Governments worldwide are realizing the potential of digital twins and are making it part of their national agenda.
The UK and Singapore have already developed national digital twins that represent a visionary approach to using digital replicas of the physical world to improve decision-making, enhance efficiency, and foster a new era of sustainable development. However, data integration, security, and interoperability must be ensured to achieve the full potential.
What are digital twins?
Digital twins are digital representations of physical assets, systems, or processes that help detect, prevent, predict, and optimize the physical environment through the use of artificial intelligence, real-time analytics, visualization, and simulation tools.
Virtual Singapore is already seeing the benefits
The twin concept is very much a success story in Singapore. Virtual Singapore, led by the government agency, Singapore Land Authority (SLA) is already seeing the benefits of digital twins. The 3D mapping used improved data availability by 50%, which helped in delivering a sustainable and accurate digital model. The data capturing tools used allowed potential annual savings of around $3.7m (S$5m) with a refresh cycle of every two years.
Challenges posed in implementing digital twins
Implementing digital twins comes with several challenges that stakeholders must navigate to harness their full potential. Firstly they rely on integrating a vast amount of disparate data from various sources, which makes data integration key for an accurate digital twin. Also, as they rely on data accuracy and quality, inconsistent or unreliable data can lead to incorrect insights.
The way forward
While digital twins have vast benefits, having a clear vision and setting out the expected outcome is vital. It is paramount to establish a solid data governance and security foundation to protect against any breaches or errors in data management.
Moreover, as data is the lifeblood of digital twins, embracing and practicing good data management and interoperability is crucial. Also, an integrated approach from policymakers, organizations, research institutes, and individuals is required to build efficient and effective digital twins.