Amplitude offers this helpful chart:
The Economist (in May 2022): “Digital Twins are virtual representations of a component, a device or even an entire production line in a factory. Fed with data from sensors installed on its physical opposite number, the digital version can be used to plan maintenance, spot any emerging problems and simulate the effect of upgrades and design changes. Aircraft engines in particular are followed by their manufacturers in this way. General Electric, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney, the three principal firms involved, maintain simulations of individual engines at engineering centres on the ground. These suck in real-time data from their counterparts in the air. At Cranfield University, in Britain, however, a group of engineers hope to go further than this. They propose expanding the idea of digital twinning to produce what they rather grandiosely refer to as a “conscious aircraft”. This would involve creating a digital twin of an entire plane by merging its various monitoring systems, and interpreting the result using artificial intelligence (AI).”
ChatGPT provides a list of use cases for digital twins.
- Manufacturing: This is one of the earliest adopters of digital twin technology. It’s used to optimize production processes, troubleshoot problems, predict equipment failures, and reduce downtime. A digital twin of a manufacturing process can simulate different scenarios and their outcomes, enabling more efficient production planning.
- Aerospace and Defense: Digital twins have been used to design, simulate, and maintain complex systems such as aircraft and spacecraft. They can also provide real-time diagnostics, predictive maintenance, and performance optimization of these complex machines.
- Automotive: In the automotive industry, digital twins are used for virtual testing of vehicle designs before physical prototypes are built. This can save time and resources by identifying potential issues early in the design process. They can also be used for predictive maintenance of vehicles.
- Energy and Utilities: Digital twins can simulate and monitor energy generation and distribution systems like power plants, solar farms, and electrical grids. They can be used to optimize energy generation and distribution, improve sustainability, and anticipate and solve potential issues before they occur.
- Healthcare and Biomedical: Digital twins are being used to model human physiology in detail, which can be used for personalized medicine, testing treatments, or studying diseases. They can also be used for hospital management to optimize operations and patient care.
- Smart Cities: Cities are using digital twins to simulate traffic patterns, utilities, and public services. This can help city planners optimize infrastructure, improve sustainability, and plan for various scenarios such as natural disasters or large public events.
- Supply Chain and Logistics: Digital twins can simulate and monitor every aspect of a supply chain, from manufacturing to delivery. This can be used for optimizing logistics, predicting potential disruptions, and improving efficiency.
- Construction and Infrastructure: Digital twins of buildings or infrastructure projects can be used to improve the design process, simulate different construction strategies, monitor the health of the structure, and manage maintenance tasks.
- Oil and Gas: Digital twins can be used for the design and operation of oil and gas equipment and facilities. They can simulate and predict the performance of oil wells, pipelines, and refineries under various conditions.
- Retail and E-commerce: Digital twins can model customer behavior, optimize store layouts, improve supply chain management, and enhance the overall customer experience.