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The digital twin era
This year is poised to see the digital twin technology tip into wide adoption across organizations and industries. With utility as a decision-making platform and powering a range of highly customized use cases by industry, digital twins will be a foundational technology of the 2020s.
Digital twin technology enables the creation of a real-time virtual counterpart of something in the physical world. With 20 years of advancements in AI, IoT, and other technologies, digital twins today have far-ranging applications, with potential for every industry. Where once they were mainly used in manufacturing, now a digital twin could be anything from an important component in an industrial plant to a human organ to an organization’s office environment.
With their proven utility in existing industries, digital twins offer the potential to help organizations and society at large navigate upcoming changes to how we work and live. In fact, TCS used a digital twin to help plan the reopening of our offices in the late stages of the pandemic.
As a futurist, I think synthetic biology is one of the most exciting and promising fields for digital twins. Synthetic biology, which involves using biology, engineering, and related disciplines to redesign biological systems, has the potential to massively improve human and animal lives, empowering researchers, scientists, and doctors to experiment and innovate more quickly.
Using AI, VR, and other technologies, TCS’ Digital Skin can emulate the physicochemical properties of human skin and test how new formulations of drugs get transported through epidermal layers, which in the past would usually rely on animal testing. Going a step further, researchers could hypothesize new chemical arrangements and test them much more quickly at scale, leading to results that would be impossible to achieve in the real world.
Beyond the body, digital twins are being used to create smarter, more sustainable cities. The city of Los Angeles is employing digital twin technology to model transportation movement and activity of everything from micro-mobility, ride-sharing, and autonomous drones to better utilize and plan its mobility infrastructure. The city also plans to cut emissions by modeling the financial and technological path to zero carbon emissions for building owners and more.
Digital twins are already helping organizations build better and more sustainable futures for animals, humans, and cities. So, what’s next?