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TECHNOLOGY

Why Businesses Should Use Digital Twins

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Why Businesses Should Use Digital Twins


Businesses can test, monitor and validate a product before launch with the help of digital twin technology.

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Digital twin enables engineers to identify any process failures before the product goes into production.

Business leaders can develop digital twins that help blur the line between the virtual world and the physical one to offer better products and to enhance customer experience.

Delivering a satisfying customer experience is one of the top priorities for every business. For this purpose, businesses carefully analyze customer journeys and market trends. In the digital era, customer journeys have become even more complex. Right from finding out about a new brand online or through friends and family to posting product reviews on social media, customer journeys can go through multiple stages. Additionally, changing market trends can influence customer experience drastically. Hence, business leaders have to develop complex strategies to enhance customer experience

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Organizations can develop digital twins to help enhance customer experience. A digital twin is a virtual replica of a product, system, process, or customer that helps businesses visualize various aspects and collect crucial data. Digital twin can be compared to X-ray vision that allows businesses to monitor their products in real-time. Digital twins can be utilized in several industry sectors like retail, healthcare, construction, and manufacturing. Digital twins can be connected to real-world products using IoT sensors to collect vital data. Digital twins can also be generated using customer data to understand behavioral patterns of customers. With the data collected from digital twins of products and customers, business leaders can develop effective strategies to deliver high-quality products and enhance customer experience.

Businesses can adopt digital twin technology to enhance customer experience in the following manner:

1. Advanced Customer Behavioral Analytics

Several businesses collect vital customer data that includes transactional details, social media, purchase history, and personal information. All the obtained customer data can help businesses increase their sales by 85% and gross margin by 25%. Such customer data can be utilized to generate digital twins of different customers. With the help of these digital twins, businesses can gain insights into various customer demographics. By leveraging digital twins, businesses can deliver personalized products and services that cater to specific customer demographics and enhance customer experience.

Organizations can utilize digital twins of customers to predict customer behavior. Digital twins can help analyze purchase patterns of different customers with the help of machine learning, which can be used to offer discounts on certain products. For instance, retailers can track which customers have bought 5 kg packets of sugar and predict when the customers will return for new packets using digital twins. Based on the prediction, retailers can offer discounts on the 5 kg packets to improve their sales. Similarly, digital twins can be used by different industry sectors to increase their sales and enhance customer experience. Also, digital twins can help businesses develop personalized marketing strategies for various customer demographics.

2. Efficient Product Launch Strategy

Launching new products when they are in demand is a necessity for every successful business. Market trends are always changing, which explains why organizations have to launch certain products in a specific time period. An organization has to evaluate its product strategies in case a trending product is launched after the trend has died out. Therefore, business leaders develop effective strategies before launching any product. 

Organizations can use digital twins of their customers to identify which products are in high demand and predict market trends. With the help of such digital twins, business leaders can accurately strategize for product launch. Also, organizations can design new products with the help of digital twins. Digital twins can help business leaders understand behavioral patterns and requirements of various customers. For instance, phone manufacturers upgrade their flagship devices every year after analyzing designs and specifications that are trending in the market. Likewise, organizations can design new products after analyzing customer demands and market trends.

3. Enhanced Product Quality

Organizations constantly try to improve the quality of their products to enhance customer experience. Generally, product testing is based on theoretical and historical data. But, the results may not align with the way each customer uses the product. Hence, the traditional approach of product testing may be ineffective in some cases.

Businesses can utilize connected digital twins of products to collect data regarding how a product is being used, its performance in different conditions, components used in production, and maintainability records. All this data can be obtained in real-time using IoT sensors. Using the collected data, designers can develop superior versions of their prototype to deliver better quality and enhance customer experience. Additionally, product testing can include A/B testing, simulations, and what-if analysis based on real-time data rather than theoretical data. With this approach, product testing can generate results that can be compared with real-world conditions.

4. Strong Predictive Analytics

Product or equipment failures can be effectively avoided with the help of digital twins. IoT sensors installed in products can monitor them in real-time. These products are connected to digital twins, helping customer support executives understand whether a product needs proactive maintenance. For example, a connected digital twin of a coffee machine can help the manufacturers track the performance of the machine and identify possible defects. After identifying possible defects, support executives can contact the owner and schedule repairs. Using the collected data, support executives can predict service requirements and lifespan of the product. With this approach, support staff can minimize unplanned downtimes, improve product performance, lower maintenance costs, and increase a product’s lifespan. Hence, the utilization of digital twins can enhance customer experience. 

Predictive analytics and maintenance can prove to be useful in factories. In this scenario, equipment failures can lead to downtimes and maintenance expenses. Usually, factories conduct regular inspections for their equipment. However, several possible defects may not be visible during inspections. These defects can eventually lead to equipment failures. Alternatively, real-time monitoring with IoT sensors and digital twins can help predict multiple possible equipment defects in their early stages. With this approach, businesses can not only reduce maintenance costs but also ensure safety of their employees.

