The Internet of Things on AWS – Official Blog

2023 year in review: digital twins on AWS for agile and resilient operations

McKinsey research indicates that 70 percent of C-suite technology executives invest in digital twins to build more agile and resilient operations. They see benefits across multiple use cases ranging from remote control and monitoring, asset maintenance and interoperability, to system and production simulation. These use cases need the ability to bring together Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT), and unlock data that’s traditionally been in silos, which becomes possible by deploying a digital twin architecture.

The industry also recognizes that becoming human centric is core to the evolution of digital transformation (industry 5.0). Visual systems overlaid with digital twin data improve how humans collaborate together and work with machines. Earlier this year, AWS launched solutions at Hannover Messe that created human-centric experiences through digital twins with our partners Mendix (optimizing lean operations), Matterport (connected workers), and Bosch (Integrated Asset Performance Management). Manufacturing operations see multiple benefits, from providing intuitive visual workflows to creating immersive support and onboarding experiences, seamlessly bound with real-time data from the digital twin.

In this blog, we explore the value of digital twins, as well as operational areas where we have seen increased momentum in the application of this technology from AWS Partners and customers. Make sure to read to the end for upcoming opportunities to see digital twins on AWS in action as we close the year.

Definition and value of digital twins

A digital twin is a complete living digital representation of a physical system that is dynamically updated to mimic the structure, state, and behaviour of the physical system to drive business outcomes. It enables you to see scaled value in multiple areas of your business, and be better connected from design to decommissioning. It lets you understand information holistically across the system lifecycle, and avoid the pitfalls of actioning specific challenges without knowledge of the knock-on effects in the value chain.

Traditionally, the main challenge when building digital twins has been siloed data where vital information sits in different places and different formats. Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems may be with one provider, while your Asset Management System is with another. You likely have historians, Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), video feeds, Human Relations (HR) systems, and telemetry data all collected from different data locations and formats. It’s a significant manual effort to not only aggregate this different information on a regular basis, but also to contextualize and create relationships among these data sources. This is fundamental to being able to identify the incident’s root cause as well as create forward-looking recommendations and models.

Another challenge has been to contextualize this insight into the relevant information models and visual environments that can deliver the right information to the right person at the right time and in the right way.

  • Imagine you are a field technician who gets a call from the shop floor about a welding machine that stopped working. You need to know the make and model of the machine, its performance history, location, last service date and notes, next due maintenance, if the parts are in stock, and much more to be able to resolve the issue in time for production not to be significantly affected.
  • If you are a plant manager for this site where the welding machine is, you may not need to know all maintenance details but you need to understand the production line, orders, and customers affected.
  • If you are a new shop floor operator, you would like to be guided through the right workflows and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and receive proactive suggestions to start to resolve this incident or information about what to do if you can’t.

Connecting the right insight to the right people at the right time is critical for a manufacturing organization. If data is not presented in the right manner, it can quickly overwhelm employees. It is important to overlay the right information and context into the right user experiences. This lets your employees intuitively grasp insights without spending valuable time trying to understand the data.

“INVISTA is using AWS IoT TwinMaker to help our field personnel efficiently address operational notifications and alerts from plant floors across multiple, distributed locations. With AWS IoT TwinMaker, we can quickly and easily build a digital twin of our manufacturing operations to give field workers a consolidated view of all asset and operational data. By doing so, INVISTA operations is making significant progress on our Vision of the Connected Worker as the outcome of our Transformation effort. For example, a field technician could pinpoint the source of equipment anomalies and identify appropriate corrective actions.”

–       Jerry Grunewald, Vice President of Operations Transformation, INVISTA

“By their nature, construction projects create change to their surrounding environment, and through the use of IoT and other emerging technologies, we can expand the capabilities of our people. As an example, projects are subject to environmental regulations, evidence collection, and monitoring of environmental factors such as noise, dust, vibration, and air quality. Using AWS IoT TwinMaker to create a construction twin, we aim to provide environmental managers a 360-degree view into the environmental impact of their project. Our platform collects, analyzes, and displays environmental data in a realistic 3D representation of the construction site, so environmental managers can monitor compliance, investigate claims, and gather comprehensive historical evidence.”

–       Bastian Uber, Chief Digital and Information Officer, John Holland

A digital twin seamlessly binds operational data into the right visual experiences to provide a holistic view of your operations, and provide insights to users at multiple levels, from the shop floor to management.

Specialist partnerships bring expertise and experience in digital twin technology, can customize solutions for your business and goals and accelerate digital twin deployments at scale.

AWS partners have used AWS IoT for Industrial Services such as AWS IoT TwinMaker and AWS IoT SiteWise, as well as our simulation frameworks such as TwinFlow to create integrated solutions to overcome these challenges, reduce project risk and accelerate time to value with digital twins. At upcoming events like Smart Production Solutions 2023 (SPS 2023) and AWS re:invent we continue to collaborate with partners to build digital twin solutions to enable industrial transformation efforts. Read on to learn more about AWS digital twin partners at SPS 2023, November 14-16, 2023 in Nuremberg, Germany.

Digital twin showcase by AWS Partners at SPS 2023

At the AWS booth, you will be able to experience interactive demonstrations and presentations by AWS partners, including partners building digital twin solutions with AWS such as Bosch, Software AG, SoftServe, Embassy of Things, and others.

Bosch will demonstrate an Integrated Asset Performance Management solution for manufacturers. This demonstration uses applied AI/ML to avoid asset failures and proactively handle incidents to reduce unplanned downtime. They have released an end-to-end starter kit to help customers deploy and see value quickly in their business.

Software AG helps equipment manufacturers build digital twin platforms for connected machinery. The solution enables machine manufacturers to create visually accurate representations of their asset fleet that is overlaid with real-time asset performance and maintenance history. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) can offer this platform to their customers enabling them to interact with digital twins of their assets, manage any potential downtime, and gain insight from benchmarks across manufacturers.

Embassy of Things enables manufacturers to accelerate integration of IT and OT data into their twin by removing the complexity and barriers associated with complex fire-walled networks and IT infrastructures. Smoother integration simplifies transmission of sensor data and asset models from operational assets, which is key to scaling proofs of concept to production deployments.

Softserve brings together digital twin design components including AWS IoT, AI/ML, Simulation frameworks, and spatial computing to deliver end-to-end deployments for production monitoring and optimization Benefits of digital twins for production optimization help to eliminate waste across the process, optimize energy usage, improve product quality inspections, and refine production planning with simulations based on real-time data.

Meet AWS and AWS Partners at SPS 2023. AWS will be in Hall 5, Stand #350. To learn more about our presence at the event and book meetings with our partners and AWS experts, check out our event landing page.


About the Author

Pallavi Chari leads Go-To-Market for Digital Twins in AWS. She has more than 18 years of experience in product strategy and propositions working with several of the world’s leading technology companies. She has supported industrial customers and partners in transformation efforts working across IoT, Edge Computing, 5G Connectivity, and AI/ML to create business value. She is an Economics graduate with a Master’s degree in Business Administration, and lives in England.