During its recent Investor Day, Telstra said it plans to make digital twins of 90% of its mobile structures by FY25 and “lead the market in how digital twins can be leveraged to optimize customer outcomes.” Kim Krogh Andersen, Group Executive, Product and Technology, Telstra, gave insight into some of the work Telstra is doing on digital twins during the second week of TM Forum's Digital Transformation World Series (DTWS).
Digital twins are digital representations of physical assets, processes or people, created using multiple physical and digital data sources. Several industries, such as manufacturing, already use these virtual copies of real-world environments to safely simulate, for example, how new ideas will work in practice, allowing them to take decisions more quickly. Increasingly the telco industry is weighing up how digital twins can help them better understand and exploits their assets and develop new services.
In September 2020 Telstra announced a digital twin partnership with Microsoft and
has started developing digital twins both for internal use and for its customers.
“When we talk about digital twins, the beauty of it is that you can start modeling … and simulating your business … instead of doing a lot of trial and errors,” said Tony Shakib, General Manager/Partner, Azure IoT, Microsoft Corporation, speaking with Telstra at DTWS.
“You don't want to bring down the assembly line to try different things. Or if you have a city, you don't want to shut down the city to try different things,” said Shakib. “Once you get that data, you can start modeling, get to understand what is the best performance of that entity, and then you drive your business towards it.”Digitally twinning the agricultural supply chain
One of Telstra’s first projects has involved creating a digital twin of its own headquarters in Melbourne to understand and manage how it can bring people back into the office safely after the Covid-19 pandemic. But it is also looking at how it can use digital twins to support customers vertical sectors.
“We are heavily into agriculture; we are heavily into supply chain. The [agriculture] supply chain is probably one of the most interesting areas where digital twins can create a lot of value and optimize the flow,” said Krogh Andersen.
In addition, he said, Telstra is interested in what can be done with digital twins in the mining industry.
A number of catalyst projects within TM Forum are working to facilitate digital twin deployment. One TM Forum Catalyst team aims to help make it easier for CSPs to use digital twins to overcome the complexity and risk of building smart cities. To this end, it has defined the Open Digital Twin Framework, a reference software architecture for smart city operation. Another TM Forum Catalyst team meanwhile is examining the use of digital network twins to help manage the greater automation required by B2B2x and industrial 5G services.Watch the Case study: Digital Twins (DT): Partnering for the next stage of digital evolution here.