Digital twins: How big is the opportunity for industrial organisations?

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By Deborah Sherry

Looking at how advanced our world has become, a bridge to the virtual world is no longer an imagination as the concept of digital twins is already being developed in the IoT space, ushering in an era of more efficient operational performance and business processes.


Industrialisation has had a profound impact on human history and has created major shifts in society thanks to technology innovations that can be traced back to four key stages of industrialisation. While the first three stages were marked by the rise of mechanisation, mass production and automation, the last one, often dubbed the Fourth Industrial revolution, is defined by ubiquitous connectivity. This new stage of industrial development is driven by the wider adoption of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and other emerging technologies such as AI, advanced robotics and 3D printing, which have the potential to revolutionise production and drive productivity growth.

The Industrial Internet, which connects machines, product diagnostics, software, analytics and people, so that businesses can operate more efficiently, presents a massive opportunity to transform European industries. Conservative estimates suggest that the Industrial Internet market is about £173 Billion globally, compared to the consumer Internet, which is about £131 Billion. Apart from being a driver of growth, the Industrial Internet will drive the adoption of new technology innovations that have the potential to revolutionise how goods and machines are manufactured and repaired. One of these innovations is digital twins.

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About the Author

Deborah Sherry is the Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of GE Digital in Europe. Her division delivers cloud-based solutions that connect industry, transforming industrial businesses into digital industrial businesses. Prior to joining GE, Deborah has had experiences with companies such as Google, France Telecom Group (now Orange), Samsung, and Citibank in London. She holds an MBA from the London Business School, an MA (Hons) Law from Oxford University and a BA from Columbia University. She is a strong supporter of diversity, promoting equality for women and the LGBT community.


1 Gartner, Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018, 3rd October 2017


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