Comparing the internet of things vs digital twin

Key points

    Key differences between IoT and digital twin

    Distinguishing digital twin and digital thread

    How both technologies can work together

By Carlos Miskinis
Digital twin research expert
May 2018

Industry 4.0 has introduced us to 3 immense technology concepts that are bound to have a huge and permanent future impact on the world of business as we see it.


However, with all the terms and keywords that are used to illustrate key components of each technology, explain the inner workings of the concepts that bring these ideas to life and refer to how you can use them in your business, it can get confusing quite fast. Because of these three emerging technologies, you might be struggling to understand the differences between them which can cause confusion when it comes to incorporating them into your company. In today’s article, we will talk about the most important distinctions that separate digital twin, IoT and digital thread technologies for you to have a better understanding of them.





How is IoT different compared to virtual twins?


First of all, it is important to correctly set the distinctions that describe each concept in its entirety. Internet of Things (IoT) defines hundreds of millions of devices that can be connected and controlled via the internet. For instance, house lights that can be turned on through your phone via Bluetooth connection are considered as IoT. This concept essentially involves every single device that is either connected or could be connected to the Internet and controlled that way.


On the other hand, digital twin is a virtual replica of an object, system, process, product or service that is digitalized and put on a simulation platform. Digital Twinning, is called a process that involves creating and building a reality-based entity on an online platform. Unlike Internet of Things that must meet the criteria of being able to connect to the Internet and be controlled, a virtual twin can be anything you can imagine. Moreover, this concept doesn’t necessarily have to be an object because “twinning” can involve replicating a system, process or anything else that is intangible but crucial for business.


how internet of things work compared to how digital twin functions

Part 2

Merging both technologies together for achieving limitless potential

Combining IoT with digital twins will result in a progressively evolving system that optimizes business processes

Comparing digital twin versus IoT digital thread


Now that we can fully distinguish the concept of virtual twin and Internet of Things (all devices that are connected or are able to be connected and controlled via the internet) we can now discuss the final concept that connects these two things together – Digital Thread. This concept entails a technology by which data and information can travel between IoT devices and the virtual simulation platform. This core idea was crucial and necessary to implement because, in order for these two technologies to cooperate successfully, a fast-acting method of information transferring needed to be introduced. By using the virtual thread, IoT devices can be simulated via their platforms and the data that is needed to simulate a device properly, as well as simulate it in the future, the data transferring technology which we just talked about makes all of this happen.


the world of IoT and Virtual Twin


How does digital twin and internet of things work together?


If you want to incorporate IoT and Digital Twin technologies into your business and use them in successful harmony, you should consider attending our event on comparing IoT and Digital Twin – see seminar details. For an IoT-based simulation to work successfully, data transferring must be enabled. If your business manages to use all 3 technologies together, the development, research, and future product simulation opportunities are limitless and the costly obstacles of physically executing product development campaigns in real life are history.


The Internet of Things generation of technology will impact all industries across the globe. Challenge Advisory encourages you to join the revolution by attending our event where industry leaders will join forces to mastermind on this subject – visit our workshop page here.

More information