More companies, including contractors, are leveraging digital twin technologies for a host of reasons, including boosting productivity while meeting their sustainability goals.
The market size for digital twins—virtual replicas of physical systems—exceeded $5 billion in 2020, and is expected to grow by more than 36%, on average, over the next five years, according to the report, “Digital Twins: Adding Intelligence to the Real World,” from information technology company Capgemini.
“Digital twin deployments are being driven by both top and bottom lines, as well as safety, sustainability and brand reputation,” according to the report.
The metrics are impressive: companies that have employed digital twins have reported that sales, turnaround time and operational efficiency improved an average of 15%, and system performance improved as much as 25%, according to Capgemini’s survey of 1,000 companies. Sustainability also improved by an average of 16% by using digital twins to find ways to reduce waste and increase efficiencies.
“However, since digital twins are powered by intangible assets like data and collaboration, they provide a unique opportunity to increase profitability, while limiting the use of resources along the value chain,” the authors wrote.
More than half of the companies surveyed believe that leveraging digital twin technologies will help them achieve their environmental sustainability goals, and 57% say that improving sustainability efforts is one of the key drivers of their digital twin investments.
“Many organizations are already invested in their quest to use this technology to advance their sustainability agendas, with 34% having implemented digital twins at scale to understand and predict their energy consumption and emissions,” according to the report.
Leveraging digital twin management systems that are connected to internet of things sensors within facilities can also improve sustainability goals as the facility structures are changed over time.
For instance, if a building’s interior environment shifts, the digital twin can simulate modifications in heating and cooling, people flow and energy use, such as when solar power is installed or when electric vehicle charging stations are added. Building managers can then conduct scenario analysis and test an idea before anyone goes on site. Contractors can thereby provide a valuable source for facility owners to go beyond initial construction to maintenance and analysis.