Virtalis logo

By John Murray

Connected Immersive Visualisation | Digital Twin Series #5

Using the Digital Twin Effectively: The Importance Of Visualisation for Communication

Connected Immersive Visualisation image

If the misconception about drawing were applied to verbal expression, we’d be a nation of illiterates.
– Robert H. McKim

Those of you who are already familiar with Virtalis will hardly be surprised at where this has all been heading. This blog series has been addressing the best way to get the most out of your Digital Twin. This article will explore how Virtalis’ Connect Immersive Visualisation is the key to maximising this value. This article will also outline how we quantify the value of this approach, and how Connected Immersive Visualisation can provide this value. But let me first take a step back and summarise why immersive visualisation has been found to be such an effective tool across a range of activities. Put simply, it’s a representation of how human beings as a species have always communicated ideas and concepts. No disrespect to the other four senses is intended, but they fall short when describing complex or abstract concepts.

Any tool we’ve used to convey information of this type to others has only ever been a facsimile of seeing either the physical thing or the vision of the person with the concept. Maps, diagrams, models, pictures, descriptive text; all are an attempt to tap into the visual cortex and create a mental image around which a discussion can be held and conclusions are drawn.

However, any effort spent on translating artefacts such as text or diagrams into that mental image is a resource that isn’t being used to address the concept or idea itself. When we say that ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’, what we are essentially describing is a tool that significantly reduced the cognitive load on the recipient.

None of this is to suggest that any of these other approaches are entirely replaceable. For instance, quantitative data will almost certainly always be best captured in a chart of some description. And, honestly, the more basic the better: quantitative data is definitely an area in which the ability to do more with computers hasn’t necessarily always had a positive outcome. Nevertheless, the value of any chart can be magnified hugely if its position in the broader context is immediately obvious.

This highlights a key point: the type of visualisation being described here is not simply a better way of viewing 3D geometry (although it certainly is that). Rather, immersive visualisation provides the ability to interact with and grasp scale and context in a manner that enables snags and issues to be grasped immediately. The other essential aspect is the connectivity: both with other stakeholders and other data sources.

A connected visualisation should allow those involved to drill down into relevant meta-data associated with the product or system in question, whatever the source. Having created a valuable sense of presence in the users through immersive visualisation, we don’t then, want to lose it by asking them to step out of the scene to access vital information that relates to their work. Therefore contextual digital twin is wholly dependent upon connected immersive visualisation to deliver its true worth. Without it, it will be extremely difficult to have a single digital twin that serves the entire user base. Given the shifts in business models and partnerships we have explored previously, this is unlikely to be a sustainable position.