back to news and insights
Thought leadership

How data-led intelligence and digital twins are driving innovation in warehouses

Dexory recently released its guide to ‘digital twins’, exploring how data-led intelligence and digital twins drive warehouse innovation. We believe digital twins within warehousing and logistics will be vital.

Evolution of digital twins

It might surprise you that the concept of modelling the real world is not new. The first known reference dates back to between 3000 – 6000 BC, and it consists of the models of buildings and dwellings from the Trypillian Culture in the regions that now represent the territory of Ukraine.

Jump forward to 2002 and Michael Grieves originated the modern-day concept of the ‘digital twin’. He is commonly known as the father of digital twins. Then in early 2018, European software company, Dassault Systèmes finished building a digital twin of Singapore 3DEXPERIENCity. It enables users from different sectors to develop sophisticated tools and applications for test bedding concepts and services.

So how does a digital twin really differ from a 3D model?

One issue is the divide between the digital and the physical world. 3D models represent a moment in time. It is when changes are made physically or to the data used for the simulation. Therefore, the representation is soon out of date.

Developments in technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning have advanced development and capabilities. So today, digital twins don’t just reflect how things were designed or implemented originally but can provide a picture of how they are actually operating in real-time, or in the past at a specific moment - or even a predicted simulation of the future!

Digital twins and real-time data

Using a digital twin, companies turn a simulation into a business tool that will increase productivity, optimisatIon and profitability.

A digital twin is the virtual model of a real ‘thing’ in real time:

- A digital twin simulates both the physical state and behaviour of the thing

- A digital twin is unique, associated with a single, specific instance of the thing

- A digital twin is connected to the thing, updating itself in response to known changes to the thing’s state, condition, or context.

Real-time data is usually captured by sensors and cameras and fed into an AI platform that connects the twin and the data, giving intelligent insights and helping managers optimise processes while having complete, remote real-time visibility.

A digital twin digitises the data, connects multiple points, unlocking new business opportunities with the provision of advanced services and the generation of valuable insight from operational data.

A digital twin future for warehouse operations

Dexory believes digital twins within warehousing and logistics will be vital in achieving greater operational efficiency, profitability and complete supply chain integration.

The digital twin in this concept can consist of several things, a traditional 3D CAD representation, a 2D drawing or an advanced data dashboard enhanced by a data layer and AI technology. It doesn’t matter whether the depicted area exists or will only exist in the future. A digital twin only functions to its full potential if it is maintained with up-to-date digital data, reflecting what is happening in real-time and allowing retrospective analysis.

The more real-time data available, the more accurate the twin can be, allowing operational teams to detect issues ahead of time, reducing loss of goods and improving efficiencies and profits.

Real-time actionable insight. All the time.

Dexory delivers by layering data and intelligence over physical environments, using the myriad of data points
collected by our robots from your physical space.

Our autonomous robots collect real-time data on parcels, pallets and products as it passes through the warehouse, allowing for much better inventory control and condition reporting. The data updates the digital twin platform.

The warehouse’s advanced and predictive analysis from the digital twin platform improves forecasting and drives more intelligent decision making.

Looking to the future

The ultimate digital twin for supply chains would be a model of the entire network, from the initial manufacturer, haulier, ports, sea and air freight movements, railway freight, warehousing/distribution centres, road networks and destination streets through to either the retail entity or the customer homes and workplaces.

We know that logistics is transforming into a truly tech industry. And the warehouse of the future will streamline its operations based on real-time data, feeding continuously into AI and automation.

Digital twins are also maturing; through the progress in IoT, big real-time data, open APIs, AI and virtual reality, the static digital model and simulation of the past are becoming alive in real-time to help optimise, predict and forecast inventory management.

If you’d like to learn more, download the full guide here -

EU flag

This company has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 849938