What is a Digital Twin?

A digital twin is an abstraction of something in the real world. It may be physical (a device, product, system or other asset) or conceptual (a service, process or notion). A digital twin captures the behavior and attributes of its physical sibling with data and life cycle state changes potentially moving in either, or both, directions.

A digital twin may be used for simulation, as a kind of prototype to understand expected behavior, existing before there is a physical twin. It can also capture real-world behavior so that, for example, analytics and learning can be performed. Digital twins can also be used in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

There may be many instances of the same type, for example several robots or several aircraft engines all conforming to the same specification. And digital twins may be aggregated: the several robots in a factory or the several aircraft engines on an airplane.

Accordingly, digital twin is also a methodology for the rapid creation and control of physical systems that delivers value to the companies employing it.

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