Digital twins will be like real-life Sim City: Citrix

Safi Obeidullah said the technology will enable businesses to respond faster to change and make more accurate decisions.

One of the biggest opportunities with digital twin technology is that will enable businesses to make better decisions and do so a lot faster, according to recently appointed Citrix Asia-Pacific and Japan field CTO Safi Obeidullah.

"The big positive is ultimately enabling businesses or organisations to respond faster to change," he told ZDNet

"As the world continues to move forward, more and more industries are being pushed to respond faster and change faster, and that can only happen by having the ability to make the right decision.

"Often in the past, you would make the right decision based on gut or a set of static data, but if you have a living model where you could play out all the what if scenarios in a real-world environment … then [the] decisions you can make [will be] a lot more accurate."

Obeidullah compared the concept of digital twin to the game Sim City.

"A digital twin for me would almost be like the game Sim City, where it's a living, breathing company that gets a constant feed of all the different elements … [of] what it would be like if we introduce this product or we reduce the price of this product, and how would that play out in the market," he said.

See also: How digital transformation and analytics combine to form a digital twin (TechRepublic)

He said however, the technology remains in its infancy as the adoption of it relies on data, much of which has yet to be digitised.

"If you think about how many records are still stored on paper, whether it's in hospitals, medical centres, or tax offices, that's the challenge we've got," Obeidullah said.

"We've got a certain subset of data that is good, but for a futuristic builder to truly model it in a digital twin, you need to have all of that data and historical data to build an accurate representation of how a twin could look like."

He also warned that with the handling of so much data, it will bring along with it certain data sovereignty, confidentiality, and IP-related complexities for businesses.

"If I'm going to inject all of my business model or governance data into the cloud, do I trust that cloud and do I want them to have all pieces of data available, including social security numbers, all in one place … The big risk for anyone embracing this model will be, 'How do I protect my data and make sure I'm letting the right people have access to it?'" Obeidullah said.

His warning comes just as Citrix earlier this year suffered a security breach that saw hackers access the company's internal network and download business documents.

As a result, the company said it took "significant actions" to safeguard its systems to avoid any future breaches.

"We performed a global password reset, improved our internal password management, and strengthened password protocols. Further, we improved our logging at the firewall, increased our data exfiltration monitoring capabilities, and eliminated internal access to non-essential web-based services along with disabling non-essential data transfer pathways," the company wrote in a blog post.

"We also deployed FireEye's endpoint agent technology across our systems to provide an additional layer of defense. These protective agents perform continuous monitoring across the enterprise permitting us to quickly contain any detected issues."

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