Digital twins are clones of physical entities. They are exact digital replicas that can also reflect the changes of the underlying entity in the real world because they’re continuously fed with real-time data using integrated sensors and other devices.
Digital twins are integral components of the industry 4.0 revolution. They help engineers, architects, and designers monitor, understand, and optimize products and processes. Their most widely used applications include infrastructure design, aerospace manufacturing, and patient treatments.
Because they connect the physical and digital worlds with constant real-time data updates, digital twins will be indispensable in metaverse applications. Although we already have many 3D virtual worlds and metaverse-like games, we are far from a parallel world that is in constant communication with our physical world. As Epic Games’ business development manager David Weir-McCall notes, “If the metaverse is an equivalent reality that coexists next to the physical reality, there needs to be a connection. Digital twins offer this missing element and so can provide the connection.”
On the path to becoming the building blocks of the metaverse, digital twins will fuse with other essential technologies, including artificial intelligence, the internet of things, machine learning, big data, and augmented and virtual realities.
LeewayHerz designs digital twins for its clients specifically for metaverse implementations. Seamless integration with virtual reality and carrying out digital twin simulations are big challenges, and this is where the company makes a significant contribution. Along with blockchain, NFT and metaverse services, the digital twin technology helps LeewayHerz develop solutions for gaming and 3D space developments, as well as customizable and hyper-realistic metaverse avatars.
Another company that creates hyper-realistic avatars built with digital twins is Soul Machines. The company previously launched the digital twin of Jack Nicklaus, which allowed the legendary professional golfer to share his golf passion, experience, and playing tips with his fans. Soul Machines has a separate division for creating human-like avatars of celebrities, which can be used to engage entertainment consumers.
Apart from entertainment purposes, other applications of digital twins to date are found in enterprise-related areas, such as real estate, supply chain, and infrastructure projects. In such domains, many interconnected digital twins are applied instead of a single digital twin that represents one entity because the involved processes are highly complex.
According to an analysis by McKinsey, 70% of C-suite technology executives at large enterprises are exploring digital twins, and market estimates for digital-twin investments are over $48 billion by 2026. Companies can use digital twins in call-center metaverses as customer support, for example. Moreover, retailers can create digital twins in their warehouses to monitor product availabilities in real time.
A company that develops enterprise metaverse solutions is Nomoco. It builds a metaverse platform powered by digital twins for real estate professionals and provides services for aerial 3D models. Digital twin technology helps the company run simulations and models of real estate in the metaverse and use the learning from the outcomes to optimize both the digital twins and the physical entities.
In addition, a growing number of city municipalities are experimenting with metaverse applications of digital twins. For instance, the city of Seoul, South Korea, will launch a metaverse to serve citizens and tourists through administrative activities. The Seoul metaverse will use digital twins to improve public transportation, report fires, and increase security.
Earlier, Dubai had also announced that it would build a digital twin-city metaverse. Wellington city, New Zealand, uses digital twins to foster an understanding of the impacts of extreme weather events and make better decisions regarding climate change. We’ll see more cities constructing metaverse twin cities in the near future.