Digital twins: an emperor unclothed?

I have a confession to make. I don’t *get* Digital Twins (or Device Shadows or Avatars, or whatever name is flavour of the month). I understand only too well the value of real-time monitoring of physical assets and the use of that data to better understand how those devices are functioning in the field. But it seems to me that DTs are little more than a visualisation.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a value to data visualisation of course. It makes data easier to understand and act upon for the person using it. Imagine trying to do air traffic control based on a constantly updating data file rather than through the air-traffic control UI. Impossible and critical in that context. But hardly any other devices have such criticality or immediacy.

Consider a DT for a wind turbine. It might be useful to model the stresses and strains on the device and interesting to represent it through a DT. But the fundamental question of when, how and why it might fail can be equally well judged without DT. The hard work is in taking the data and crunching it to simulate the processes, which isn’t, to my mind at least, part of the DT function anyway.

I have yet to see anything to convince me that DT is a fundamental capability necessary for IoT.