The Digital Twin is:
...a data activation platform
The common definition for the Digital Twin is "a digital replica of a physical thing".
Sure, that's what it is. But what does it do? That's what really matters, right?
Well, it activates data, to power better decision making. And given its capability (see below), it helps you do more with less. And do that in a more engaging and transparent way.
So, let's not undersell the Digital Twin by calling it a digital replica of a physical thing.
While it can provide a digital representation of an asset, place or even a city - its the data that supercharges its value, and lights up your project with insights, scenarios and representations like no other platform.
As a minimum, a Digital Twin must ingest the following data sets:
Geometric and graphical data
Geospatial reference data
Asset attributes (natural, physical, social, economic)
Real-time asset performance and utilisation data.
And finally, a Digital Twin is not a Digital Twin until it provides the following minimum five (5) capabilities:
Connected - there is a 'live' connection between the digital replica and the physical world
Integrated - it checks and links multiple data sources
Visualise - it provides visualisation of real-time multisource data
Analysis - federated data sets can be processed, modeled, analysed and simulated
Secure - information is managed in a way that reduces its risk of being compromised
The economic benefits of digital twins, smart cities and emerging digital technologies are considerable. The global digital twin market is projected to be US$29.1 billion (AU$43.3 billion) by 2025.
In Australia, emerging digital technologies such as IoT and big data are predicted to increase our annual GDP growth rate by 0.5 to 1.0 percent, and the aggregate direct and indirect value of government data in Australia was AU$25 billion per annum in 2014.
In addition to the financial benefits of using a Digital Twin to activate data, there are benefits to the environment (reduced greenhouse gas emissions), the community (enhanced engagement) and democracy (greater transparency and trust).
There are multiple ways you can realise the benefits of a Digital Twin.
But first, we recommend you have a strategy.
Assess the application of a digital twin for your project
Produce a strategic business case
Provide a delivery strategy
Produce a full business case
Develop a detailed implementation and procurement plan.
But before you dive in and create a strategy, educate yourself! - spend time to understand the benefits and align your data and information management strategy with Digital Twin opportunities.
And make sure you engage with industry-led credible Digital Twin education, networking and research opportunities, such as the National Digital Twin Symposium hosted by the Smart Cities Council every year.