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.

What

  • 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

 

Use

  • 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.

 

Impact

  • 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

 

Tech

Associated experts

  • Nick Callanan
    Infrastructure Transformation & Infrastructure Delivery, United Kingdom