Manufacturing AUTOMATION

IoT innovation: Siemens, Microsoft, W3C collaborate on digital twin standards

April 17, 2024
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Siemens and Microsoft, in collaboration with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), are working to converge the Digital Twin Definition Language (DTDL) with the Thing Description standard from the international standards organization.

Siemens explains in a press statement that by unifying both languages, customers will have consistent modelling experiences, mitigating fragmentation in an evolving IoT landscape. With customers typically deploying a mix of vendors in their infrastructure leading to lock-in and high integration efforts, this convergence will allow for simpler system integration and interoperability.
Siemens explains that digital twins enable organizations to monitor, predict and improve the performance of their assets, enhancing efficiency and reducing costs. Standardizing digital twin languages is therefore crucial for interoperability, ensuring seamless communication and integration between different digital twin systems and platforms.
With Siemens already facilitating the emerging W3C Thing Description standard, extending this interoperability strategy to Microsoft Azure will reportedly bring about substantial benefits.
“We see the convergence of two very similar Digital Twin languages like the DTDL and the W3C Thing Description as an essential move that will enable customers to describe the physical world in a way that is agnostic to specific IoT platforms,” said Thomas Kiessling, Chief Technology Officer at Siemens Smart Infrastructure. “This strategic alliance underscores our commitment to fostering collaboration and embracing openness.”
Microsoft’s Digital Twin Definition Language enables modelling of the physical world with Azure services, while the W3C Thing Description standard provides an interoperable representation of device interfaces and their incorporation of standard industry ontologies. Both languages have revealed many conceptual similarities during the initial stages of convergence.
“Ever since we invented the Digital Twin Definition Language and open-sourced its specification and reference implementations, we planned to standardize it through a consortium like the W3C. Therefore, merging DTDL with W3C Thing Description, in close partnership with Siemens, is the natural next step in our journey to democratize digital twins in the industry,” said Erich Barnstedt, chief architect of standards, Consortia and Industrial IoT, Azure Edge and Platform team, Microsoft Corporation.

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