of a simulation such as profitability, governance and represented a tool to manage not only a tool to forecast. SEKAI considers simulation data an input into a live Digital Twin.

How long does it take to build a Digital Twin?

Digital Twins can have a very involved development process, this is one of the reason we have created the Digital KAIZEN methodology to assist in the guidance of the such projects. This said, in many cases we begin with a minimum viable twin (MVT) development in order to build a basic understanding for what a Digital Twin can do for an organization. These MVTs can take as little as 3 month and typically run for about 6 to 9 months.

Why do you need a special platform to create a Digital Twin?

The idea of building a Digital Twin might sound quite straight forward, but the ingestion and orchestration of data from so many systems is often the biggest barrier to starting with a Digital Twin. The SEKAI platform makes the ingestion process fast and painless allowing an organization to get past these barriers quickly and demonstrate proof-of-value in months instead of years.