Today, the industry refers to any digitized version of virtually anything physical as the Digital Twin of that item. As little as two years ago, most of the Digital Twin dialog in the market was about smart connected products; focused on products sold into the consumer market. Embraced by the major PLM providers, the Digital Twin discussion focused initially on the product design activity, then the manufacturing process activities, and finally expanded to incorporate product feature engineering for expanded value creation.
Enter the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). With the IIoT almost any physical asset is capable of being made “smart,” and the value of the Digital Twin suddenly becomes different. While having a Digital Twin of a new refinery as it is being constructed can certainly aid in the design and construction process, the real value is delivered over the next 30-50 year of life of that asset.