What is a Digital Twin and why you need one. (2/3)

Today, in our weekly series, we explore Beamo's own digital twin definition and why the physical space is such a vital part of it.

This article is the second part of a weekly series about the digital twin technology. What is the digital twin definition, what is Beamo's take on it and why do you even need one. Today we explore Beamo's own definition of the digital twin and why physical space is such a vital part of it.

In my prior blog, I shared that the distinction between asset, process and system was as malleable as the will of the digital twin’s owner. This week without further ado, we go over what we believe is our own interpretation of the digital twin definition.

Part II - Beamo’s take on the digital twin.

Last week, we willingly agreed with the Digital Twin Consortium’s digital twin definition. Now is time to bring our own tweak, as follows:

A digital twin is a virtual replica of a physical space synchronized at a specified frequency and fidelity.

Indeed, the physical spatial component plays a major role in the digital twin definition. An asset, process and system can be mimicked by a space with a specific location, the rest is a representation of the mind projected onto it. That is also why we prefer the word replica as the term implies more an exact copy, and representation more a depiction. To us, a Digital Twin is just that – an exact digital copy of a physical space.

From our perspective, the physical space must preexist the digital twin (so the twin is actually a twin and not a model) even if we understand the seductive aspect of owning a digital twin during the planning phase.

Comparably, it can be argued that at the end of the space lifecycle, the digital twin should not survive the physical space but we believe that survival is beneficial to createa corporate time capsule that can be opened back for various purposes.

This leads to the second part of the definition, the synchronization between physical and virtual and its frequency, a point with which we could not agree more. Depending on the type of assets that you are managing, having full real-time and bidirectional data flow and interaction between physical and digital is 99% of the time overkill and actually prevents smaller entities from successfully implementing and maintaining their digital twin ambitions. This aspect should also be defined by the end-user and the objectives at stake.

And this is where most of the digital twins fail, it takes expertise and time to create or capture, a long time to process and perfect… and as soon as it is ready, it is already outdated. As a matter of fact, a digital twin’s visual aspect must be updatable at will, like pushing a refresh button. The frequency will differ if you are monitoring a construction site, a modular factory floor, or an office building. Once a day, once a week, once a month, it is up to you but you must have the tools to do it yourself or have someone onsite to do it for you, without expertise required.

So what am I saying here? Well – simply put, there are three things that characterize digital twins:

  • They are replicas of physical spaces, created in three dimensions; they are not models.
  • They are synchronized with their physical counterparts with a degree of frequency that maintains their fidelity across time, otherwise, they go stale.
  • They are captured at the highest fidelity possible, creating an exact replica of the physical space, without compromise.

Now that we have the definition out of the way, will you join me next week when I dig into why you even need a digital twin?

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