Emerging Technologies SIG series – What is Digital Twinning?

To provide additional information related to the Emerging Technologies SIG of the FINOS/Linux Foundation, I start a miniseries of posts going deeper into some of the technologies mentioned there. If you are interested in participating, please add your remarks at the Special Interest Group – Emerging Technologies item on the FINOS project board.

Digital twinning is a technology that is rapidly gaining popularity in the industrial world. It is a technique where a digital replica of a physical object is created, which is also known as a “twin”. This twin can be used for a variety of purposes such as simulation, analysis, and monitoring. With the advancements on the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), digital twinning has become a promising tool that enables companies to make better decisions, optimize processes, and improve product quality.

Digital twins can be created for various things such as machines, buildings, cities, and even people. The purpose of creating a digital twin is to create a real-time replica of a physical object that can be monitored, simulated, and analyzed. This allows for more accurate and efficient decision-making processes.

One example of digital twinning is the manufacturing industry. Digital twins can be used to simulate production processes, analyze machine performance, and predict maintenance needs. By creating a digital twin of a machine, it is possible to monitor its performance, predict potential issues, and optimize its operations. This can lead to a reduction in downtime and an increase in overall efficiency.

Another example is the construction industry. Digital twins can be created for buildings, which can be used for planning, construction, and maintenance. This can help to reduce costs, improve safety, and optimize energy consumption. Digital twins can also be used for smart cities, where sensors and other IoT devices are used to create a digital replica of a city. This can be used to monitor traffic flow, optimize energy consumption, and improve overall city planning.

A notable case study of digital twinning is the use of digital twins in the aerospace industry. NASA has been using digital twins for several years to simulate the performance of spacecraft. By creating a digital twin of a spacecraft, it is possible to predict its behavior in different environments, simulate potential malfunctions, and optimize its design. This has helped NASA to reduce costs, improve safety, and increase the reliability of its spacecraft.

Another example is the use of digital twins in healthcare. Digital twins can be created for patients, which can be used to simulate the effects of different treatments and predict potential health issues. By creating a digital twin of a patient, doctors can make more accurate diagnoses and create more personalized treatment plans.


While digital twinning is a powerful tool for businesses, it is not without its limitations. One of the major shortcomings of digital twinning is the need for high-quality data. Without accurate and reliable data, digital twins cannot provide the expected benefits. This can be a challenge for businesses that operate in complex environments or deal with large amounts of data.

Another challenge is the lack of standardization. There are currently no established standards for creating digital twins, which can lead to inconsistencies in the data and models used to create them. This can limit the interoperability of digital twins and make it difficult to share data across different platforms.

To address these limitations, there are plans to improve data quality and standardization. Some companies are investing in machine learning algorithms to improve the accuracy and reliability of data used to create digital twins. They are also exploring ways to standardize the creation and management of digital twins, including developing common data models and formats.

Another solution is to increase collaboration among businesses, academia, and government agencies to develop and share best practices for digital twinning. This can help to ensure that digital twins are created using consistent and reliable data, and that they can be easily integrated with other systems.

In addition, advancements in technologies like 5G networks and edge computing are expected to improve the reliability and speed of data collection and analysis, making it easier to create and manage digital twins.


Currently, there are no widely accepted open standards for digital twinning. However, there are efforts underway to establish standards and protocols for digital twinning to improve interoperability and facilitate data exchange among different systems.

One such effort is the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), a global organization that aims to accelerate the adoption of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) by developing common architectures, frameworks, and protocols. The IIC has developed a reference architecture for digital twinning, which provides guidance on how to design, implement, and manage digital twins in a consistent manner.

Another organization that is working on standardizing digital twinning is the Object Management Group (OMG). The OMG is a not-for-profit organization that develops and maintains standards for distributed computing systems. They have created the Digital Twin Consortium, a collaborative community of organizations that are developing open-source software, frameworks, and standards for digital twinning.

In addition, various industry groups and standards organizations are also working on digital twinning standards. For example, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has created a working group to develop standards for the interoperability of digital twins.

While there are currently no widely accepted open standards for digital twinning, the efforts of these organizations and industry groups are a step towards developing common frameworks and protocols for digital twinning. These standards will help improve interoperability and enable more efficient and effective use of digital twins in various industries.

In conclusion, digital twinning has the potential to transform businesses by improving decision-making and optimizing processes. While there are still challenges to be addressed, the industry is actively working on solutions to improve data quality, standardization, and interoperability. As these challenges are addressed, digital twinning is expected to become an even more powerful tool for businesses in a wide range of industries.