Design & SimulationJanuary 15, 2024

Commercial Virtual Twin: From Product to Service

The Commercial Virtual Twin is a fundamental tool for the modern marketing needs. It’s the unique source of truth that facilitates production allows the generation of great product-correct content.
Avatar Matteo Corvino

The Commercial Virtual Twin (CVT) is 3DEXCITE’s core product. This post explains what it is, why it’s important, and how it’s becoming a service.

CVT is a fundamental tool for modern marketing needs. It’s the unique source of truth that facilitates production of great visual content that is also product correct. Because no matter how compelling the content is, if it’s not product correct… maybe it’s not so useful after all.

Virtual models and visualizations are “product correct” when they represent what the Customer can actually put on the market; what can be ordered by people like you and me. To reach this product correctness, the CVT must represent every element of the physical product accurately: shape, size, materials, but also variant configurations. Indeed, the CVT contains every product variant and these variants must be organized according to the customer’s offering. It’s not an easy task that 3DEXCITE has! Don’t underestimate the complexity of a product variant logic: color A might be available only in country B, and maybe only in combination with package C, while in country D the same color might be available only in combination with package E, or not available at all. And this is only a very, very simple example. For a complex product, such as a car, the possible combinations are… Well, daunting.

I’m purposely omitting that the variant logic is only one aspect of the CVT complexity. Most of the times, everything starts with rough, heavy CAD data that is absolutely unfit for visualization. It’s not the purpose of this post to explain how the data is  cleaned and organized in a logical structure, we refer to as data-prep.

You might have heard the term UDM (Universal Data Model): this is what we have been calling the Commercial Virtual Twin for many years. UDM and CVT are two different names for the same thing, really. From now on, though, we’ll be using the latter.

Virtual Twin-as-a-Service (VTaaS in this article) can be seen as the evolution of the Commercial Virtual Twin. As the name says, it’s the evolution of the mere product into a service.

What changes can be summarized with a few keywords? Let’s start with subscription. Rather than seeing the initial model creation and its following lifecycle updates as separate projects, Dassault Systèmes defined a subscription-based plan that makes the CVT available to the customer for a defined period of time. During the subscription period, the CVT is maintained up-to-date, following the real product life cycle.

Specifically, the service runs through three macro phases: Deliver, Run, and Improve.

Deliver is the creation of the Commercial Virtual Twin.

Run real-time CVT lifecycle management and distribution..

Improve features, platform upgrades, and new apps.

Another keyword is Collaboration: Customers require transparency, continuous access to data and to project details. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is a collaborative cloud environment that provides the transparency and continuous access to data desired by customers. 

In the VTaaS context, the access to specific information and the ability to perform certain actions depend on the platform Roles. This is valid for customers, CAD and Product Specialists, and Project Managers as well. Really anyone involved in the creation and utilization of the CVT requires a specific Role.

Let’s take, for example, the Commissioning of a Virtual Twin. This is intended as the model approval by the customer (product correctness) and the procedure necessary to make it available to the ecosystem of marketing experts and creative agencies. To perform these actions, and to access the data, all the users need a platform Role.

Role-based access to data offers an additional level of security. But it reveals also another aspect of the VTaaS philosophy: with a Commercial Virtual Twin fully integrated into the DSx portfolio, Services and Software drive each other’s growth, pushing 3DEXCITE’s services and solutions to new markets and new customers.

VTaaS makes even more sense in connection with Experience-as-a-Service (EaaS), a new solution that leverages the Virtual Twin as a unique source of truth to produce stunning visual content. As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, compelling visual content must also be product correct. VTaaS and EaaS together are solutions to guarantee digital continuity, from engineering to marketing.

Stay up to date

Receive monthly updates on content you won’t want to miss


Register here to receive a monthly update on our newest content.