Taking a leap into the future of industry today, ABB is developing a unified, cross-industry digital capability – extending from device to edge to cloud – with devices, systems, solutions, services and a platform that interacts optimally together. ABB Ability delivers just that capability. Moreover, ABB has embarked on the next step, to create a digital representation of sensors, devices and systems – a digital twin – practically an identical copy of the physical devices.
The digital twin requires a consistent data model that contains the measured variables and the mapping that leads to a digital representation. This function requires that measurements easily reach the digital twin representation, which in turn, necessitates the engineering of a communication infrastructure. To be an adequate approach, this sophisticated infrastructure must be tailored to the digital twin and its unique object. ABB fosters this approach to breakthrough digital industrial technologies at its global corporate research centers.
Nevertheless, to take full advantage of the rapid advances in digitization, industry would require not only a digital mirror, but a virtual representation with capabilities different from the actual physical object – a digital avatar. Like the twin, the digital avatar is a digital object that represents the real world but, unlike the digital twin, the avatar can interact within the digital world in ways that differ from how the object would typically respond in the real world. Always at the forefront of innovation, ABB is currently exploring this concept.