- Half of organizations using the Internet of Things are deploying, or plan to deploy, digital twins in 2018, according to a Gartner survey of more than 200 respondents already working on delivering IoT solutions. The number of digital twin deployments or projects is expected to triply by 2022.
- A "virtual counterpart to a real object," digital twins are finding homes in manufacturing and other industrial environments, according to Gartner. The analyst firm predicts at least 50% of manufacturers bringing in more than $5 billion in revenue will use at least one digital twin for "products or assets."
- Promises of digital counterparts aside, companies face hurdles with deploying digital twins. IoT already poses data management challenges, but to make digital twins effective, organizations will have to integrate data from many different sources. Companies will also have to ensure the construction and modification of digital models are well documented, standardizing models so a variety of users can work with and understand the twins.
While there is promise in IoT for organizations looking to create a smarter, more intuitive workplace, the true value for many companies will stem from digital twins. By duplicating machines' capabilities digitally, companies can quickly work to assess health, identify flaws and repair.
A digital twin could be anything, from buildings and factories to ships and trucks. By creating digital twins, organizations can understand long-term wear and tear in addition to identifying how flaws might persist.
Take a truck's engine, for example. If a long-haul truck were to break down in the field, a company could send a mechanic equipped with a digital twin to make repairs. Rather than taking apart the entire engine, a mechanic could hone in on the flaw, potentially reducing the time a truck is out of commission.
As more organizations employ IoT, the need for digital twins increases. Walmart is one of many retailers harnessing IoT for facilities, deploying IoT sensors in refrigerators in 5,000 stores to help detect food spoilage.