BluePrint: Digital Twins

Read a complimentary blueprint that dives into foundational digital twin concepts, from trends to applications.


Digital Twin technology has been gaining traction, with increasing adoption rates across many industries. We are seeing utilities of all sizes, not just those representing large communities, interested in engaging in conversations to learn more about digital twins. Through a collaboration between the Smart Water Networks Forum (SWAN), BlueTech Research, and Karmous-Edwards Consulting, join us as we collectively look to identify where water utilities are in terms of adoptions, types of deployments, and the major hurdles they face today.

For those unfamiliar with Digital Twins (DTs), we have prepared a short introductory piece – a BluePrint. Here you will read more about what a DT is and how it can be leveraged to meet the needs and objectives of utilities. Learn more about why model-based analytics provide powerful insights via the use of behavioural models and context data.

Seeking to find out more about the drivers, barriers and perhaps misconceptions on digital twin technologies in the industry, SWAN and BlueTech Research conducted a global water utility survey on digital twin perspectives and adoptions.

“We are definitely hearing more from our clients, including water utilities, corporate end-users, technology providers and investors, getting excited about digital twins” says Rhys Owen, BlueTech’s Research Director. “The market is growing and moving fast, and we are very excited to collaborate with SWAN on this work.”

Gigi Karmous-Edwards, of Karmous-Edwards Consulting, added: “Three and a half years ago, when SWAN started the SWAN Digital Twin Work Group, very few utilities had even heard of the term Digital Twin. Today, many of the early adopter utilities across the globe are not only aware of the term, but are currently deploying digital twins to meet key objectives or have embedded them as part of their near-term roadmap.”

Some highlighted findings

What are utilities’ top concerns?
Unsurprisingly, the top three concerns for utilities noted through the survey are water availability/supply & demand issues, asset management and related field services, and wastewater collection (stormwater, inflow/infiltration).

What surprised us was that water and wastewater treatment plant operation are significantly lower in priority.

Given so many digital twin technologies focused on plant operations, this might point to a marketing mismatch.

What percentage of utilities have implemented digital twins?

The 15% of Maybe took us by surprise. Given self-selection bias, respondents most likely are aware of their utility’s digital solutions, so the uncertainty most likely stems from a lack of clear understanding about what across the digital water landscape constitutes a DT (Our BluePrint can hopefully help!)

We invite you to read our BluePrint and upcoming Survey Report (coming May 2023) to find out about the types of digital tools the industry has widely adopted and the key applications, drivers, and barriers of Digital Twins. In addition to a discussion and outlook section, the full report will include a “C-Suite Actions” section with concrete suggestions for CTOs, utility leaders, R&D and M&A groups active in this space.

This BluePrint has successfully pulled together a wide range of foundational digital twin information, from broad concepts to more specific applications. This collaborative output represents a very comprehensive and easy to digest view of some of the potential drivers and barriers to digital twin project deployment.

– Satish Tripathi, P.E., Managing Engineer, Houston Public Works

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