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Why we need to embrace Digital Twins in times of Coronavirus

Digital Twins, which are virtual replicas of physical things, are making their way into the business world right along with other technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain. But how do these virtual models fit into the current context, as COVID-19 is changing our lives?

Eric Harper, Senior Principal Scientist at ABB Future Labs, and Brad Klenz, Distinguished IoT Analytics Architects at SAAS make it clear:

“This is a time to experiment with the Digital Twins technology as it’s enabling to reinforce remote work while on lockdown. In fact, power visualization, better interoperability and IoT sensors as well as software and platforms are enabling the creation of simulations that are more and more detailed and dynamic. Hence, there’s a strong opportunity in using them “not to get left behind.”

Moderated by Teresa Tung, Managing Director at Accenture Labs, the two experts delivered a free live webinar, titled Embracing Digital Twins:

“Now is the Time, in which they commented on some of the current uses of Digital Twins in the Smart Buildings sector to manage not only confort and energy efficiency but also health issues, in the shipping sector to maintain ships at sea and make sure things are delivered on time, and more widely in the supply chain.”

Harper explained that ABB’s simulation and offline programming software RobotStudio “is modelling everything to advance” projects and that daily work goes on as if everyone was “sitting in the same office” thanks to the ABB VirtualController. In this light, Klenz stressed the need “to act on data in real time” and Teresa Tung highlighted that “integration is key”.

But what does this mean? Realizing Digital Twins’ full promise may require integrating systems and data across entire ecosystems. And yes, this is qite a challenge. But, as Harper put it, “now we do have this sense of urgency to change things”.

This virtual discussion about Digital Twins was the first of a series of webinars that the IOTSWC and the Industrial Internet Consortium are offering to get ready for the post-COVID world and make better use of the opportunities arising from this new scenario.

By Anna Solana