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DHL wants partners to explore ‘digital twins’ for logistics

04 July 2019

The global logistics giant released a Trend Report on “Digital Twins in Logistics”. 

A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical thing that monitors and simulates both the physical state and behaviour of the thing. The digital copy is continually connected to the physical object(s) and updates itself to reflect real-world changes. It can be applied to products, a warehouse, or a global supply chain.

“The market for digital twins is expected to grow more than 38% each year, passing the $26 billion mark by 2025,” explains Matthias Heutger, DHL. “Digital twins offer unparalleled capabilities to track, monitor, and diagnose assets. They will change traditional supply chains, with a range of options to facilitate data-driven decision making and collaboration, streamlined business processes, and new business models. We are keen to work with our customers and partners to jointly explore applications in our industry.”

In logistics digital twins could be used in a variety of applications along the entire value chain, including the management of container fleets, monitoring of shipments or the design of logistics systems. IoT sensors on individual containers for example, show their location and monitor for damage or contamination. This data flows into a digital twin of the container network, which uses machine learning to ensure that containers are being deployed as efficiently as possible. 

The Report acknowledges that digital twins is a technology in its infancy and ‘challenges and limitations remain in computing resources, precise representation, total cost, data quality, governance, and organisational culture’. 

The report can be downloaded free here.