The idea of digital twins — digital representations of physical systems, products or processes that serve as indistinguishable counterparts for purposes such as simulations, testing, monitoring and maintenance — has been around for some time. But indications are the concept’s time has come for wider adoption to support business applications.

“With the rapid adoption of digital twins, we’re seeing two categories of practical applications arise: use-cases by industry that solve a very specific challenge, and industry-agnostic use-cases which aid in broader strategy and decision making,” said Frank Diana, principal futurist at Tata Consultancy Services.

Like artificial intelligence a few years ago, digital twin technology has tipped from highly specific applications into becoming a widespread management best practice, Diana said.