A digital twin is a virtual duplicate of something physical, whether a person, object, system, or environment. More than just a visual copy, a digital twin is connected to relevant data, so it looks and behaves exactly like its counterpart.
Think of those virtual tours of famous museums that proliferated online during the pandemic. Now imagine that you can get a 360° view of the museum, as you can not only now but also virtually “touch” everything (unlike in most museums, by the way), as well as experience changes in real-time, like say, temporary exhibits, or sunlight, as it falls through the glass Louvre pyramid throughout the day.
Given that understanding of a digital twin, it’s not hard to imagine how the technology can improve customer experience on the frontline. Digital consumers can interact with products, examining them from all angles, testing functionality, and trying on items such as clothes and cosmetics. They can even build digital twins of their own homes, enabling them to place and rearrange furniture, flooring, wallpaper, window treatments, and more. Studies show that such immersive shopping experiences, fueled by augmented/virtual reality, can increase conversion by up to 250%.
Behind the scenes
The potential of digital twins on the backend is even more powerful. Consider a digital twin of your process workflow – by providing the appropriate information; you could run a fast-time simulation of your operations over the next six months, gaining valuable strategic insight on possible problems and opportunities. Digital twinning has already been shown to substantially improve safety training and quality assurance, reduce costs, and increase efficiency. One early-adopter company estimates that its digital twins will deliver billions of dollars in cumulative financial impact over the next decade.
While you may feel it’s a bit early for your company to invest in digital twinning, it’s wise to understand this emergent technology and keep an eye on its ongoing evolution. Eventually, you’ll want to be sure you have enough knowledge to wisely evaluate if, when, how, and with whom you want to incorporate this innovation in your operations.
Who knows? Before long, it may be possible to use a digital twin to determine whether you need a digital twin!