**Is there really such a need to differentiate and, in a sense, more accurately define the term “digital twins”?
In an industry like asset management – whether property, or crucial utility structures such as dams or bridges – the reliance on the ‘digital twin’, despite its varied meaning and the lack of criteria associated with its use, can be dangerous.
Selecting the wrong solution as a result of misconception, can have high costs, negatively impact return on investment, and in extreme cases, endanger the lives of people who live or work around the asset structure.
The true danger of digital twins is multi-level ambiguity
The fact is, the use of some digital twin platforms in asset management is evolutionary – they offer the industry an opportunity to advance, to positively change its practices, and to draw on more informed insights than ever before, when making key decisions.
The use of other digital twin platforms does not. These inferior models, that are not purpose-built, can’t process the extreme volumes of data of superior platforms, and deliver much lower-quality models, resulting in minimally informed decisions, with very questionable accuracy.
The challenge is, both the superior options and the inferior options are called digital twin, despite being vastly different products – and even some of the world’s biggest companies are falling for the promises of the lower-end solutions.
To add to the confusion and clutter, outside of asset management, the term digital twin is used widely as technology companies work to revolutionise everything from healthcare and facilities management, to manufacturing, construction, defence and science.
Digital twin has a different meaning for every industry to which it applies, and within that industry, distinct products exist that are all labelled ‘digital twin’. This is the true danger of multi-level ambiguity: the varied and thus unclear meaning of the term that results in different expectations of output, and the lack of detail in the output itself.
The need for a purpose-built asset inspection ‘digital twin’
In asset management, the concept of digital twins has become popular in recent years, and in fact, they are becoming a crucial tool within the toolbelt of asset owners and managers.
While the move from traditional asset capture for inspection and manual reporting has been gradual, leading asset companies are starting to see incredible value in the opportunity to have vastly more usable asset data, among other benefits.
For asset managers, when introducing technology to streamline and support the evolution of more efficient practices and greater certainty, indisputably, the most important factor is accuracy.
A measurement out by half a metre can cost millions; a defect incorrectly identified (or not at all) can result in injury or irreparable structural damage; an investment purchase decision made on guesswork can destroy companies and super accounts.
The obvious requirement for digital twins to be accurate, and the obvious difficulty in identifying, from 500 million search results, if a particular solution will be, has been undermining the industry, and making even early adaptors reluctant to evolve and turn away from dangerous traditional inspection methods.
In establishing a purpose-built solution for the asset management industry, that leaves the elusive and unclear concept of ‘digital twins’ in the past, the solution is the introduction of a new, and very unambiguous category of digital models, and the software that supports them, created specifically for the needs of this industry.
Precision Reality Twins draw on the concepts promised or asserted by digital twins in asset management, and truly bring them to life…
Stay tuned as we continue to build on this story in the 2nd part of our 3-blog post series on revolutionising digital twins for better asset management.