A recent CapGemini study found that 80% of companies in life sciences, consumer products, energy and utilities, discrete manufacturing and infrastructure operators are utilizing digital twins to develop new products, improve operational efficiencies, increase worker safety, and meet sustainability goals. 

As digital twin adoption increases across industries organizations stand to reap multiple benefits, with the study finding: 

  • An average of 15% improvement in metrics like sales, turnaround time, and operational efficiency 
  • Nearly 25% improvement in system performance 
  • 16% improvement in sustainability 

This ROI will only increase in the near-future, as 36% of respondents plan to increase the deployment of digital twins in the next five years. What are the drivers of this growing adoption? According to the CapGemini report, they include: 

  • Cutting costs (79%)
  • Advancing technology throughout the organization (77%)
  • Reducing time to market for new products and services (73%)
  • Introducing new business models (67%)
  • Increasing customer-centricity (65%)
  • Improving sustainability efforts (64%)

A recent InformationWeek article examines how digital twins can help organizations achieve the latter goal. Imagine a consumer goods company that hopes to move away from plastic packaging to a bottle derived from plant-based materials. With digital twins, the organization could unify data and intelligence at a massive scale to create virtual mirrored environments of the processes and products involved in this transformation. 

For example, while transitioning to plant-based materials would certainly eliminate plastic, fuel, and natural resources, it can also introduce new challenges. These include considerations such as shelf life and product freshness, along with various environmental demands and strains on new resources. It’s also possible that entirely new problems could emerge, such as developing a separate waste stream system to dispose of the bottles. 

Digital twins enable companies to understand how these and other factors may evolve over time and determine the best path forward, before the company commits any additional time, money, or resources to the project. 

Of course, increased deployment of digital twins also brings new IT challenges, including cybersecurity concerns. Communication between digital twins and the systems that it interacts with is bi-directional, meaning that hackers who gain control of a digital twin can cause significant damages—seizing control of real-world systems, manipulating or stealing sensitive data, or introducing malware that can quickly spread to other systems.

For more on what companies should do to prevent these threats take a look at this TechRepublic article.