A digital representation of a physical asset or the service delivered by it, used to make decisions that will affect the physical asset. Any changes to the physical assets will be reflected in the digital twin.
In the context of Digital Built Britain a digital twin is a realistic digital representation of assets, processes or systems in the built or natural environment. What distinguishes a digital twin from any other digital model is its connection to the physical twin. Based on data from the physical asset or system, a digital twin unlocks value principally by supporting improved decision making, which creates the opportunity for positive feedback into the physical twin. The concept of digital twins is not new: Nasa has run complex simulations of spacecraft for decades. However, the advance of the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ is making cyber-physical systems in the built environment practical, useful and affordable, and digital twins are a key part of this.