5. Effective Troubleshooting

In case of faulty machines or customer complaints, product manufacturers usually send technicians to resolve issues. But, scheduling visits can be complicated as technicians have multiple repair tasks lined up or customers may be busy with their own schedule. Such instances lead to delays in the troubleshooting process. Additionally, some technicians may be specialized in troubleshooting certain issues with the product and require further assistance for others. For example, a technician is fixing a laptop and discovers an internal component they are not familiar with. In such scenarios, the technician needs to collaborate with another technician to resolve the issue but such collaboration can be tedious and lead to errors.

Conclusion 

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Creating a connected digital twin will help technicians detect faults and interact with products remotely. Technicians can troubleshoot issues on the digital twins and collaborate with customers or on-site technicians to fix them in real-time. With this approach, technicians can reduce delays in the troubleshooting process and deliver necessary assistance without any errors. Also, technicians can detect defective components in advance and carry spare parts for on-site troubleshooting. In this manner, technicians can reduce commute costs that can occur in case a technician has to return with spare parts. Hence, the adoption of connected digital twins can simplify troubleshooting procedures to enhance customer experience.   With exponential development of IoT and decreasing cost of sensors, digital twins will be more apparent in several industry sectors. For instance, healthcare institutions can develop digital twins of their patients using wearables to monitor their health and alert them about their medications. Likewise, several organizations can adopt digital twins for different applications that will ensure customer satisfaction and enhance customer experience.



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TECHNOLOGY

On email security in the era of hybrid working

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Cloud Computing News


With remote working the future for so many global workforces – or at least some kind of hybrid arrangement – is there an impact on email security we are all missing? Oliver Paterson, director of product management at VIPRE Security, believes so.

“The timeframe that people expect now for you to reply to things is shortened massively,” says Paterson. “This puts additional stress and pressure on individuals, which can then also lead to further mistakes. [Employees] are not as aware if they get an email with a link coming in – and they’re actually more susceptible to clicking on it.”

The cybercriminal’s greatest friend is human error, and distraction makes for a perfect bedfellow. The remote working calendar means that meetings are now held in virtual rooms, instead of face-to-face. A great opportunity for a quick catch up on a few emails during a spot of downtime, perhaps? It’s also a great opportunity for an attacker to make you fall for a phishing attack.

“It’s really about putting in the forefront there that email is the major first factor when we talk about data breaches, and anything around cyberattacks and ransomware being deployed on people’s machines,” Paterson says around education. “We just need to be very aware that even though we think these things are changing, [you] need to add a lot more security, methods and the tactics that people are using to get into your business is still very similar.

“The attacks may be more sophisticated, but the actual attack vector is the same as it was 10-15 years ago.”

This bears true in the statistics. The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) found in its Phishing Activity Trends Report (pdf) in February that attacks hit an all-time high in 2021. Attacks had tripled since early 2020 – in other words, since the pandemic began. 

VIPRE has many solutions to this age-old problem, and the email security product side of the business comes primarily under Paterson’s remit. One such product is VIPRE SafeSend, which focuses on misaddressed emails and prevents data leakage. “Everyone’s sent an email to the wrong person at some point in their life,” says Paterson. “It just depends how serious that’s been.”

Paterson notes one large FMCG brand, where a very senior C-level executive had the same name as someone else in the business much lower down. Naturally, plenty of emails went to the wrong place. “You try and get people to be uber-careful, but we’ve got technology solutions to help with those elements as well now,” says Paterson. “It’s making sure that businesses are aware of that, then also having it in one place.”

Another part of the product portfolio is with EDR (endpoint detection and response). The goal for VIPRE is to ‘take the complexities out of EDR management for small to medium-sized businesses and IT teams.’ Part of this is understanding what organisations really want. 

The basic knowledge is there, as many organisational surveys will show. Take a study from the Enterprise Security Group (ESG) released in October in terms of ransomware preparedness. Respondents cited network security (43%), backup infrastructure security (40%), endpoint (39%), email (36%) and data encryption (36%) as key prevention areas. Many security vendors offer this and much more – but how difficult is it to filter out the noise?

“People understand they need an endpoint solution, and an email security solution. There’s a lot of competitors out there and they’re all shouting about different things,” says Paterson. “So it’s really getting down to the nitty gritty of what they actually need as a business. That’s where we at VIPRE try to make it as easy as possible for clients. 

“A lot of companies do EDR at the moment, but what we’ve tried to do is get it down to the raw elements that every business will need, and maybe not all the bells and whistles that probably 99% of organisations aren’t going to need,” Paterson adds.

“We’re very much a company that puts a lot of emphasis on our clients and partners, where we treat everyone as an individual business. We get a lot of comments [from customers] that some of the biggest vendors in there just treat them as a number.”

Paterson is speaking at the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo Global, in London on December 1-2 around the rising threat of ransomware, and how the security industry evolves alongside this threat. Having a multi-layered approach will be a cornerstone of Paterson’s message, and his advice to businesses is sound.

“Take a closer look at those areas, those threat vectors, the way that they are coming into the business, and make sure that you are putting those industry-level systems in place,” he says. “A lot of businesses can get complacent and just continue renewing the same thing over and over again, without realising there are new features and additions. Misdelivery of email is a massive one – I would say the majority of businesses don’t have anything in place for it.

“Ask ‘where are the risk areas for your business?’ and understand those more, and then make sure to put those protection layers in place to help with things like ransomware attacks and other elements.”

(Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash)

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London.

Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.



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