You may hear the term IoT, or Internet of Things, and think of devices such as the Apple Watch and other wearable devices, or perhaps smart fridges in one’s home. But where IoT is making the biggest impact is not with consumers, but with industry. The industrial internet of things (IIoT) has incredible potential for improving the productivity and efficiency of an organization, by providing great data collection and analysis opportunities. IIoT is frequently utilized in industries such as Automotive, Oil and Gas, and Agriculture.
Every single IoT device (also known as an asset) produces unique data, which has the potential to be analyzed, which in turn can give users insights that may prove useful. The challenge is that these kinds of devices can produce a very large amount of data, with a large IoT ecosystem – where lots of different types of IoT devices are interconnected and all producing data, the aggregate data may be tricky to utilize.
Azure Digital Twins
To get the full value of IoT asset data, companies will create and use IoT solutions that enable them to analyze the data, as well as monitor and control their IoT assets. Microsoft has been making and encouraging innovations in IoT solutions through Azure, with services such as Digital Twins and IoT Central.
IoT Central is a web platform in Azure. It makes it easier for companies to onboard, connect, and monitor IoT assets using a low/no-code user interface. IoT Central is easily accessible through the web, and it makes creating custom IoT solutions both cheaper and more straightforward.
Azure Digital Twin is a slightly more specialized service – referring to a concept used frequently in product design and engineer, that was refined by NASA in 2010, Digital Twins enables companies to create a virtual replica of their IoT ecosystem – by creating ‘models’ of all your IoT devices, you create a digital twin of the ecosystem. In other words, it’s a type of real-time simulation that allows an organization to safely model and test changes without consequence.
Azure Digital Twins uses its own programming language called Digital Twins Definition Language (DTDL). What this means is that for Azure Digital Twins to integrate with other third-party IoT solutions, data collected from an IoT ecosystem must first be converted into DTDL.
Utilizing IoT Data
With so much data to work with, it has historically been both slow and labour intensive to collect IoT data and feed it into an IoT solution like Digital Twins or IoT Central. This is where Mikkel Christian Sorensen and Omnio come in; their software solution known as Omnio Edge was built to accelerate the acquisition of data and the creation of IoT solutions.
To start with, Omnio Edge has developed over 60,000+ device connectors to make onboarding an IoT device to solutions such as Azure IoT central or Digital Twins a simple plug and play process – these connectors all have device-specific knowledge that has been mapped out for you; all you would need to do is match the IoT device with the right device connector, and Omnio Edge will take care of the onboarding process.
Once all one’s IoT devices have been onboarded, Omnio Edge will accelerate the process of collecting data from them by ‘normalizing’ the data as it is produced by the device. It works by converting data produced by IoT devices into a unified data model – with a unified data model, it would be much easier to convert the data into a platform-specific language, such as the one used by Azure Digital Twins.
Together with Omnio Edge and Microsoft Azure, companies will find it so much easier to harness the power of Internet of Things technology.