Digital twins: An untapped technological treasure
Chairman, Pico Group

Today, an embrace of innovative technologies is essential for the success of almost any company. For example, the metaverse has gripped the popular imagination in recent months, compelling many well-known brands to explore – and invest in – the concept. But while they break into the metaverse, they must also remain alert to other possibilities, including the topic of this article: digital twinning, a technology that blends the real world with the virtual world.

A digital twin simulates a physical counterpart’s specifications, such as its reaction, condition or efficacy, on a virtual platform. According to Fortune Business Insights, a market research agency, the global market value of digital twinning reached approximately US$7 billion in 2021, and is expected to soar to US$90 billion by the end of this decade.

Real-life applications of digital twins are quite common; even multinational engineering firms such as AECOM have utilised them to simulate the results of multiple projects, including Hong Kong Urban Renewal Authority revitalisation and redevelopment projects and the Eco-Shoreline in Tung Chung. In general, by recording and processing data such as climate and geographical environment with AI, AECOM can create a digitalised city that echoes the real-life environment. This allows the company to simulate and predict the effects of construction projects, hence lowering risks and improving efficiency in their delivery.

In mainland China, the physical programme for the 14th China (Anhui) International Household Appliances and Consumer Electronics Expo in May was postponed due to the pandemic. But with a digital twin expo platform created by Pico with 3D web engine rendering tech, the Expo was still able to provide 24/7 online exhibition services to a wider audience. Lifelike and immersive, the physical exhibition centre’s ‘twin’ allowed visitors to walk around the online Expo at any time, from anywhere.

Even though following market trends is important, brands also should avoid blindly jumping on technological bandwagons. They should carefully pick and choose tools which actually cater to their audience’s needs, or even explore unconventional approaches to create engaging services or products.

The full insights article was originally published in Headline Finance on 20 July 2022 (in Chinese only).

Source: Headline Finance (webpage version), 20 July 2022