Looking back through history, democratizing access to innovative technologies has unlocked a realm of possibilities for people across the world. For example, gaining access to the internet can change people’s lives, from greater access to employment to staying connected with friends and loved ones. A similar process is happening at the moment with digital twins – virtual replicas of the real world – and it is now easier than ever before for people to create them for personal use.
The benefits of digital twins are set to have a profound impact on a range of industries. They can help real estate agents in the process of buying and selling houses, by providing immersive, dimensionally accurate walkthroughs of properties to prospective buyers. This gives them a real sense of what it would be like to live there. Or in the travel and hospitality sector, hotels can better market the rooms they have to offer with digital twins, allowing consumers to check out a hotel, before they check in. The potential for the creation of digital twins is seismic – Matterport research has shown that there are over four billion buildings, comprising 20 billion spaces in the world. But, only one per cent of these spaces are digitized, representing a huge opportunity for innovation moving forward. In short, there is a world of spaces to be digitized and the technology to do it, it’s down to people to grasp the opportunity with both hands.
The business benefits of digital twins
There are a number of ways that digital twins can improve how a business operates. Opening access via smartphones will make it much easier for consumers across varied industries to produce a digital twin of any building they like. With a digital twin, the building can be designed, built, operated on, promoted and understood. This assist users in understanding unforeseen inefficiencies, lessen the time needed to record existing problems, increase productivity and help customers better plan for the future.
Another benefit comes down to costs. In recent years, digital twins have mainly been constricted to larger companies with significant budgets to afford the equipment and the software needed to capture the space and produce a digital replica. Going forward there will be a transition towards the ability to cheaper, more accessible, and easier to use digital twins culminating in its democratization. Individuals and smaller companies will have access to the benefits as well as larger companies, increasing the use of the technology rapidly.
A significant advantage is how quick the process is to identify and scan a location. Download the app on a smartphone and start scanning the area immediately. The 3D capture is then made, and professionals can share, embed and post the digital twin to social media. Tags can be added to illustrate any additional information required on locations, objects, or features. Professionals can even add their digital twins to websites such as Google Street View, Realtor.com, Homes.com, and Vrbo to better demonstrate their product, stand out from the competition and gain more value.
How digital twins are transforming businesses
With the significant benefits that digital twins can bring, it is worth emphasizing how it will impact individuals who use the technology, across multiple sectors. People across a variety of industries will benefit from the increasing democratization of digital twins as they can be used to measure, document, manage and promote buildings. Homeowners or renters can benefit alike from creating a replica of their property and everything in it for a reduction in their insurance or planning their space, such as trialling which paint colour would look best in each of the rooms. Digital twins can also elevate the retail experience.
For years retailers have been trying to keep up with consumers who are asking for more innovative, immersive experiences when it comes to feeding their shopping habits. By creating a copy of a shopfloor and allowing customers to virtually walk through and purchase the products they see, retailers are able to bridge the gap between brick-and-mortar shopping and eCommerce, and consumers can get the in-person shopping experience from the comfort of their own home.
These benefits also spill into construction and engineering as well. Professionals in the AEC industry can plan and manage their constructions much more easily, efficiently, and productively, as they no longer have to physically visit the site to check in on its progress. Others in the industry can also be brought on board to help with the collaboration process, by sharing the model and annotating it to move it through the approvals process.
A 3D virtual experience can be published online assisting those in facilities management, too. Facilities managers can gain access to critical building intelligence, including accurate measurements of the structure and dimensions of the equipment within, replacing time-consuming manual measurements and reducing the time it takes to create floor plans. All of this helps to reduce the cost of managing a facility’s design and ongoing maintenance.
Digital twins have the power to transform businesses, and now, individuals and companies of all sizes can reap the benefits of the technology. By democratizing access for everyone, digital twins are no longer reserved for organizations with big budgets that can jump on new innovations in a flash. Instead, digital twins are cheaper and easier than ever before to create, save and use in a way that bolsters their operations, and allows them to stand out against the competition. Businesses that ignore the benefits of digital twins risk being left by the wayside by those who seize the opportunity to provide their customers with a unique, immersive experience.