A digital twin is a virtual replica of a physical system that can model, simulate, monitor, analyze, and constantly optimize the physical world. For example, in retail, digital twins may be useful in the supply chain and in store. To create supply chain simulations, retailers may use real-time sensor and equipment data.
And in utilities, water utility organizations use digital twins to ensure an uninterrupted water supply and to ensure they are prepared for emergency situations. With digital replicas, since they receive input from the physical environment they’re emulating, companies can get an accurate assessment of how the current water system behaves, identify problems before they happen, and simulate what-if scenarios.
Capgemini’s recent study, which surveyed 1,000 organizations globally, highlights that Canadian businesses are looking at digital twins to improve their sustainability. The survey revealed that 54 per cent agree that improving sustainability is a key driver of their digital twin implementations. Half of respondents believe that digital twins will help in achieving their organization’s environmental sustainability goals.
For example, the Capgemini report notes that the company Siemens, in one of its projects with a German city of about 200,000 residents, modelled the city’s energy demand and infrastructure using a digital twin and found that cutting emissions by 70 per cent by 2035 would be a feasible target.
In another example, within the automotive industry, digital twins can aid the design and testing process and reduce waste by ensuring physical versions of vehicles are correct the very first time.
The survey also showed that over half of Canadian companies agree on digital twins promoting safety and sustainability. Additionally, 58 per cent see digital twins as a way to increase employee safety, 56 per cent say digital twins improve sustainability efforts, and 52 per cent agree that digital twins improve reputation among current and prospective employees.
Canadian organizations who’ve implemented ongoing digital twin programs are seeing benefits. For example, organizations with ongoing digital twin programs have seen improved customer engagement and satisfaction, improved sustainability, and an increase in operational efficiency.
However, Canadian companies do face a few challenges with digital twin deployment. Thirty seven per cent say lack of a vision for digital continuity is a challenge when implementing digital twins.
About 30 per cent of respondents are reporting a lack of management commitment to the digital twin initiatives and 54 per cent report lack of investment and a lack of digital continuity across systems and processes.