Digital Twins Enable Industrial Internet of Things Opportunities

Digital twins, supported by sensors and communication infrastructure, are rapidly changing the business models at many companies and are expected to create trillions in global economic value. In 2014, at the 3rd Annual Minds & Machines Conference, General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt declared, “If you went to bed last night as an industrial company, you are going to wake up in the morning as a software and analytics company.” He announced that GE would make its Predix operating system for powering the industrial internet to any company in 2015. Yet, despite the excitement that year data from Accenture shows that only 10 percent of market leaders understand the underlying business models and long-term implications of IIoT and digital twins.

digital twins turbines

By creating digital twins of assets like turbines and generators, GE researchers are able to fine-tune their operation and gain valuable insight about their lifecycles.

From my experience working with global industrial leaders, I have been able to synthesize some best practices for success.

  • Prioritize your digital strategy — An effective digitalization strategy requires a corporate-wide effort driven by the top of the company. It transcends business units and can be costly and ineffective when approached in an incremental manner. It enhances the value of an organization’s existing products in the near and long term when deployed well. When isolated or treated as ancillary to an organization’s existing business, it risks becoming a science project that diverts attention from a company’s existing strengths.
  • Join an ecosystem — Ideas for monetizing digitalization are easy to articulate but challenging to implement. Challenges, including interoperability across legacy technology, data ownership, security, and revised insights through value stream mapping, stand between a good idea and its realization. Deep partnerships are required where transactional arrangements were once adequate. Ecosystem and partnership-driven go-to-market strategies are critical to sustained growth.
  • Create a Digital Twin — More data does not improve a product, make consumers more safe, or drive increased revenue and margins for customers. It is what is done with that data that separates winners and losers in digitalization. Using data analysis and digital Twin can predict and help prevent field asset failures, isolating anomalies through physics-based analysis. Industry data show that a holistic platform-based approach to product design and analysis is critical to success in IoT deployment.

Many of these ideas will be explored in greater depth at the upcoming Minds + Machines conference in San Francisco next week. The GE event has become a magnet for industry thought leaders and GE Predix ecosystem partners, including ANSYS. We are excited to partner with GE to demonstrate the full potential of Predix and ANSYS simulation to accelerate the growth of data-driven asset optimization and reliable product creation.

If you’re attending, we invite you to visit us at the Minds + Machines conference to learn how ANSYS, TCS, and GE are collaborating to define the future of business. The conference has been sold out, but they are offering a LIVE STREAM for those who are not.

You can also follow the action live on Twitter at @ANSYS #GEMM16 – we’ll be tweeting !

In the meantime, please check out our whitepaper:

digital-twins-ansysHow Simulation-Based Digital Twins and the Industrial Internet of Things Can Improve Product and Process Performance

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