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What is a Digital Twin, and why do managers need it?

While running its real-life business, forward-looking entrepreneurs occasionally come across various publications in mass media and the Internet describing new technologies and solutions for their industries. From time to time, new terms appear in these articles and conversations. One of them, called "Digital Twin", has become used increasingly often; however, it is not very clear for many what it means.
Let's take a typical situation: A manager usually knows what they manage in detail. The plant is a big system with many subsystems working together, including people, departments, equipment and machinery, technologies, warehouse, etc. There are many processes that run simultaneously in both Physical World (raw materials delivery, processing, transformation into final products, packaging, shipments and so on) and Virtual World (accounting, finance, automation, production planning, operator commands, interactions between employees and machines using web and mobile applications, quality control, etc.).

Usually, managers evaluate the results using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and various reports that were calculated using multiple data, then saved by employees during the day or week. Its preparation and aggregation are tedious and time-consuming routine work, prone to human errors, delays, and inefficiencies presenting the report's fixed, rigid structure, which is difficult to change upon demand.

However, in a dynamic and complex production environment, such reporting becomes non-productive, not helpful and late for effective management. As a result, an entrepreneur may not be aware of possible issues and inefficiencies until it appears in full growth due to accumulated negative economic impact, loss of competitiveness or customers.

The key issue is the fundamental impossibility of people collecting and processing all necessary data in real-time to represent the ongoing processes to the management in a holistic way. It is just not a human task!
Here the new Internet of Things software and plant connectivity come, and it lets doing all these perfectly and, in a way, which is comfortable, easy and valuable for the management. This solution is called now a "Digital Twin". 20 years ago it was known as Management Information System. The difference between these two is that "Digital Twin", the latest digital technology, can handle all these complex tasks much more effectively while being easy to install, use, and significantly less costly. The additional expenditures now could be equivalent to the salary of one qualified employee.
What is a Digital Twin implemented at Pharos Navigator® IoT platform?
It is the complex software running in a cloud; having the knowledge about major components of the concrete enterprise; its physical and virtual infrastructure, such as assets, products, processes, with each such object properties, operational conditions, KPIs required for each manager. It is connected to multiple data sources representing the ongoing processes and operations at the plant.

The Digital Twin has and runs the detailed model of a concrete enterprise and use it to collect data from multiple sources automatically, process it in real-time and represent the current working condition of the objects or processes to managers and operators. Using powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI) methods, Pharos Navigator Dairy Factory Digital Twin can run complex calculations to analyze and represent the actual processes at any moment or in some future as predictions.

Access to this information significantly improves the capacity of managers and operators to control the production performance and sustainability and keep business running with minimum inefficiencies having continuing auditing of compliance with the necessary quality standards, regulations and own business plans.
The managers obtain non-human personal Intelligent Digital Assistant helping them to gain a deep understanding and holistic vision of ongoing processes in detail, which they apply to improve and optimize the plant performance. The Digital Twin interacts with each manager or operator with a personal Virtual Assistant using the web and mobile apps, providing the content related to the particular employee role and plant data access and control rights.

Having such Digital Twin assistance becomes an essential strategic survival condition for many businesses and to entrepreneurs considering accelerating change and uncertainties in economics, markets, societies and increasing global competition.

However, in practical terms, there is an important question: How to try, test and get an understanding of the technology applicability to our concrete manufacturing environment, people and established processes without interruptions, risks and minimum costs?

Considering all these issues, our company offers a no-risk, low-cost effort path for the innovative entrepreneurs willing to try and test new technology in practice.
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