Recent years have been transformative for the IT industry, as technology infuses the foundational and practical processes of applying automation, analytics, and artificial intelligence to support organizations to standardize, optimize and innovate. At IT Concepts (ITC), we have the privilege of working with customers who are incorporating cutting-edge technologies like AI and RPA automation into their workflow, improving the way they conduct business.  

One area of technological innovation we’ve recently seen on the rise is the use of “digital twins”— the pairing of virtual and physical which allows data analysis and systems monitoring that make it possible to head off problems before they happen. Digital twins can self-optimize over the course of a product or system’s life cycle, they’re increasingly being used by a diverse array of organizations and industries as virtual prototypes or test beds. Recently, digital twins have started to move beyond industry into new spheres. A range of other areas such as financial services, healthcare, and the workplace, have started to recognize their potential.  

ITC currently conducts activities in support of a “Digital Twin” initiative in building a data infrastructure for the U.S. Air Force, to ingest data from F-35’s to support future exercises for predictive maintenance.  IT Concepts work with ingesting and modeling data from the F-35 allows the Air Force to feed its Digital Twin model for the F-35.  A Digital Twin in this case is an integrated multiphysics, multiscale, probabilistic simulation of an as-built F35 that uses the best available physical models, sensor updates, fleet history, etc., to mirror the life of its corresponding flying twin. 

Value-Add

The value the digital twin outcome brings to the Air Force:

  • Improved product design, and first-time quality through more accurate and higher fidelity design models and analytical methods, lower system cost for target performance (avoid design margin from over-engineering and/or reduce requirements for materials/physical performance). 
  • Provides descriptive and predictive insight into factory performance (cost, quality, schedule) to support learning curve estimates, staffing and tooling requirements, and trends to identify opportunities for continuous improvement.  
  • Reduce iteration through early discovery of downstream stakeholder conflicts (e.g. fewer Maintenance Review Boards for non-conforming parts, sole-source (specialized) supplier costing, and materials availability/cost and improves product reliability and availability and lowers maintenance costs. 

As digital twins evolve, ITC predicts the adoption of synthetic realities, which are AI-generated realities combined with real and virtual environments. As digital twins and synthetic realities further converge, we will see the emergence of the next generation, personal equivalent –digital doubles that combine personal data, context and aggregated external information; ruled by algorithms they own and that serve their best personal interests.