Digital Twin: What is it , for what ?
The “DIgital Twin” concept has gained a large publicity over the past few years. But, what is it exactly and what purpose does it serve?
The Digital twin is a computer-based representation of an environment, used for understanding and predicting the evolution of this environment. Unlike a 3D picture which gives a static view of the environment, the digital twin is like a movie, which establishes a real-time coupling between the physical and digital worlds, thanks to the permanent synchronization of the data provided by various sources, whether open data, private data or connected objects.
The Digital Twin approach has proven particularly well suited to analyse and manage complex, multi-stakeholders ‘environments, such as cities and territories, global production chains in the private sector or even to reproduce the functioning of biological functions. Digital Twins bring several advantages, including the ability to track with high precision the evolution of an environment, to test courses of action in the virtual environment when it cannot be done physically and overall considerably reducing the cost to manage, orient and leverage the resources of the environment.
The human side of Digital Twins, less publicized, is critical to its well-functioning. At the basis of a Digital Twin is a model of the environment, which itself needs to be constructed by various stakeholders with different , complementary perspectives. For example the Digital Twin model of a city or an area would need to bring together experts on building, parks, distribution networks. This grouping of resources to build a unified framework is as important as the technology to meet the final goal which is to manage at bets the resources of the environment for commonly accepted goals.
Definitively, Digital Twin is as much about people, diverse opinions and consensus building as about technology.