Digital twinning in the context of asset management and smart cities refers to the creation of a digital replica of our heroes of physical infrastructure, such as buildings, transportation systems, or pumps, with the goal of simulating and analysing asset and system performance.
In fiction, the “evil twin” is an identical copy of our hero, but with malevolent, or prankster intentions. Like an evil twin, the digital twin initially appears helpful or friendly, but as the story progresses, their true malevolent intentions become clear. The evil twin tries to manipulate thinking by posing as Our Hero and causing distrust and confusion among those who know and love them. The Evil Twin suggests things that don’t seem quite right, but friends and families accept them; the Evil Twin is very plausible.
These suggestions are increasingly divergent from Our Hero’s true nature, yet family and friends continue to accept them, even as the results place everyone in an increasingly perilous situation.
Eventually there is a confrontation between Our Hero and the Evil Twin, where the true nature of both is revealed, and Our Hero prevails… Or the story ends in tragedy for all.
Digital twinning is a great tool for asset managers and for supporting smart cities project implementation, but it essential that the twin is understood for what it is, simply a tool. Putting the tool in place will not solve any problems. The interpretation and analysis of the tool is where value lies. Twinning our assets in a generic way is unlikely to yield future benefits. The need to understand our assets and systems remains key.
Know what matters. Measure what matters. Analyse what matters. Integrate what matters. Do this, or you may create an Evil Twin that misrepresents assets and misleads decision makers.