The world is facing an economic crisis due to the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has affected the growth of the end-use industries. Major oil producers are running out of storage space for extracted oil, as the demand is on a declining trend. This has resulted in a massive gap between supply and demand. The energy & power, automotive & transportation, and aerospace & defense industries are also among the key end users of digital twin technology. These industries are also witnessing a declining demand due to the pandemic. There is a restriction on foreign trades due to the lockdown of international borders, non-operational distribution channels, and various government laws to take precautionary measures for public health and safety. However, the focus on the digitization of processes across the industries is expected to increase in the post-COVID-19 period. The increase in demand in the energy & power sector is also likely to boost the growth of the segment from 2021 to 2026.
The global digital twin market size was valued at USD 3.1 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 48.2 billion by 2026. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 58% during the forecast period. Increasing demand for digital twins in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the changing face of maintenance, and growing adoption of digital twin solutions to cope up with the COVID-19 pandemic are the key factors driving the growth of the digital twin market.
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Driver: Increasing demand for digital twins in healthcare and pharmaceutical industries due to out break of COVID-19 pandemic
With the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries are at the forefront of combating COVID-19. Digital twin plays an important role in monitoring a patient’s health, the impact of tablets, and other parameters. Some of the industry players have grabbed the opportunity to fight against the coronavirus pandemic by providing different solutions. For instance, Exactcure (France), a French start-up developing a software solution to reduce medication errors, has developed a digital twin solution to lower the impact of inaccurately dosed medication. Through this digital twin solution, the efficacy and interactions of medications in the body of a patient based on their personal characteristics, such as age, gender, and kidney status, are monitored. Besides, the industry players are increasingly investing in research and development related to new daily life changes that have occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, the players are trying to develop a digital twin solution to identify people who have symptoms, are infected, or have recovered with antibodies and people who have come in contact with an infected person. By using such solutions, it will be easy for state or local governments to monitor green and red zones. Such solutions can be deployed in smart cities effectively.
Restraint: Data security due to use of IoT and cloud platforms
The implementation of digital technologies, such as the cloud, big data, IoT, and artificial intelligence, is increasing in various facets of businesses. Digital twin involves the integration of various IoT sensors and all the digital technologies for virtualizing the physical twin. With growing connectivity arises the risk of security, compliance & data protection, and regulations.
Increasing occurrences of viruses and cyber-attacks have raised concerns regarding data security. Important information can be stolen by malicious viruses in computer systems, resulting in a major loss to the companies. Failure of IoT infrastructure providers and cloud platform providers in implementing proper security measures might lead to disruptions in the flow of information. The industries that have implemented digital twins with such platforms are prone to malware attacks that are targeted at industrial systems due to the increasing dependence on Web-based data interchange and off-the-shelf IT solutions.
Opportunity: Implementation of digital twins in the manufacturing industry to handle several issues due to the spread of COVID-19
Due to COVID-19, the industry players are facing many challenges related to health and safety, supply chain, supplier resilience, labor shortages, and others. To reopen a business, companies have to follow all the norms implemented by governments to curb the spread of COVID-19. In the current scenario, the industry manufacturers required is real-time visibility across corporate boundaries and down to the supply and demand chain. This can be done with the help of digital twin technology. The digital twin acts as a powerful digital shadow. They gather all the interrelating data sources from an asset’s entire lifecycle as its semantically defined, data-based virtualization.
A digital twin can be used to create twins of components, assemblies, people, or an entire manufacturing plant and can be combined in multiple ways to create a solution with numerous sources of data and information. Digital twins help to extend capabilities, increase flexibility, and mitigate the risk of business failure. For instance, Rolls-Royce has implemented the digital twin-based interoperable ecosystems to deliver the next generation in customer service.
Challenge: Lack of awareness regarding cost benefit of the adoption of digital twins
Companies do not have any specific plan for the implementation of digital twins for product management and have not made any significant investments yet. As the technology is new for many companies and requires significant changes, the companies are unclear about the economic benefits, investments involved, and the cost benefits in the near future. The determination of the potential of a digital twin is considered to be very complex and diverse, which further complicates the adoption of this technology.