Digital Twins (DT) bring a data-driven approach to asset management. They can be applied across multiple industries, including real estate development, manufacturing, energy and utilities, and pharmaceuticals and healthcare. DTs enable users to scale up the use of data and simulations in relation to the operation of physical assets, with exponential benefits in terms of the number of simulations that can be run at the same time and the accuracy of such simulations.
As a result, users are able to identify potential maintenance risks and failures and take corrective action, reducing the level of expenses and the risk of time-consuming failures and serious repairs. Another use case is in the energy sector, where DTs can be used to identify optimal operating conditions and layouts for varying energy generation plants, including wind farms, solar power plants, and thermal power plants.
Since the days of the Apollo program, the application of DTs has spread to other sectors, including automotive, construction, industrials, and power and utilities. The main appeal of DTs is their ability to assist companies to enhance process efficiency to drive down operational costs and time to market and stay on top of evolving consumer needs.
We have identified key DT use cases below:
Incumbents remain the largest players in the Digital Twin industry, as the capital-intensive nature of the current tech makes it challenging for disruptors to scale up. However, as technology becomes more affordable, more disruptors are launching their own DT platforms and solutions.
From a segmental perspective, maintenance and monitoring remains the largest segment, both in terms of disruptors and incumbents. This is primarily due to a clearer value proposition to customers for this use case based on existing examples across industries.
Most incumbents in the Digital Twin space have been focused on Maintenance and Monitoring segment, and are already offering solutions to customers in this segment. General Electric and Siemens stand out as two of the leading players in this space, supported by Big Tech companies such as Amazon and Microsoft which offer technology services in support of DTs.
In terms of activity types, incumbents primarily rely on partnerships for innovation in their products and services, followed by investments and acquisitions to bring innovative companies under their internal innovation units. The impact of this can be seen in the in-house development at key incumbents, which are developing the tools that can be used by customers seeking to implement DTs.