A digital twin is a digital representation of a physical object or system. It allows us to simulate and analyze what has happened in the past, optimize what is happening now, and predict what will happen in the near future – with far greater accuracy and reliability than previously possible.

The technology behind digital twins has expanded to include large items such as buildings, factories, and even cities, and some have said people and processes can have digital twins, expanding the concept even further.

smart city digital twin small

The Digital Twin concept is on the Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018. From this report:

In the context of IoT, digital twins are linked to real-world objects and offer information on the state of the counterparts, respond to changes, improve operations and add value. With an estimated 21 billion connected sensors and endpoints by 2020, digital twins will exist for billions of things in the near future. Potentially billions of dollars of savings in maintenance repair and operation (MRO) and optimized IoT asset performance are on the table.

In the short term, digital twins offer help with asset management, but will eventually offer value in operational efficiency and insights into how products are used and how they can be improved. Over time, digital representations of virtually every aspect of our world will be connected dynamically with their real-world counterparts and with one another and infused with AI-based capabilities to enable advanced simulation, operation and analysis.

Gartner recommendations: How to Use Digital Twins in Your IoT Strategy

The digital twin concept is nothing new. For the last 30 years or more we have used digital modeling in CAD software to develop new products, or digital maps in GIS systems to document and manage utility networks, as a few examples. What is new though, is the possibility to add live data to these models, through sensors and IoT networks.

A digital twin is not a ready-made software package that can be bought off-the-shelf. It should be regarded more as a development process where, by adding systems, sensors and data the twin grows. Buildings and cities gradually become smarter through increasingly interconnected devices, improved analytical systems and entirely new ways of integrating digital services.

Growth doesn’t come without pain though. Adding new data and abilities can be a very complex and difficult task with the multitude of available technologies and competing IoT standards. 

This is where Sensative and Yggio comes in, providing a simple standardized API to any IoT network or standard. One open API to the real world to feed your digital twin or service with live data.

If you compare a city or building to a gigantic computer, then Yggio acts like the operating system between the digital twin and the physical world. You can easily add IoT sensors, networks, and data flows of varying standards to your models and services. Just as easy as changing a printer on your computer.