After the Internet of Things or IoT, Industrial Internet, Industry 4.0 and an arsenal of other waning terms, many tech companies have now shifted (at least their marketing) to Digital Twins. But what is a actually Digital Twin? I’ll explain how BaseN has purveyd them since 2001, for real.
Partly due to my Air Force background, BaseN has always been adamant about situational awareness, which during my service times meant knowing exactly what and when things were moving in the Finnish airspace or nearby. The radar and complement sensor system was built military grade resilient, as it was clear that a potential enemy would target our air defenses in the earliest phase. The design was and is such that still with less than 50% assets left we maintain core operational capabilities.
From the Air Force, BaseN has inherited the resilience architecture, plus deep understanding and processing capabilities of telemetry data from heterogenous and changing environments. With these strengths, we set out to define Digital Twins already in 2007, also by successfully applying a string of US patents, latest of them being the most complete definition of the spime, the ultimate Digital Twin in BaseN nomenclature.
Abridged, BaseN delivers two kind of Digital Twins to production customers today:
1. Sustainable, telemetry and schema-based, easily visualizable Situational Awareness entities for existing physical assets.
In our current stage of business, most of these entities are Telecom devices like mobile base stations, routers, connections and complex collections of these. The non-telco side is growing fast though, as more and more previously unmonitored assets are brought in.
Our customers use these ‘stage 1’ Digital Twins primarily for managing complex environments of existing and evolving assets. In many cases the data collected by us is also shown to end customers (such as enterprise telecom customers) in form of customer portals or mobile applications.
2. Virtual entities residing on BaseN, defining customer’s entire new product or service
This is the complete digital representation of a service or product, spanning the entire lifecycle of the customer relationship. The main difference to the first one is that the _Digital Twin_ is created first, after which its user interface and physical manifestations are planned and implemented. In other words, it is the Master object, controlling everything else. It is notable that also the customer is party modeled in, so there’s a Digital Twin of a Customer (DToC), being one component in a union of managed and sustainable twins around the service or product at hand.
Most companies are at stage 1. The biggest challenges and inhibitors are not technical, but organizational. Most leaders were trained to the old, fire-and-forget business models and grasping the full potential (and generational responsibility) of stage 2 feels risky and overwhelming. Fortunately, we have onboarded a few forerunners whose emphasis on financial and planetary sustainability is not just talk but a genuine commitment.
In conclusion, Digital Twins, as pioneered by BaseN since 2001, stand as a revolutionary paradigm in understanding and managing both existing assets and the entire lifecycle of new products or services. With a foundation rooted in military-grade resilience and a deep comprehension of telemetry data, BaseN delivers two distinct types of Digital Twins to production customers. While most companies are navigating the terrain of stage 1, addressing challenges that are more organizational than technical, the potential for financial and planetary sustainability in stage 2 beckons. Embracing this ethos not only propels innovation but also ensures a resilient, sustainable future for people, businesses and the planet alike.