The Role of Digital Twins in the Development of Smart Cities

Published on Nov 09, 2022 07:47 PM IST

The potential uses and advantages of digital twins are practically endless. By simulating the interactions between various components, digital twins can help us better understand how infrastructure will function in a variety of situations, such as when facing a natural disaster

Karthik Trichur Sundaram is an expert in SAP solutions & Digital Transformation.
Karthik Trichur Sundaram is an expert in SAP solutions & Digital Transformation.
ByHT Brand Studio

The term "digital twin" refers to a digital copy of a real-world product, service, or operation. A digital twin is an exact digital representation of a real-world object, be it something as little as an aircraft or as vast as a whole city.

Digital twin technology doesn't just make copies of physical assets; it can also be used to simulate processes to see how they will work in the future.

Simply put, a "digital twin" is a simulation program that can foretell how a product or process will function by analyzing its input data and learning from its history. AI (artificial intelligence), software analytics, ML, and the Internet of Things (Industry 4.0) can all be included in these applications to boost efficiency.

Thanks to developments in machine learning and other factors like big data, these digital models are now frequently used in engineering to inspire creativity and boost efficiency. In a nutshell, making one can help improve long-term technological trends, prevent expensive hardware failures, and test processes and services by using cutting-edge tools for analysis, monitoring, and prediction. ERP packages like SAP can also be leveraged alongside IOT for monitoring and control purposes.

The potential uses and advantages of digital twins are practically endless. By simulating the interactions between various components, digital twins can help us better understand how infrastructure will function in a variety of situations, such as when facing a natural disaster. This improves infrastructure resilience across its entire lifecycle and simplifies infrastructure management.

Digital twins are the new foundation for smart city development

Some people may not be aware of the term "digital twins," yet they are becoming increasingly significant in today's world. The creation, monitoring, and maintenance of tangible assets, including cars, buildings, and so on, are being transformed by these digital representations. The use of digital twins in the construction industry, for instance, extends over the course of an entire project's lifetime. Sustainability and low costs are achieved through careful planning and construction, regular maintenance, and upgrades, and, finally, decommissioning and taking apart.

Smart cities are starting to use digital twins in a new way. Improvements in municipal services like roads, public transportation, buildings, streetlights, trash management, electricity, and more can be gleaned from data collected through the development of a digital twin ecosystem. Connecting these elements of a city to a digital duplicate in the cloud makes monitoring their operation and detecting problems much simpler.

Digital twins and their significance for smart cities

As the IoT evolved, digital twins became more widely used in several sectors thanks to their low production costs and intuitive interfaces. Digital twins are a clear step toward realizing the smart city concept. It has the ability to rule the city efficiently, from urban planning to optimizing land usage. Thanks to digital twins, it is now possible to run virtual trials of proposed strategies before committing to them, thereby identifying potential issues at an early stage. Digital planning and analysis tools could help with housing, wireless network antennae, and public transportation, among other things.

Some advantages of creating cities driven by digital twins

Cities that are able to make use of this technology and reap its benefits will undoubtedly thrive. Not only will they advance technologically, but they will also become more self-sufficient in other ways, such as economically, socially, and ecologically. Some experts, on the other hand, have asked how this new method could be better than the old ones.

Experts in the field of digital twins have commented that while computer-aided design (CAD) presently designs and provides insights into the design process, the digital twin would provide all of that plus a physical counterpart with which to engage. Having a similar system would allow designers to anticipate any issues that might arise. Comparing virtual technologies to smart maps made possible by geospatial analytics is another clear way to see how this new idea makes the current system better.

These maps are designed to assist users in visualizing, processing, and analyzing numerous, huge, and complicated georeferenced data sets. The digital twin does the same thing as the original, but it also responds in real time to changes in the physical object it represents.

It allows users to create simulations that will help them make future plans. Sadly, this extra function is not available on smart maps. In conclusion, it is premature to assert that digital twins will resolve the intricate problems that cities face today. Without a doubt, it will be an essential component of any city's plan to improve its long-term resilience. As with any new idea, there may be some problems, but the pros are more important than the cons.

Given the potential consequences of a total system revamp, it makes sense to integrate digital twins with preexisting infrastructure at the outset.

The use of digital twins could yield significant benefits for urban planners and managers.

Smart cities could gain from the digital twin ecosystem's insights by exchanging data across digital and physical twins throughout their lifecycles. This would help the whole city get ready for and deal with emergencies like pandemics, blizzards, and even regular traffic jams.

When planning the introduction of a digital twin ecosystem, cities must take a few things into account. For starters, it's crucial to remember that digital twins can't be used unless a complex technological framework is in place and actively put into play from the very beginning of building projects. New applications for cities will require a scalable cloud infrastructure. Building projects can be designed, constructed, and operated with more agility and collaboration when all parties involved have access to a common data environment (CDE).

Last but not least, in addition to advanced AI and ML algorithms, cities will need to be ready to install thousands of sensors to collect the data needed to provide useful insights, as well as establish information modeling and validation systems.

In Conclusion

It may sound far-fetched to think that digital twin ecosystems would one day help smart cities become smarter, but in fact, they are currently doing just that. And with the appropriate investments in technology, cities may be able to totally transform the way they function.

About the Author

Karthik Trichur Sundaram is an expert in SAP solutions & Digital Transformation. Karthik has been working with SAP since 1997. Karthik has implemented many global SAP S/4 HANA transformation projects working with SAP America as a Platinum Architect. Karthik has multiple SAP certifications and has executed successful projects in North America, Australia, Asia Pacific, the UK, and the Middle East. Karthik has worked in domains like A&D, Metals and Mining, Oil & Gas, Specialty Tools, Chemicals, Semiconductor Manufacturing, Telecom, and Utility. Karthik has published scholarly articles in journals. Karthik got his Bachelor's in Electrical & Electronics Engineering from the College of Engineering, Trivandrum, India, and his MBA from Boise State University with summa Cum laude. Karthik lives with his family in Pleasanton, CA, USA,

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