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The consultants also see digital twins as creating added value that goes beyond pure networking, and as driving forward numerous megatrends such as Industry 4.0 and smart cities. According to estimates by Deloitte , the number of IoT endpoints worldwide will rise to over 20 billion by 2020. 750 million of these are attributed to Germany. The networked objects are expected to supply millions of digital twins with data in the future. The sectors using digital images have mostly involved complex machinery such as jet engines to date. Digital twins could nevertheless also increase efficiency and transparency in many other working and living spaces.

The examples the consultants mention include IT itself, where digital twins of data centers enable these to be controlled and monitored. They could also facilitate the planning and simulation of capacities. In the health field, a digital twin could fully map a patient’s health data; mobile devices and apps that measure vital data already allow close monitoring. The implementation of such applications nevertheless requires an overarching, open supra platform, which only very large players would be capable of constructing.

The market research firm Gartner also sees the digital twin concept as a disruptive trend. Although the idea is not new, the time is ripe for it: they expect the market for digital twins to grow significantly in breadth and depth over the next five years. Gartner predicts that half of large industrial companies will be using digital twins by 2021.