Atos: Digital twin enables decarbonization

At scale, digital twin is a sustainability play

“Digital twin is a decarbonization enabler” and in the next five years “people will generate carbon credits out of digital twin.” Sandeep Bhan, Atos’ global senior expert on digital twin made those assertions at the end of a LinkedIn webinar today in response to TBR’s question about the more-than-marginal business impacts possible through deploying digital twins.

As IT services vendors, consultancies and their clients increasingly talk about sustainability, TBR has kept a skeptical eye on what emerging technologies or consulting trends bring true change to decarbonization and what’s just hype. Bhan and his colleague Murli Mohan Srinivas, Atos’ global leader for Industry 4.0 & digital twin, made a compelling case that digital twin, as part of a greater toolkit, will be part of many companies’ sustainability efforts. Incremental improvements in operational efficiency enabled by digital twin and taken to scale could bring substantial energy and cost savings, potentially converted into tangible decarbonization results. As Srinivas noted, “Every 0.1% increase in asset availability in wind turbine translated to a few hundred thousand units of power generated, which directly translated, in terms of months … into millions of dollars of real energy.”

From TBR’s perspective, digital twin has been an emerging technology more hyped than understood or deployed. The title of the Atos webinar, “Digital Twin Demystified,” reinforces how the intricacies and impacts of digital twin remain largely underappreciated across the broader technology space. This combination of digital twin mystification and increasing hype around sustainability fuels TBR’s uncertainty around the long-term potential of both.

Listening to experts drill down on specific use cases and tie specific technology implementations with real-world business outcomes helps alleviate some of those concerns while uncovering additional questions around applicability beyond asset-heavy industries, demands on change management and talent, and prioritization of digital twin in any sustainability or digital transformation engagement. TBR will continue probing Atos and other IT services vendors and consultancies on their digital twin offerings and capabilities and will consider Bhan’s assertion about digital twin enabling decarbonization in TBR’s inaugural Decarbonization Market Landscape, (scheduled to publish in June).

Atos’ investments in expertise, capabilities and offerings

During the Atos webinar, Bhan and Srinivas made a few other key points about digital twin, including:

  • Digital twin will be increasingly in demand as customers deploy additional automations, look to capture and exploit existing institutional knowledge, and apply the last couple years of supply chain management lessons to their ongoing operations.
  • Customers come to Atos because of the company’s legacy of design engineering across many manufacturing areas, deep understanding of how connected products are more connected, and ability to work across a complex ecosystem. Atos, they noted, has invested for years in not only understanding but also developing expertise, capabilities and offerings around digital twins.
  • Based on those years of investment and development, Atos takes a systematic approach to assessing a customer’s digital twin opportunities and needs: collect structured and unstructured  data coming from the asset in the field; marry that to relevant data coming from the enterprise ecosystem, such as service lifecycle management; and, critically, fold in an understanding of relevant “semantic knowledge … the knowledge of people,” the experience of people. In Atos’s view, digital twin solutions must combine all three to then be able to properly address a business problem.

Over the quick 30-minute primer, the speakers made a compelling case for the company’s expertise, capabilities, and offerings around digital twin. TBR will continue following Atos’ efforts in the digital twin space and include our assessments and analysis in quarterly reports on the vendor, as well as in TBR’s Digital Transformation reports, when applicable.