According to Gartner Research, a Digital Twin is: “a digital representation of a real-world entity or system. The implementation of a digital twin is an encapsulated software object or model that mirrors a unique physical object, process, organization, person or other abstraction. Data from multiple digital twins can be aggregated for a composite view across a number of real-world entities, such as a power plant or a city, and their related processes”.
In other words, its pretty much anything you want it to be, whatever works for the executive of your organisation! More practically, the essence is somewhere between an operating model and a simulation. An operating model represents operational aspects of a business, which might include libraries of example data – its essentially static. A Digital Twin takes that operating model and using example data, becomes dynamic meaning you can interact with it to a point. Simulation walks that last mile and uses real data copied or live, so that interacting can be truly real-time and dynamic. An example was many years ago building a simulator for training train-drivers. It used real video, signalling systems and threats, so a trainee could learn from experience from a highly accurate representation. One decision to take is how detailed an operating model, Digital-Twin or simulation will be. Broadly, more detail equals more cost. However, with the main cost being doing-anything, the marginal cost for a detailed model maybe be disproportionally worth-while as a tool to work with.
We run a free session on using Digital Twins and simulation if you want to know more.