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Digital twins are a pattern for simplifying IoT solution development.

The problem with the term digital twin is that there are many different understandings of what it means. Furthermore, the term was previously mostly used and coined by marketing. The term was/is missing a technical foundation of what to expect from a framework for digital twins.

Eclipse Ditto provides such a framework for digital twins and this page describes how Ditto defines/sees digital twins from a technical perspective.

Digital twin from a technical perspective

For Eclipse Ditto the digital twin is a concept for abstracting a real world asset/device with all capabilities and aspects including its digital representation.

A digital twin

  • mirrors physical assets/devices
  • acts as a “single source of truth” for a physical asset
  • provides various aspects+services around devices
  • keeps real and digital worlds in sync
  • can be applied in both industrial and consumer-centric IoT scenarios

A digital twin framework

  • provides capabilities (APIs) to interact with digital twins
  • ensures that access to twins can only be done by authorized parties
  • allows to not only interact with single twins but also with populations of many of them
  • integrates into other back-end infrastructure (like messaging systems, brokers)

Industrial context

In the IIoT the digital twin metaphor is becoming a popular concept for tracking a produced product/good in its complete lifecycle.

Another term often used in the IIoT in combination with digital twin is the “Asset Administration Shell” (“Verwaltungsschale” in german).