Welcome to Industry 4.0! For most people, these words might be another marketing gimmick. But those in the manufacturing industry understand the pride and fulfillment attached to this milestone that humans have very keenly escalated into reality. It’s as great an achievement as the industrial revolution, which was initially ignited by discovering automation through water and steam. Or perhaps the second advancement of mass production through electricity. After the adaptation of using computers to automate machinery, the fourth industrial development is for those machines to be able to learn and mimic human intelligence. With Digital Twins and AI being a catalyst in the industry’s revolution, it’s only fitting to ask how and why?

What is a digital twin, and what can it do for us?

A digital twin is a digital representation of an object that is either already present in the physical world or maybe brought into it in the future. This digital twin is equipped with the necessary sensors and areas of functionality that would help it replicate the object’s performance as if it were already present here in the physical world. These areas cover the currently ‘hypothetical” object’s different features of physical presence, such as energy levels, temperature, weather conditions, and performance. Once prepared, the digital twin can be used to run simulations, study productivity levels, and the necessary improvements that could be applied to the real object. The big takeaway that you’d receive from digital twins is its ability to provide some valuable insights.

With the manufacturing sector in the driving seat, big businesses worldwide are using digital twins to test the operational performance of a product or service before it’s made. It’s helping them improve the product:

  • Productivity
  • Customer satisfaction post-delivery
  • Quicken up the production time
  • Drop maintenance costs

AI in Digital Twins

Now when we understand the predictability Digital Twins bring into the manufacturing sector, it becomes almost essential to know how AI is the next step that connects this predictability to practicality. Let’s put it this way, when the inventions of humans become too complicated for even humans to process and understand with little turn-around time, humans bought into this world; Artificial intelligence. For a machine to be able to predict and replicate the thought process of a human, it would require a profound level of data and an even deeper understanding of the decision environment that is to be made. This is precisely why Digital Twins and AI come together like two and two, delivering businesses with an extra lens through which they can witness possible product scenarios, uncover where the most significant efficiency lies, or even the missing safety protocols.

The two technologies combined can help manufacturers reach better operational decisions and lead to more outstanding operational excellence, which is the entire crux of Industry 4.0!

Applications of Digital Twins

The application and intelligence of Digital Twins powered with AI aren’t just being utilized in the manufacturing sector; it is helping many industries break chains and reach their respective goals. Here are a few examples:

Retail: Retail is all about customer experience. Digital Twins have the capability of taking the in-store experience up a notch. AI has already made checkouts a piece of cake and heaven for those who’d rather be social with machines than humans. But digital twins, on the other hand, can do much more such as creating virtual twins so they can visually see how a particular fashion item may look on them. They can also help manage security levels and store organization.

Healthcare: With the help of the data obtained through digital twins, we can improve patient monitoring, provide better-personalized services and care, and most of all, foresee diseases thanks to preventative data and take necessary precautions.

City Planning: Imagine if we could plan entire cities and then dissect their inadequacies to rebuild them better. Well, digital twins make this possible. Digital twin models help city planners and policymakers build smarter cities that are economically developed and resourcefully sound, all while reducing carbon footprint.

Automobile industry: If it weren’t already obvious, the automobile sector could quickly analyze a vehicle’s performance, features, and capabilities before it even hits the road. This is thanks to its digital model, which also delivers customized services to its clients.

It’s not all fun and games.

As cool as digital twins and AI sound, especially as they seem so familiar to the world we had envisioned as kids. Of course, technology doesn’t accelerate at the speed we thought it would occur as children, but it definitely made spectacular progress. This progress, however, poses its own set of challenges.

Data Vulnerability

Digital twins work thanks to data collected from numerous different endpoints. Each of these endpoints poses a high risk of threat to any enterprise. It makes data more vulnerable to breaches and raises privacy concerns. Companies thinking of adopting the digital twin technology must look into:

  • Their data encryption
  • Employee accesses – thinking through who and what they have access too
  • The ability to report vulnerabilities when identified (weak points)
  • Scheduling regular security checks/audits

Employee Training

Acquiring any new technology can lead to several in-house problems if the change isn’t made with adequate planning. Working with digital twins would mean training your employees and possibly upskilling them with new technical knowledge and abilities.

Managing Data

What makes digital twins powered with AI successful is their ability to collect data from thousands of sensors and communicate over unknown networks. This means the technology is also susceptible to loading mounts of bad data. Companies should be able to decipher a way to sift through this flawed data and manage gaps in data streaming.

Where are Digital Twins and AI taking us?

With each industry trying to churn out as much profit as possible, digital twins and AI will be a game-changer. They have the capacity to reduce costs through efficient predictability and future forecasting, but they also enable quick decision-making. Such attributes are all essential to capably supporting humans in each industry, un-complicating their lives by the minute. Witness AI’s ability to combine pioneering research with decades of expertise and knowledge through UptimeAI. Trust UptimeAI to aptly picks up inadequacies in your manufacturing plant and equipment. Let identifying areas of growth and improving plant processes be your proof of the limitless possibilities of Artificial Intelligence.

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