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2022 - Technology Trends: Digital Twin - potential game changer for safety & security Industry

What is Digital Twin and what’s all this buzz around it?Digital-twin-big-data

Digital twin is a technology or a model that connects the dots between Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data.

To put it simply, a Digital Twin is a virtual or a digital representation of real-world things such as places, processes, and people. Digital Twin as a term was first coined in 2002, however as a concept it was already in practice across different industries with different names like 3D models, network and system monitoring systems, and security management systems.  

The digital revolution, with a significant increase in connectivity, is having a very direct impact in the ability of businesses to leverage Digital Twin in terms of extracting more value.

Today, businesses and governments are fast adapting Digital Twin given the opportunity it represents. By estimates, the Digital Twin market is valued at $3.1 billion today and is projected to reach $48.2 billion by 2026 (Source: Digital twin Market Size Global forecast to 2026 | Markets and Markets™)

What is its history? What is new about it today?

Digital Twin as a technology went through different stages of maturity, with each stage offering unique values for businesses. The illustration below visualizes these different stages from a timing perspective.

The first three maturity stages here are what I would categorize as the classical data modeling and analysis stage. The real new value with Digital Twin systems starts with the fourth stage, and I would summarize its impact on the following three areas:

  • Big Data – A Significant increase in our ability to capture high amounts of data from sensors, databases, etc.
  • AI – Increased ability to analyze/model data and take actions based on the analysis.
  • Interoperability -Improved ability to connect digital twin to other, and larger ecosystems and hence create greater shared value.

What is the purpose that it aims to serve?

The aim of digital twin is to assist in decision-making for different use cases, which also drives value creation. Some use-cases where we see early leverage of digital twin include:

  • Emissions ReductionClick to open a full size image
  • Safer Transportation
  • Improving an individual’s well-being
  • Increase Efficiency
  • Waste Reduction
  • Traffic flow improvement
  • Accident Reduction
  • Production Optimization

Examples of digital twin solutions in safety and security?

In the context of safety and security, I expect early adaption of digital twin technologies towards smart buildings and smart cities.

A digital twin of a smart building is more than just a digital replica of the building’s structure. It includes many different variables such as location, assets, people, data for the past, present, and futDigital_Twin_image_3ure events related to the building and its environment. This will allow digital twin to help companies with situational awareness, the ability to take actions to reduce and mitigate security and safety threats, optimize operations, and more.

For additional examples of digital twin in smart buildings and smart cities you can check these links: Marketplace | Willow (willowinc.com) and Council of Cities - Open Agile Smart Cities (oascities.org).

What are the unknowns or challenges with digital twins?

The challenges and unknowns for digital twin are no different from what other emerging technologies have faced. Some of the usual ones include:

  • Gaining Trust as a Technology: Trust in the digital twin technology to deliver the due dividends will be critical for its adaption.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Dealing with data is relatively a new territory both for the regulators as well as for the industry players. For digital twin to be a success it will be critical that it remains compliant to regulations, such as privacy or GDPR. On the other hand, regulations also will need to evolve with the technology to ensure that the process for value creation is not compromised.
  • Dealing with Ethical Dilemmas: It is important that digital twin as a technology evolves to deal with situations and scenarios that meet ethical standards.
  • Our ability to optimize larger interconnected systems is in its infancy stage. For digital twin, interoperability is the key. In complex systems, different digital twin variables (people, structures, assets) must connect, as there is a clear need for more complex interactions between these variables to drive value creation.
  • Industry must regulate itself. It is important that industry moves to a common ground and develops templates and standards to drive scalability and greater, faster adaption for digital twin technology.

What does Zenitel see its role as digital twin technology adaption increases?

Zenitel sees its participation in a digital twin ecosystem through some of its solutions, such as IP speakers, intercoms, and public address/voice alarm systems. I believe our solutions will support digital twin by providing data/events that will allow businesses to further enhance their safety and security capabilities in different use cases such as access control, parameter management, emergency response, and more.

We are ensuring that our solutions and systems have the necessary connectors that feed digital twin with events and data. For example, our range of IP devices has built-in hardware acceleration for edge AI, allowing better control of data to be kept private or to be shared with the digital twin.


About the Zenitel CTOZenitel Thomas Haegh 1024

Thomas Hægh joined Zenitel in 2003 and became CTO in 2009. He received his masters degree in electrical engineering in 1994 from Norwegian Institute of Technology.

Thomas has 25+ years experience in hardware and software design developing IP communication solutions.

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