A digital twin is a digital representation of a service, process, and physical objects such as a jet engine, wind farm, or even whole cities. Although the digital twin technology gained recognition in 2002, it actually has its roots in pairing technology pioneered by NASA in the 1960s. NASA’s engineers developed a digital twin to assess and simulate conditions on board Apollo 13.
You might be thinking, "Well, digital twins have existed for decades. So what’s new in Web3?" The main difference is that in Web3, authenticity and ownership are verifiable, which is not always the case in web2.
Take collectible sneakers as an example. If you buy a pair of limited edition Jordans in web2, you can take a photo of them, create a digital twin, and sell it to 100 different people. In Web3, however, when you buy the same pair of sneakers, you also get a non-fungible token (NFT) of the same shoes. Your digital wallet and the metadata can confirm that your token is real.
In the era of Industry 4.0, several industries are rolling up their sleeves to experiment with digital twins. ⚗️⚗️⚗️ According to Fortune Business Insights, the global digital twin market size was valued at USD 6.75 billion in 2021. The market is projected to grow from USD 8.88 billion in 2022 to USD 96.49 billion by 2029.
What are the benefits of digital twins?
The reason why digital twins are becoming so popular is that they allow companies to design, test, modify, and validate their products. Therefore, businesses can detect any shortcomings or faults and improve their projects before launching anything.
Analysis and predictive steps boost operational efficiency, resulting in competitive advantages and even uncovering new revenue streams. For example, German automaker BMW used NVIDIA's Omniverse platform to build a digital twin of its factory floor. This way, BMW can learn what happens when there are 300 cars running on a conveyor belt and find safer paths for employees to use during a shift.
"The difference that is taking place now, that hasn't been there in the past, is that we have a platform that obeys the laws of physics and obeys true-to-reality submit scenarios," said Richard Kerris, vice president of the Omniverse at NVIDIA. "So it is not just an approximation, it's not just a representation, but it's actually something that is true to reality."
Besides being a competitive advantage, digital twins can solve real-world problems: They can lower the carbon footprint of new buildings and structures. Being able to create digital twins enables companies to calculate, control, and reduce carbon emissions.
Digital twins have not only caught the eyes of companies but also governments. With its Center for Digital Built Britain, a collaboration with the University of Cambridge, the UK has launched a National Digital Twin program to build an eco-system that connects digital twins across businesses, allowing them to share data more efficiently.
Bear in mind that digital twins reflect real objects and systems, which means that if companies do not update them with real-time data, they will not be able to get the wanted results.
Why are digital twins important to the metaverse?
The metaverse is a virtual world that allows its users to attend exclusive events, go to concerts and art galleries, as well as buy property. Facebook’s rebranding to Meta Platforms has caught people’s attention. And the popularity of the metaverse, Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR) are only adding more fuel to the digital twin fire.
Imagine building digital twins of famous landmarks across the world such as Buckingham Palace, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or the Egyptian pyramids. You might think to yourself, “Why would we need a metaverse version of these places?” Digital twins help people who do not have opportunities to travel because of personal, economic, geographical, or cultural reasons.
How do digital twins affect brands and companies wanting to enter the space?
JP Morgan Chase recently said that the metaverse will generate $1 trillion in annual revenue for businesses spanning a cross-section of industries.
When shopping on Amazon, customers get to see the product description and price. But metaverse platforms enable businesses to deliver information in innovative ways: Before buying a pair of shoes, let’s say, users can actually try them on in the metaverse.
It is also about telling new and engaging brand stories. The metaverse allows consumers to decide which channels to learn from, what kind of experience they want, and how they want to consume your product and service.
How will we onboard users in those metaverse environments?
Community is core to a successful metaverse marketing campaign. Thus, social commerce is a major part of the metaverse, and it represents a big opportunity for every brand.
Social media channels, especially Twitter and Discord, are the most convenient ways to keep your community up-to-date. If you are not on these platforms, you can leverage your blog, Instagram account, or Facebook groups. You need to be where your audience is. After all, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing your products and services.
Keep a close eye on what other successful businesses are doing in the metaverse and how they are interacting with their customers. Then, you can tailor their solutions to your company and build on them to stay competitive in the market. Last but not least, you can also use NFTs to offer VIP access to special events and conferences.
How does digital twinning relate to NFTs?
After seeing Beeple’s excellent NFTs, you might think that they are just a creative way of producing artwork. But in fact, NFTs can be a digital reflection of physical assets. These types of tokens are called digital twin NFTs.
With digital twin NFT, users can fully identify physical assets with IoT, using blockchain technology as a reliable protocol to check and confirm asset information.
What is the role of digital wallets in digital twins?
People need a safe place to store their digital assets, just like they keep their money in their wallets in real life. And this is when digital wallets enter the picture. Digital wallets do not only help store your virtual assets such as NFTs safe but also enable users to interact with Decentralized Apps (dApps).
Users can have different wallet options. For example, hot wallets are accessible via internet connection. Thanks to their ability to store, send, receive, and view digital assets, they are more convenient than others.
Or look at cold wallets: They are better for people who are afraid of malicious cyber attacks. It is because users do not need the internet to access their digital assets. This is specifically useful for long-term investors (make sure you remember where you keep it).