Digital Twins: Capabilities and top use cases

Digital Twins: Capabilities and top use cases

Roughly six and half minutes after a successful television broadcast from the Apollo 13 command module, there was damage in the main engine because of a tank explosion. With the available oxygen leaking into space, the engineers at NASA mission control and the astronauts onboard had to find a solution to repair the command module.

The engineers quickly troubleshot several possible scenarios using pieces of equipment that were identical copies of the ones in the spacecraft. They kept tinkering with those until they found a   contraption to bring the astronauts back to safety. Then astronauts replicated in the capsule the process that NASA engineers had developed on earth.

The world witnessed the secure crash-land of Apollo 13 in April 1970, and it was because of the power and potential of using exact copies, in this case “analog twins,” of real-life systems. The same types of real-life systems copies, this time in the digital world, is now referred to as “digital twin.”

Digital Twin application in Apollo 13 missionSource: Enhance innovation and agility with Digital Twins – eBook 

What is a Digital Twin?

Microsoft offers a Platform as a Service (PaaS) to create digital twins, i.e., Azure Digital Twins. Manufacturers can efficiently use it to develop extensive physical environment models that mimic the associations and relations between places, people, devices, and more.

Using Azure Digital Twins, it becomes easy to query data in Azure Digital Twin Explorer instead of the live sensors and devices. Manufacturers can use the twin to monitor production remotely, acquire valuable knowledge for making real-time decisions, enhance strategic planning, train operators, conduct what-if analysis to boost operational efficiency, and innovate new solutions.

Azure Digital Twins capabilities

Azure Digital Twins capabilities illustration

Flexible modeling: Digital Twins Definition Language (DTDL) helps develop models representing physical world entities.

Richer compute: The power of external compute resources such as Azure Functions can be easily harnessed. Because of Azure Functions, it becomes easy for developers to use any pre-existing code or programming language of their choice. Azure Digital Twins Explorer has a powerful query system that helps extract insights from the live execution environment.

Accessible hub: Azure Digital Twins can easily connect to assets like IoT and IoT Edge devices or even existing business systems like ERP and CRM to drive the live execution environment.

Connection with Azure Time Series Insights, storage, and analytics: Azure Digital Twins can be integrated with other Azure services to build end-to-end solutions. Event routes send data from Twins to downstream services through endpoints. Out of the three endpoints – Event Hubs, Event Grid, or Service Bus – you can choose any endpoint to send the data to downstream devices. A wide variety of choices for downstream devices exist according to the task you need to accomplish. A few examples of downstream devices are Azure Data Lake, Azure Synapse Analytics, Logic Apps, Power BI, and Azure Time Series Insights.

The capabilities mentioned in this section help simplify complex modeling tasks and create a digital environment representation, allowing you to focus on what differentiates your business rather than building and operating complex, distributed systems architecture securely and at scale. To learn more about the capabilities of Azure Digital Twins, check out this Microsoft Azure Digital Twins team blog post.

Examples of customer success with Azure Digital Twins

  • L&T Technology Services Limited (LTTS) i-BEMS integrated with Azure Digital Twins helps deliver real-time automated IoT alerts to improve resolution times. Read more
  • Johnson Controls incorporated Azure Digital Twins into its OpenBlue IoT platform to create digital versions of physical buildings, assets, and systems. Read more
      • Rolls-Royce uses digital twins to help manage more than 13,000 commercial aircraft engines, each embedding hundreds of sensors. In this use case, the digital twin enables a digital feedback loop that drives product updates and optimizes maintenance processes.
      • Also, it allows Roll-Royce to observe the entire fleet of engines currently in flight. With this data, they can generate optimal fuel suggestions and flight routes that offer noteworthy cost reductions to their airline customers. Learn more
  • Azure Digital Twins enables a unique way of banking
      • IoT devices monitor customers’ movement in a branch. Using digital twins, the branch can identify those customers. After using the data gathered by the digital twin, we can run simulations of branch traffic.
      • In addition, one of the systems knows who the customers are and where they are, banks can dynamically deliver the targeted advertisements. Learn more

Also, companies like Ansys, Bentley Systems, Bosch, ICONICS, Samsung, and Willow use Azure Digital Twins in their software applications. Click here to learn more about the industries and companies that use Azure Digital Twins.


Azure Digital Twins give you a sense of real-time experiences with physical assets using models that radically eliminate maintenance burdens. With digital twins, organizations can cut costs in maintenance, reduce defects, and accelerate release cycles. This blog focuses on the capabilities of Azure Digital Twins and a few real-life use cases at various organizations. A new, broader evolution of enterprise-level twins is already developing. These developments will unlock even more digital twins use cases in manufacturing and robotics. It will also enable deeper and more connected monitoring and insights.

Neal Analytics’ experts possess the right expertise and capabilities to instrument, build, train, and deploy digital twins. If you are interested in learning more or want to implement Azure Digital Twins in your organization, feel free to contact us.

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