Gartner attributes this rapid growth in adoption of digital twins to extensive marketing and education by technology vendors.
Digital twins are slowly entering mainstream use, reveals a Gartner survey which found that 75 per cent of organizations implementing Internet of Things (IoT) projects already use digital twins or plan to deploy it within a year.
According to the survey report, 13 per cent of organizations implementing IoT projects already use digital twins, while 62 per cent are either in the process of establishing digital twin use or plan to do so.
Gartner defines a digital twin as a software design pattern that represents a physical object with the objective of understanding the asset’s state, responding to changes, improving business operations and adding value.
“The results — especially when compared with past surveys — show that digital twins are slowly entering mainstream use,” said Benoit Lheureux, research vice president at Gartner.
“We predicted that by 2022, over two-thirds of companies that have implemented IoT will have deployed at least one digital twin in production. We might actually reach that number within a year,” he added.
Factors leading to growth in digital twin adoption
Gartner attributes this rapid growth in adoption of digital twins to extensive marketing and education by technology vendors. It is also because digital twins are delivering business value and have become part of enterprise IoT and digital strategies, the research firm noted.
“We see digital twin adoption in all kinds of organizations. However, manufacturers of IoT-connected products are the most progressive, as the opportunity to differentiate their product and establish new service and revenue streams is a clear business driver,” Lheureux asserted.
A key factor for enterprises implementing IoT is that their digital twins serve different constituencies inside and outside the enterprise. Nearly a third of the respondents stated that either most or all their digital twins served multiple constituencies.
For example, the constituencies of a connected car digital twin can include the manufacturer, a customer service provider and the insurance company, each with a need for different IoT data.
“These findings show that digital twins serve a wide range of business objectives. Designers of digital twins should keep in mind that they will probably need to accommodate multiple data consumers and provide appropriate data access points,” said Lheureux.
Digital twins are often integrated with each other
For organizations that have multiple digital twins deployed, Gartner suggests integrating them.
Despite this setup being very complex, the survey found that 61 percent of companies that have implemented digital twins have already integrated at least one pair of digital twins with each other and 74 per cent of organizations that have not yet integrated digital twins are planning to do so in the next five years.
“What we see here is that digital twins are increasingly deployed in conjunction with other digital twins for related assets or equipment,” said Lheureux.
“However, true integration is still relatively complicated and requires high-order integration and information management skills. The ability to integrate digital twins with each other will be a differentiating factor in the future, as physical assets and equipment evolve,” he added.