Simulation Industry’s emerging ‘Digital-Twin’ tech creates opportunities in these 3 sectors

NOV 03, 2021

Imagine that you want to reduce jet lag from your upcoming international flight, and your virtual assistant prescribes you precise amounts of water, vitamins and exercise to reduce disruption to your sleep schedule.

This isn’t a far-off science fiction scenario. This is one of the innovations in the works, thanks to digital-twin technology presented in Orlando at the Oct. 19 Florida Simulation Summit.

A digital twin is the virtual recreation of a real object. The digital twin then can go through multiple simulations to quickly and easily test how it may react. Digital-twin technology pairs well with the work being done in Orlando’s $6 billion modeling, simulation and training sector.

Leaders in academia, business and the military gathered at the Florida Simulation Summit at the Orange County Convention Center to discuss the ways digital-twin technology can transform cybersecurity and other industries. It’s an important topic for the region, not only because of its relevance to the simulation industry but also because the University of Central Florida last year pitched a digital-twin-focused campus at Orlando International Airport.

Here’s a look at three examples business leaders shared of the way digital-twin technology can boost industries:

Get personalized wellness regimens

The Chopra Foundation, founded by author and alternative medicine advocate Deepak Chopra, is developing a “wellbeing genome index” to bring together the health and wellness data that’s increasingly collected by wearable devices, athletic equipment and more. The goal is to create a digital twin of a person that can be simulated and analyzed to determine the steps a person can take to reach a certain health outcome.

A demonstration video aired at the summit showed the index in action. For example, a virtual assistant may recommend a meditation routine before a board meeting to improve the user’s performance during the meeting.

The biggest challenge ahead for the development of the index is protecting the user’s data and building consumer trust, said Dr. Ara Suppiah, head of research at the Peak Living Institute at the Orlando-based Chopra Foundation. “The amount of data I can get from someone’s shoe is insane. We can get the data. What do we do with it, and how do we keep it safe? I don’t know yet.”

Speed up cybersecurity analysis and training

Simulation and digital-twin technology can revolutionize the speed at which the cybersecurity sector can process data, said Ingalls Information Security LLC CEO Jason Ingalls.

Currently, cybersecurity companies rely on analysts looking over huge dumps of data, one line at a time, to identify risk or fix a problem. However, digital-twin tech can allow cyber firms to model a cybersecurity attack and simulate it to find the relevant data much faster, Ingalls said.

For example, Woodworth, Louisiana-based Ingalls Information Security once was hired to pursue hackers who stole credit card information from every store operated by a large retail company. It took three weeks of combing through data to complete the investigation. That process could be done much quicker, Ingalls said. “With the simulation of that information and the ability to model the attackers’ movements and the file they were transferring between the computers — and then asking a simulation to show us every single occurrence of that activity — would have shortened that dramatically.”

Recreate an airport

Of course, digital-twin tech also can be used to replicate something physically massive — such as one of North America’s largest airports.

Vancouver International Airport used Unity Software Inc.’s platform to simulate situations at the airport, said Unity Head of Government Business Solutions John Cunningham, who is based in Orlando. This originally was done to enable airport cameras to detect if a vehicle was parked at a curb for an extended amount of time.

Still, the usage can be expanded to simulate passenger traffic, update the layout of airport facilities and conduct employee training, Cunningham said.