How digital twins can accelerate new innovation adoption

Jeff Harris, VP at Keysight, on how dgital twins will better support developers and ensure their innovation becomes the next consumer necessity

With many organisations pursuing the adoption of digital twins to enable quicker and more resilient decision-making, they will continue to become a key validation tool in any new product development process. 

Jeff Harris, Vice President, Global Corporate and Portfolio Marketing at Keysight shares his thoughts on how digital twins will better support developers and ensure their innovation becomes the next consumer necessity.

How has the rapid pace of innovation affected our relationship with technology?

"We expect service levels to increase without incident, be always on in any condition, and deliver the promise of a wide range of new connections we never had before. So too are faster processors, more memory, better battery life, and networked applications that transition seamlessly to any of our many devices.  We no longer view new technologies as novelties. We listen to the promises, we try them, and if they work, we rapidly adopt them. The more they work, the more we come to rely on them.  The transition from ‘new novelty’ to ‘expectation’ went from years to months to sometimes weeks. "

How are increased customer expectations influencing the work of developers?

"Imagine you are a developer filled with the excitement of working on something new that will revolutionise how we live and function. You come up with all sorts of new features, new algorithms, new protocols aimed at automating something that used to be manual and cumbersome. You envision a lot of new use cases; you consider all the operating conditions you need to emulate; you think through your power budget and how much power each feature will consume; you work through every operating mode and user interface considering all the ways in which someone might use your new technology.

"Your test matrix is now quite large, and every software scrum session, hardware interface and operating mode’s impact on battery life needs to be tested each time you make the slightest change. What happens if you miss one – or two – and the feature doesn’t work as you intended?  The consequence is that your customer’s expectations will drop, and you might just find your product never moves beyond novelty. You’ve missed the adoption window. "

What is the role of digital twins in alleviating those pressures?

"The complexity, reliability, and fast pace of new technology introduction presents a new development paradigm for companies wanting to push the limits of innovation: a need for farther reaching digital twin development environments.  Hardware developers have long relied on emulation environments as part of layout before prototyping.

"Using emulators, or digital twins, reduces the number of design variables by allowing them to measure the impact of different operating environments, conditions, and protocol evolutions against known good references. Similarly, software developers use scrum methods and test in emulation sandboxes to incrementally build and deploy new features in smaller groupings, also to limit the number of variables."

What are the benefits of further integrating digital twins into this process?

"The rising intricacy of product interactions – communication protocol and evolving cloud platforms, continuous software and firmware updates – pose real challenges for developers as each represents a slew of new variables. Using continuously updated digital twins wherever possible enables development teams to reduce the variables that relate to their specific design. Reducing design variables using ‘known good’ digital twin references dramatically increases the likelihood that innovations function in practice the same as they were envisioned in the developer’s mind. In short, using a digital twins methodology speeds a product’s time to market and reduces the risk of missing the adoption window due to product failures. "  

How important is it for organisations to future proof their strategy?

"Whether you are working on the next IoT device, an autonomous driving vehicle, the next cellular standard, or quantum computing, you only get one chance to make a first impression with your new innovation. Expectations are high, so if you want to become the next necessity, not just another novelty, ensure your design framework includes a solid digital twin strategy to readily meet today’s rapid adoption expectations."

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