Illustration of digital twins.
July 13, 2023

What Are Digital Twins? Learn About Digital Twin Software

Version Control
Digital Twins

Imagine being able to make a digital replica of one of the largest stadiums in the world, capturing everything from ceiling height to square footage. Now, imagine you could integrate that replica with real-life, predictive data. Then, you could use it to measure important details like stadium capacity, climate control, security wait times, video and audio syncing capabilities, and more.  

In this example, digital twin software enables events to run more smoothly and helps staff foresee and plan upgrades. That is why SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles became the first stadium to start using digital twins in 2020. This stands out as just one of many recent digital twin examples that show the technology’s growth and evolution.  

Industries like gaming, manufacturing, and urban planning now embrace digital twins and see big cost savings. In this blog, we’ll cover the benefits of digital twins, their challenges, and why to use version control tools like Helix Core with digital twin software.

Read along or jump to the section that interests you most:

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Digital Twins Definition: What is Digital Twin Software?

A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical object. Digital twin software collects real-time data from sensors on the object to monitor how the object operates, replicate its behavior, and drive decision making.  

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What Are Digital Twins?  

Digital twin technology relies on three components: the real-world object, its digital counterpart, and the communication between the two. Sensors placed on a physical object, like a car, work to measure its functional aspects, including speed, distance traveled, and safety performance. The sensors pass this information on to the digital twin, which quickly adapts to behave identically.  

Digital twins can be thought of as an ecosystem. Rather than just monitoring the object, the sensors also monitor its environment. That means a car's digital twin will gather data on factors like weather conditions and traffic density. This makes it possible for the digital twin to begin anticipating how an object acts in all kinds of situations and during its entire lifecycle. For instance, digital twins could also anticipate that car's performance one year, three years, and 10 years after manufacturing.  

Visualize How Digital Twins Work in Your Industry

In this webinar about building digital twins, Perforce experts walk through common digital twin examples and how to use digital twins software to save money and time. 


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Digital Twin Examples: Gaming, Manufacturing, and More 

Digital twins usage has become prevalent across industries. NASA pioneered their use in the 1960s. They have since been a core part of the automotive, aviation, manufacturing, and engineering fields for a decade. However, digital twin software is now beginning to revolutionize gaming, marketing, and visual design, too.  

Discover How NASA Uses Digital Twin Technology

Our recent Mission to Mars: Building NASA's Digital Twin with Helix Core and Unreal Engine webinar went behind the scenes to showcase how NASA built a digital twin using real-time technology. Watch the webinar to see how they approached this challenge, as well as to understand the roles Helix Core and Unreal Engine played.


Related Content:📘 Accelerate Digital Twins IoT Development

Digital Twin Examples in Gaming 

With game engines like Unreal and Unity, teams can generate photorealistic environments to replicate real-world behavior. They can see how changes will impact the final design and put together and pull apart models to analyze each element. 

Game engines can run thousands of tests with less software and resources. And when it comes to an end product, game engines help enhance the customer’s buying experience. Digital twins can be used for marketing, allowing people to experience the virtual product before they buy. The intersection of gaming engines and digital twins also shows how virtual reality has begun to play a role in these technical solutions.  

Digital Twin Examples in Manufacturing 

Manufacturers use digital twins to optimize everything from end-to-end supply chain, to operations, quality management, and custom production. Testing several solutions before products are created helps determine the best options when it comes to cost, services, and capacity. Organizations can minimize disruption while determining the best secondary source of supply. 

Aerospace company Boeing used digital twins to predict the performance of different components. This led to a 40% improvement rate in first-time quality and saved development time and money. They even used Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to achieve the ideal cargo load balance.  

Amazon also uses digital twins to model their more than 200 fulfillment centers and increase productivity. The use of digital twin software helps them make decisions about warehouse design, adjust their workflows, and identify opportunities for AI assistance.  

📘 Related resource: The Digital Twin & Manufacturing 

Digital Twin Examples in the Automotive Industry 

Automotivecompanies like Porsche, BMW, and more are developing the cars of the future with digital twins. Now companies can build all kinds of prototypes using digital twin software without added expense. 

CAD tools that were static and did not offer dynamic views now have real-time rendering. Crash tests can be simulated to learn how a car will perform on different terrain or in unique situations. By pulling back the sheet metal, teams can see what happens to the frame, sensors, and other internal components. 

But digital twins allow companies to do more than crash testing. They can use digital twin software and gaming technology to train driver assistance systems with synthetic sensor data. Playing out every scenario helps test safety requirements and build vehicles that can react without a driver present. 

Emerging Digital Twin Examples in Healthcare and Urban Planning 

Each day, companies use digital twins on even higher scales and in high stakes situations. In February 2023, Cleveland Clinic announced that they’ll begin using digital twins to model the health records of more than 250,000 patients from diverse backgrounds. The organization hopes to track the life expectancies of people in different communities and socioeconomic classes to make public health recommendations.  

Digital twins are also shaping the communities we live in in big-picture ways. The American Planning Organization cited digital twins as a tool for building better public transit, analyzing city traffic patterns, and managing disaster response. The city of Boulder, Co. now uses digital twins to visualize proposed urban developments and their future impact.  

No matter your industry, digital twin software will likely make workflows faster — and can dramatically increase revenue.  By 2030, Bloomberg predicts the market size will reach$155 billion. 


Read More Digital Twin Case Studies

Our Start Innovating With Digital Twins white paper is a free look at more digital twins examples and how you can make the most of digital twins software.



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Benefits and Challenges of Using Digital Twin Software 

Now that we have covered some examples of digital twins, let's dive into some of the benefits and challenges of digital twin software, as well as solutions to these challenges.

What Is Digital Twin Software? 

Digital twin software is technology that brings together artificial intelligence, software analytics, and internet of things features to enable the building, monitoring, and testing of digital twins. To create digital twins, you’ll likely need digital twin software. Popular options include IBM’s Maximo Application Suite, the Ansys Twin Builder, Bosch IoT Suite, and Willow. Digital twin software is also a key part of the emerging industrial metaverse.

Why Use Digital Twin Software? 

Gartner Research estimates that more than 50 percent of large, industrial companies already use digital twins due to their cost-saving benefit, their predictive nature, and their ability to measure real-time impact. Recently, energy leader General Electric cited that digital twins are responsible for $1 billion in loss prevention each year.  

Take the case of a digital twin predicting a power outage in a single gas plant. This instance saved $360 thousand. By using digital twins, companies can also decrease maintenance costs. General Electric estimates that employing digital twins reduces needed maintenance by 40% each year on average.  

File Management and Collaboration  

The process of building digital twins involves working with large files. This can result in long wait times that interrupt your workflow. Files will often progress through multiple stages, too. Teams might become confused and duplicate work if each member is not working with the most up-to-date document. A version control system like Helix Core can help solve these common blockers by storing files of any size, identifying the most current version of each one, and helping teams control the flow of changes to them.  

IP Security 

Digital twins also pose an added challenge to IP security. Since digital twins are made up of thousands of files, as well as represent an organization’s most innovative proprietary information, they’re extra vulnerable to IP leakage. This is why the Forbes Technology Council stated that these digital assets need “crown jewel protection.” With Helix Core, your organization can set different security permissions for each file. You can also restrict certain geographies to meet IP compliance laws.   

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Secure and Collaborate on Digital Twin Files in Helix Core 

Large files with multiple versions can make managing digital twins difficult. With Helix Core, your team can establish a single, secure source of truth and sync files of any size. Helix Core, the standard in version control, integrates well with digital twin software due to its unlimited scalability.  

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