Digital Twins – 3
Unity offers use cases from retail:
- Design and planning – Create 3D virtual stores to visualize and simulate the optimal experience prior to construction; utilize planograms and store planning applications to maximize space, improve efficiency, and collaborate remotely.
- Sales and marketing – From integrating 3D assets into e-commerce sites to creating virtual showrooms in VR, retailers can use digital twins to increase conversion and make purchase decisions more accurate, which limits returns and mitigates the environmental footprint of e-commerce.
- Operations – Digital twins of product SKUs and stores can assist in the development of myriad applications to improve operational efficiency, from autonomous checkout to intelligent in-store navigation.
From “New Paradigm of Data-Driven Smart Customisation through Digital Twin”: “Big data is one of the most important resources for the promotion of smart customisation. With access to data from multiple sources, manufacturers can provide on-demand and customised products. However, existing research of smart customisation has focused on data generated from the physical world, not virtual models. As physical data is constrained by what has already occurred, it is limited in the identification of new areas to improve customer satisfaction. A new technology called digital twin aims to achieve this integration of physical and virtual entities. Incorporation of digital twin into the paradigm of existing data-driven smart customisation will make the process more responsive, adaptable and predictive. This paper presents a new framework of data-driven smart customisation augmented by digital twin.”
A research paper published in May 2022 summarises applications of digital twins across industries. From the section on retail: “The retail sector includes all the stores and shops that sell the products or goods to the consumer/customer directly. The success of any retail business depends on its customer base; attracting new customers is not enough, and maintaining/sustaining the existing ones by providing the best customer support is equally important. Digital Twin [DT] technology in the retail sector offers great potential in terms of consumer experience and marketing. By creating a DT of the customer, retail shops will be able to provide a unique and tailored customer experience based on customers’ patterns of interest. Customer satisfaction can be enhanced further by providing them with relevancy-based suggestions based on their DT without irritating them with multiple recommendations. DT technology enables retailers to turn their products into a dynamic platform that continuously acquires data regarding customers’ needs and buying behavior in order to provide them with better products and services. Combining the data from a customer’s DT with machine learning to understand the customer’s behavior will be beneficial for the customers as well as the retailers.” From one of the referenced papers: “With digital twins, consumer activities can be monitored through their online personas or avatars in online stores and social media. While they represent limited information about an individual, it is likely personal avatars will become an important element to retail in the future through the further development of sophisticated digital assistants.”
Can we create a mirror world with digital twins of customers and predict (probabilistically) what each of them is likely to do next? This is the idea I call “iDarpan”.
Before I get to iDarpan, I want to take a small detour to mention a book I came across recently. Here is its beautiful cover:
From the book’s introduction: “Just as great medieval cathedrals were raised by architects, masons, geometers and bishops to give humankind a glimpse of the infinite, supercomputers are the cathedrals of the information age, where novel worlds of endless variety, even entire universes, can be simulated within these great engines of logic, algorithms and information. You can also re-create the inner worlds of the human body, and not just any body, or an average body, but a particular person, from their tissues and organs down to the molecular machines at work within their cells, their component proteins along with their DNA. The eventual aim of this endeavour is to capture life’s rhythms, patterns and disorders in a computer, not just of any life or an average life, but of one particular body and one particular life—yours.” More: “If we are to create digital twins, how well do we have to know ourselves? To create Virtual You, we need to understand how much data and what kinds are sufficient for a digital twin to be animated by a computer. As Aristotle once remarked, knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
The same can be said about the “Virtual You” in marketing and iDarpan.