IOT North February 2021 / Report & Videos

The growing application of IoT sensors has fuelled the emergence of Digital Twins that make it possible to make sense of the complex data of interconnected IoT devices. A Digital Twin is a virtual equivalent of real-world "things", places or business processes, which are reproduced in the virtual context based on the data streams generated from IoT devices. Digital Twins provide insights that create increased opportunities and can be leveraged for a variety of industrial applications. Data scientists and IS specialists use them to manage performance, maximise efficiency, create better customer experiences, improve products, simulate and probe the potential scenarios of the usability of IoT devices. For those who are interested in their practical implementation the February IoT Meetup featured a presentation on how to build Digital Twins. The webinar was co-hosted, as usual, by Pitch-In Project and sponsored by Newcastle University and The event started with a brief talk by Mark Weymouth from Plus Automation Ltd. ( and continued with a presentation from Andy Cross, a co-owner of Elastacloud ( Andy introduced the Azure Digital Twins Platforms, presented the features of the service, explained how it integrates with IoT devices and what needs to be built to realise the benefits of Digital Twins.

Mark Weymouth is a Managing Director of Plus Automation Ltd. The company supplies Contrinex industrial products, such as inductive, photoelectronic, ultrasonic, RFID and machine safety sensors, to the markets of the UK and Ireland. The sensors help improve machine performance, reduce manufacturing costs and provide price savings. Mark helps machine builders and factory automation specialists embrace IoT by not only supplying IoT-friendly products but by keeping them informed about the latest industry events and news. He runs a LinkedIn blog featuring the stories that signal positive progress in the sector, such as massive job openings, the developments in UK space manufacturing, the export of machinery, among other news.

Andy Cross founded Elastacloud around 9 years ago to provide cloud data consultancy. He is also a Microsoft Azure Most Valued Professional (MVP) and Regional Director, co-founder of the UK London Microsoft Azure User Group and a Microsoft DevPro Community Leader. Driven by a passion for distributed computing, big data, runtime diagnostics and service elasticity, Andy and the Elastacloud Team help companies overcome data challenges and deliver business intelligence, enabling companies to perform better than other market competitors. Andy Cross provided a vendors’ perspective on what a Digital Twin is and how one can utilise the Azure Digital Twin Service to enable its benefits. Azure Digital Twins are different from Azure IoT Cloud. The latter is a collection of managed and platform services connecting, monitoring and controlling IoT assets in such a way as to produce insights (stream analytics, time series insights, data lakes and databases) for decision making and other activities. The Azure Digital Twin Service is a platform operating as a service that runs on the cloud. It enables the representation of digital entities (people, places and things) and the relationships between them as digital models of entire environments (e.g. buildings, factories etc). Models are used for the development of knowledge graphs (digital twins). Models are defined in a Digital Twins Definition Language (DTDL), and they describe twins in terms of their state properties, telemetry events, commands, components, and relationships. The development of such live graphs overcomes the issue of contextualising data, which is uploaded into clouds. By using Azure Digital Twins, IT specialists can connect different devices to the Azure IoT Hub, which works as a single live integration layer. This enables users to integrate meta-data from different resources across the entire environment, conceptualise data and deliver real-life insights in an interactive manner.