The Democratization of the Digital Twin

By Miguel Tam

The “digital twin” is maybe one of the most intriguing trends in Industry 4.0, but it’s typically meant for large industrial manufacturers. But what about the rest of us? Here are some examples of how companies are democratizing and redefining the digital twin.

What is a “digital twin?” The most common description is simulating a digital version of a real product. By having a digital version of an aircraft engine for example (the number of hours it’s been running, the number of landings and takeoffs, etc.), companies like GE can better determine engine performance and eliminate potential failures.

The digital twin is still in its early stages, as it’s still mostly focused around engines, power plants and industrial equipment. And most people think of it as something solely for engineering and operations.

rayRay Hein, Propel’s CEO, has a more comprehensive view: “Companies are thinking of the digital twin more broadly and strategically. Customers are asking us to help them understand what their customers actually own down to the most granular level of detail, how they’re using products, which components have quality issues, and what the latest version of product their customers are using. Sure, some of this is to better predict performance and give that feedback to engineering. But a broader use case for the digital twin is leveraging that deep customer and product insight.”

Here are two examples of how companies are democratizing and redefining the digital twin.

Digital Twin in Software: Digital twins aren’t just for manufacturers. Propel is working with a software company to help them manage changes to their cloud infrastructure. As the company updates their infrastructure assets, Propel can help everyone understand what specifically is changing, ensure updates go through proper approvals, and help everyone see a complete change history for all their assets. With better insights into what’s changed in the field, this software company can make better operational, purchasing and upgrade decisions.

Digital Twin for Sales: Digital twins aren’t just for operations either. A medical equipment manufacturer is beginning to use digital twins to drive add-on sales and upgrades. A real-time understanding of everything a customer owns and how often products have been serviced helps the company’s sales teams see which types of products, bundles and services would be most useful for an existing customer to purchase.

These are just two examples of how companies are democratizing the digital twin. To find out how Propel can help you with your digital twin strategy, visit

Tags: digital transformation, PLM, plm software, Blog, cloud plm, digital twin