When Tolkien wrote The Two Towers, he deliberately kept the fellowship in pairs. He charted two strategies—either go solo, or go with your best buddy to solve the problems out there. Sometimes the real world isn’t different! SAP and Capgemini have come together with a focus on the Industry 4.0 revolution. The advancement of digital transformation has massive impacts on business as well as technology. It’s obvious—the integration of machines, sensors, software, and technology platforms for the industrial internet has far reaching consequences for everyone in the game. The concept of Digital Twins was among Gartner’s 2017 Top 10 Technology Trends, and since the Digital Twins is a focus area of the Capgemini-SAP joint initiative Fast Digital 4 Discrete Industries (FD4DI), it seemed a perfect opportunity for me to build on the theme.

A simplistic explanation of a Digital Twin is the virtual recreation of the physical product. Applying a semantic perspective to the Digital Twin concept, you’ll find it shares characteristics, some form of parlance, with Cyber-Physical Systems, IoT Manufacturing Analytics and Machine Intelligence. Dr. Michael Grieves’s (Digital Twin: Manufacturing Excellence through Virtual Factory Replication) paper, presented the Digital Twin concept at the turn of the millennium, but it’s the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) that’s making the concept mainstream.

In essence, the convergence of the physical system, the virtual replication, and the information/data that links them both, is the Digital Twin. The Digital Twin helps with the visualization of the entire lifecycle of real-life operations in the digital world. Sensors on the physical product transmit data to its virtual representation/counterpart and sophisticated algorithms optimize product performance to make future predictions of the physical system. With the Digital Twins we can predict the physical world outcomes, help optimize the asset over its lifetime, reduce maintenance costs, reduce downtime, and even build new micro services—based on simulations in the virtual world.


The End-to-End Business Coverage of the Fast Digital 4 Discrete Industries Offering(Source: Capgemini, 2017)

Today, SAP and Capgemini’s SAP Centers of Excellence are uncovering under the Digital Twins, not just the “product,” but the “process” and “service” aspects of the physical system. As part of the FD4DI, in the “IoT Application Enablement” service, Capgemini and SAP are building together offerings, predictive analytics solutions, and software apps on the SAP Cloud Platform (as part of SAP Leonardo Foundation) simulating new business scenarios. Together, we’re helping customers create, test, build, and run the entire lifecycle in a virtual environment. The idea is simple—build the system to perfection virtually and replicate with sensors the physical model tied back to its virtual twin!

Tolkien brilliantly thought of the Two Towers in Gondor and Mordor! Unless the complexity is broken down and understood, rest assured in the Digital Age, you’re lost in the darkness. To know more about The Fast Digital Initiative and our work on the Digital Twins, meet my colleagues Sabrina BartlettArnaud Barbat, and Me, Aditya.