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Digital Twins: Two of a Kind

Exploring how digital twins are shaping our digital fabric and engineering future.

So, What Exactly Are Digital Twins?
There’s a lot of talk about them. Companies are opening up new business lines around them. IoT (Internet of Things) rangers are planning on their success. But what exactly are digital twins, anyhow?

“At first, [digital twin] sounds like something from a Factory-of-the-Future display at a trade show where you navigate through a 3D model of a factory with [augmented reality] glasses while a robot with a British accent calmly warns you of a pending explosion,” says Michael Kanellos, IoT technology analyst at OSIsoft. “But the bells and whistles aren’t necessary.

“A digital twin is merely what occurs when you combine all of the relevant data streams from an asset or facility in a way that allows a technician or engineer see what’s going on and solve problems,” Kanellos continues. “Think of digital twin as the equivalent of an EKG [electrocardiogram] for equipment or facilities. It takes technology to synthesize and visualize the data, but the technology exists. Data is often there and being collected at facilities. It’s just not being fit together so people can understand it and act on it quickly. That’s what the digital twin does.”

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