Tolaga Research: AI-Powered Industry Research

Into the Digital Twin Limelight

Thought Leader: Phil Marshall, PhD

Digital Twins

June 2023
Digital twins have been gaining market attention with increased adoption, particularly in the last seven to eight years since 2015. Digital twin use cases are diverse and penetrate virtually every corner of the digital world to create virtual replicas of objects, processes, persons, places, and their lifecycles.

A study of online content investigated the activity, dynamics and maturity of the digital twin market. This study harvested and analyzed a corpus of 4950 targeted web content documents with natural language processing (NLP) to evaluate digital twin market activity between 2015 and 2022. Although the analysis only captures digital twin activity reported online, we believe it provides visibility for overall market activity and momentum, measured using a Online Activity Index (OAI). The MAI describes a market in terms of three phases:

  • Speculative : to reflect the early stages of market development when it is defining itself.
  • Transitional : when speculation has peaked, and market sentiment recalibrates towards a long-term position, and;
  • Clarity : when the market and its future development (or decline) are well understood.

Between 2015 and 2022, the OAI for digital twins has consistently increased in the speculative phase and, based on historical precedent, will likely transition between 2025 and 2027 toward sustainable market expansion. Under this scenario and with historical cloud revenue growth as a precedent, global digital twin expenditures are forecast to increase from USD 8.4 to 77.4 billion between 2022 and 2030, with a 32 percent cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR).


Show Time for Automotive Manufacturing and Industry 4.0

Thought Leader: Phil Marshall, PhD

5G and Industry 4

August 2021
The automotive industry is experiencing tremendous disruption due to accelerated demand for electric vehicles (EV), new platforms and services, and sustainable manufacturing practices. Carmakers are upgrading existing manufacturing facilities and building new factories to support sustainable EV vehicle production combined with maturing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. With these upgrades, carmakers developing new capabilities, such as EV battery and power-train production, are implementing targeted Industry 4.0/smart manufacturing capabilities to enable data management, robotics and automation, and real-time monitoring and control. These capabilities require robust network connectivity. Today fixed connectivity is typically favored as the primary connectivity for non-mobile assets. Wi-Fi is used in some cases for mobile equipment and backup connectivity for non-mobile assets. 5G is gaining some traction in automotive manufacturing facilities, which we expect will accelerate as private 5G networking matures and 5G becomes better aligned with the specific use-cases for automotive manufacturing. Notable examples include:

  • Reliable, safe and secure (aka ultra-reliable-low-latency uRLLC) network connectivity for industrial and collaborative robotics.
  • Scalable and reliable machine connectivity for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance and anomaly detection, and;
  • Ubiquitous connectivity to support digital twinning, supply chain optimization, and other sustainability initiatives.

Given its capabilities, 5G should already have a more robust positioning for automotive manufacturing but is hindered by competition from fixed and WiFi networking. Although WiFi lacks performance and fixed networking lacks flexibility, they are both well understood and tend to be favored. Moreover, 5G has been spearheaded by telecom companies, with a long legacy with consumer broadband services. We believe that this causes the 'chameleon-like' positioning of 5G, which emphasizes its technical prowess, rather than the unique use-cases that it enables for in vertical markets like automotive manufacturers.

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5G Network Slicing Trials and Tribulations

Thought Leader: Phil Marshall, PhD

5G and Industry 4

March 2022
Dynamic network slicing has been a 5G service capability from the earliest days of 5G development. The slicing concept is relatively straightforward. Instead of a traditional 'one-size-fits-all' approach towards resource allocation, network resources are dynamically allocated using virtual networks optimized for individual services. For example, a network slice (i.e., virtual network) to support IoT might have sparse 5G core resources and no handover functionality but massive connectivity demands. In contrast, a mobile broadband slice is likely to require extensive 5G core resources, fully-featured handover capabilities, and support high data rates.

At first glance, dynamic network slicing resembles the quality-of-service (QoS) classes introduced in 3G with limited success. Arguably the Achilles heel for 3G-QoS was the additional infrastructure resources needed to ensure adequate QoS service levels. Slicing aims to avoid this trap using the native network virtualization capabilities inherent to 5G. Slicing also capitalizes on the diversity of digital service demands as enterprise and consumer use-cases proliferate.

Dynamic network slicing should be coveted in a world besieged with network commoditization.
But it isn't.
Here's why...

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Finding a 5G Future

April 2021
While it is possible to speculate 5G revenue opportunities for mobile operators, the reality is that nobody knows how the market will develop. Industry spectators have wide-ranging expectations from the pessimistic 'glass-half-empty' to the optimistic 'glass-half-full.' While both the 'half-empty' and 'half-full' camps have some efficacy, at Tolaga we fall into a third camp, where the 'glass' is the wrong size. We believe that instead of focusing on the reassurance of speculative 5G revenues, investors should seek solace that mobile operators are investing in the right places to prepare themselves for 5G revenue opportunities as they emerge.

Half Empty

There is a diversity of opinion in the 'half-empty' camp. But in essence, these opinions are undergirded by a belief that mobile operators cannot evolve from consumer-orientated mass markets with highly standardized services, highly controlled ecosystems, market channels, and end-to-end service delivery.

5G enabled digital services for vertical markets like smart cities, manufacturing and connected vehicles are different. They have complex ecosystems with specialized functionality and many stakeholders. Historically mobile operators have struggled to capitalize on these types of opportunities. A notable example is Internet Multimedia Systems (IMS)....

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