Towards a Standards-Based Architecture for Digital Twins Facilitating Interoperability

Abstract: Digital transformation is rapidly changing the business landscape, compellingcompanies to invest in it due to its several benefits, such as reduced time-to-value, improved quality, and the ability to overcome hardware limitations. Aprominent technology enabling digital transformation is digital twin. A digitaltwin is a virtual representation of a physical asset, system, or process, usedfor monitoring and controlling purposes. Implementing digital twins requirestackling challenging engineering tasks such as establishing accurate digitalrepresentations of physical systems or ensuring live data synchronization. Suchchallenges are exacerbated by a lack of research on software architecturesthat meet required quality attributes, their actual implementation, and otherengineering tasks. Software architectures serve as a blueprint and foundationfor building software-intensive systems that meet specific requirements. Theyprovide a comprehensive overview of a system components, their properties,and relationships. Reference architectures, which are based on establishedbest practices in a given domain, help in reasoning about a class of softwarearchitectures and facilitate the engineering of software-intensive systems such asdigital twins. Given the above premises, the ultimate goal of this research is todefine a standard-based reference architecture for digital twins in manufacturingto improve interoperability. We use existing standards as common ground tofacilitate technology transfer between academia and industry. In addition, wefocus on interoperability as it is a crucial quality attribute affecting the functionalsuitability and performance efficiency of digital twins.

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