Let’s Get Physical

Time to get horizontal. To integrate the physical and virtual worlds, that is. With potentially every “thing” equipped with sensors, computing power and network connectivity, you can envision a model—or a “digital twin”—of anything in your system. It will supply the business with a radically different perspective on how to develop, operate, monitor, and service physical assets. And it has the potential to open up entirely new revenue streams. With a new, true “infostructure” that enables digital twins to be precise, trustworthy models of their physical equivalents, there is nothing that keeps the real and the IT worlds from getting really intimate.


  • The Internet of Things (IoT) brings a rich infrastructure that connects physical assets to IT systems, often in real-time. This enables the building of virtual models of these assets that not only reflect their current situation, but can also predict their future state and their interactions with other assets
  • These Digital Twins pop up in all major industries, notably in manufacturing, where the Industry 4.0 initiative envisions the merger of operational technology and information technology
  • Producers of physical assets move to create software platforms to model and develop with Digital Twins



  • Industry 4.0 describes a digital infrastructure in which machines, factories, supply chains, and products are equipped with real-time, “smart” IQ, which improves autonomy, productivity, and quality
  • GE Aviation built the Configuration Data Exchange: a real-time dissemination and integration of digital twin configuration data and exchange of essential operations, maintenance, environmental and event information
  • “Smart” cities are increasing their IQ as well: in Auckland (NZ), sensors in the street lights monitor traffic, and by applying analytics to the collected data, the city is better positioned to manage traffic congestion.



  • Optimize the management and servicing of physical assets through predictive analytics, for example 
  • Improve business processes and activities that could benefit from a real-time connection to physical assets, for route optimization or customer experience
  • Adding value to physical products, by providing usage analytics to customers
  • New business models through the monetization of IoT



Associated experts

  • Nick Callanan
    Infrastructure Transformation & Infrastructure Delivery, United Kingdom