With ‘connected’ IoT devices streaming vast quantities of data to the cloud we are gaining unprecedented knowledge about how systems¬†operate in the real world. ¬†To relate this data to our Digital Twin representations and derive the greatest insights, it is important we can relate the data to the higher level context of a manageable asset or system. ¬†But how can you do this efficiently when you are faced with a device ecosystem containing tens of thousands of devices of many types, versions, and variants?¬† Using the powerful data modelling capabilities of IBM Watson IoT Platform you can aggregate your device data, using Device Twins & Asset Twins, into a representation that can form the backbone of your Digital Thread.

A Device Twin is a logical model of the properties and events coming from a particular sensor.  Once defined and instantiated, it provides a consistent means of interacting with a device in a REST-like manner.  Because the models can be shared by multiple devices of different makes and models, the IoT application is now insulated from variability and change within the device ecosystem.

An Asset Twin lets you take this concept one step further. ¬†Now you can model higher level ‘things’ that group together sensors and devices into a single entity for a developer to interact with. ¬†For example your Asset Twin might represent a class of automobile that in turn represents hundreds of underlying sensors monitoring the drivetrain, suspension, & fuel systems. ¬†Now let’s say an IoT based fleet management¬†system called on the state & properties of the automobile Asset Twin, it has a simple and consistent way to monitor all its vehicles regardless of make and model.

So in summary, Device Twins and Asset Twins can help you:

  • Provide your application developers with consistent interfaces to access event-driven device data in a REST-like manner.
  • Normalize data from devices of different makes or models that publish data in different formats.
  • Combine event data from several different device types to model any given IoT thing.

Device Twins and Asset Twins can be a starting point for creating a Digital Thread that connects insights across the boundaries of design, assembly, service, and supply chain.

For more documentation on how to use Device Twins and Asset Twins in Watson IoT Platform:
https://console.bluemix.net/docs/services/IoT/GA_information_management/ga_im_device_twin.html#device_twins

And an example scenario:
https://console.bluemix.net/docs/services/IoT/GA_information_management/ga_im_index_scenario.html#scenario

You can get more information on Digital Twin at http://ibm.co/DigitalTwin , or watch “An End to End Approach to IoT” with Chris O’Connor, or request an executive briefing.

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