A digital twin is the virtual representation of a real system. This representation does als contains the data, gathered via sensors, of the real world. Digital Twins might therefore be perceived as an important instrument in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The real world, the system that is twinned, can be anything as far it is useful to make a digitization of it, e.g., machinery, a city, or a hospital department. A digital twin can be defined to achieve a variety objectives: predict maintenance, detect anomalies, check product quality or to speed up training (because it is possible to simulate 'the unexpected').
Digital Twinning is related to modeling and simulation. However, a major difference is that a digital twin integrated real time data. Twinning can therefore be perceived as linking the domains of modeling, simulation and (industrial) IoT.
System development and deployment, concerns the role of the digital twin in the architecting and system integration process of the companies. A digital twin can be applied during different phases in the system development cycle. The twin can support system development when providing architects and designers with system insights earlier than they were used to find. The twin can also unveil insights for predictive maintenance during system deployment.