Digital twins, virtual replicas of physical objects, processes, or systems that are used to simulate, predict, and improve real-world activities, will revolutionize homes, workplaces, communities, and even healthcare in the coming years, based on findings from TCS Futurists and a network of their peers.
The results, the inaugural Digital Twindex, demonstrate the potential for digital twin technology to shape the next decade and beyond.
Preparing the index
The Digital Twindex has been prepared by TCS Futurists based on a study conducted in the Delphi Technique, which is used in Foresight to reduce bias and reach consensus around both quantitative and qualitative questions.
Participants in the study, which included scientists, futurists, and subject matter experts from across TCS’ networks, were asked to rate how soon widespread digital twin adoption would occur across industries and society at large and answer open-ended questions around the impact and risk of digital twin technologies.
TCS’ Futurists are responsible for engaging with C-suite executives, especially Chief Innovation Officers, and business unit leads to help them understand and prepare for future risks and opportunities. As an emerging technology that is already providing value to organizations, and that has the potential to change humanity in the future, digital twins have been a key area of research and investment for TCS.
The Digital Twindex illustrates why digital twins are seeing exponential adoption and interest today. In short, digital twins offer a practical and visionary path forward - in business and daily life.
One of the most significant advantages of digital twins is their ability to use data to model future scenarios.
This capability has proven crucial in industries such as manufacturing, where digital twins can anticipate machine failures and optimize maintenance schedules, reducing downtime and costs.
Experts predict that these benefits will be democratized across many industries in the coming years, with survey participants pointing to connected, real-time healthcare and efficient energy management as the two use-cases that will most benefit human lives.
In healthcare, digital twins of the human body can help ensure medical procedures are rehearsed and run smoothly, and enable highly personalized treatment. This will be the most difficult feat to accomplish, with surveyed experts believing a digital twin of the full human body is at least 10 years away for the majority of us, given the complexity, variations, and likely regulatory requirements. That said, individual twins of human organs, such as TCS’ Heart and Skin BioTwins, already show the potential of future treatments.
Smart cities and homes
Futurists and digital twin experts noted widespread benefits from smart cities arriving within 3-6 years, potentially lowering energy costs and providing more personalized and seamless experiences around transportation, shopping, and other elements of daily life.
Indeed, there are already several examples of cities, and even countries, creating their own digital twins. As benefits materialize, digital twins for municipalities will be in even greater demand, causing exponential growth.
Connected cities will help bring about a new era of retail, with survey participants highlighting common digital twins in the space arriving early, within the next 3 years. Retail businesses will leverage DTOC (Digital Twin of the Customer) to predict spending patterns and preferences. For the consumer, true personalization will be accomplished with the ability to use their own digital twin as a platform to customize shopping experiences.
In the home, which experts also estimate digital twins will become common in within 3-6 years, a digital twin could produce energy efficiency, convenience, and comfort, and improve safety conditions. The demographic realities of an aging population, which exists in many countries, will require a real-time form of interactive, non-invasive, surveillance, such as what digital twins can provide. This will be essential to realizing the promises of a smart home revolution around aging in place.