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The Digital Twin Capabilities Periodic Table (CPT) is an architecture and technology agnostic requirements definition framework. It is aimed at organizations who want to design, develop, deploy, and operate Digital Twins based on use case capability requirements versus the features of technology solutions.


The Digital Twin Capabilities Periodic Table framework facilitate collaboration in multidisciplinary or fusion teams that need to create Digital Twins requirements specifications in large scale complex environments. The framework keeps the focus on the capability requirements of individual use cases, which can then be aggregated to determine the overall capability requirements digital twin platforms and other technology solutions that are required to address the specific business needs.

It follows a Period Table approach with capabilities grouped or “clustered” around common characteristics. It is easy to interpret at both the boardroom when explaining the business case to get funding for a Digital Twin project, and the shopfloor when gathering requirements for a Digital Twin application. It provides visual guidance for collaboration, brainstorming, and making capability requirements explicit.

End users that are investigating Digital Twin technology to address business transformation and other digitalization needs often ask these three questions:

  • what is a digital twin?
  • why should I care?
  • how do I get started?

Digital Twin Consortium’s definition of a digital twin provides a comprehensive answer to the first question.

A digital twin is a virtual representation of real-world entities and processes, synchronized at a specified frequency and fidelity.

  • Digital twin systems transform business by accelerating holistic understanding, optimal decision-making, and effective action.
  • Digital twins use real-time and historical data to represent the past and present and simulate predicted futures.
  • Digital twins are motivated by outcomes, tailored to use cases, powered by integration, built on data, guided by domain knowledge, and implemented in IT/OT systems.

The second question is addressed by the use case reference library that is developed and maintained by the Digital Twin Consortium. It describes this problem the impact and the way that a Digital Twin addressed the specific business challenge. It highlights the benefits and impact of digital twins in various use cases and industries.

The purpose of this guide is to assist with the third question on how to get started with Digital Twin's. It provides a framework for organizations that are just starting on the journey, and it provides a consistent approach as organizations scale out and increase their digital twin maturity.

Capability VS Technology

Capability is the ability to perform or achieve certain actions/outcomes. The ability to drill a hole is a very simple example of a capability. There are multiple use cases that require holes and each of them will have unique requirements in terms of the size, the depth, or the substance that is drilled. This may be one of many capabilities required to successfully complete a project where the hole is part of the solution. Digital twins provide unique capabilities as described in the DTC definition, but a Digital Twin, in itself, is composed from a number of technical capabilities to provide an overall solution.

The Digital Twin Capabilities Periodic Table is focused on these technology-based capabilities, but it is agnostic to specific technology or product solutions. For example, machine learning capability can be provided by several technology providers, each with different products. During the assessment of vendor capabilities, it is important to clarify that the technology solution can fulfill the technological capability requirement of the business use case.

The approach used in the Digital Twins Capabilities Periodic table to describe these capabilities follow a simple structure:

  • What it is (capability name)
  • What it does (cap-ability description)
  • What it means or purpose (what does it enable)

The Digital Twins Capabilities Periodic table is not a reference architecture but supports multiple architectural approaches. It highlights the capability building blocks for composable Digital Twins. The Digital Twin Consortium (DTC) reference architecture provides recommended structures and integrations of Internet of Things (IoT), Information Technology (IT), Operational Technology) OT, and Engineering Technology (ET) products and services to form a Digital Twin solution. The Capabilities Periodic Table supports different reference architectures that end-users that may already be corporate standards in addition to the DTC reference architecture for Digital Twins.

Enable Composable Digital Twins

Composable Digital Twins (CDT) is an application development approach for Digital Twins that is based on the Composable Enterprise architectural pattern. Composable Applications, such as CDTs, focus on faster time to value, service-based orchestration, and reusing packaged business capabilities to develop and adapt applications as business requirements evolve.

Packaged business capabilities (PBC) are modular combinations of technical capabilities that are presented as bundled services. These PBCs are orchestrated together through an application composition platform to deliver unique Digital Twin applications for specific use cases.

The Digital Twin Capabilities Periodic Table provides a consistent framework to identify the capabilities that can be grouped together to create these PBCs. Figure 1 shows a composable Digital Twin reference model that outline the different data types and data sources that is leveraged by PBCs to create reusable and agile Digital Twin compositions.

A key characteristic of a composable digital twin is that it is typically a combination of capabilities from multiple technology vendors. Composite or system-of-systems digital twins are based on an ecosystem of capabilities rather than a single vendor.

Ecosystem VS Single Vendor

The smorgasbord of capabilities that are all captured in the Digital Twin Capabilities Periodic table are beyond the scope of any single vendor. It requires an ecosystem of interoperable technical capabilities to address large scale, complex digital twin use cases. The Digital Twin Capabilities Periodic Table provides a common framework for multiple vendors to identify and present key capabilities that they provide for a Digital Twins solution.

This common framework is a major benefit of the Digital Twin Capabilities Periodic Table for an end user organization that is clarifying requirements for a digital twin. It removes the focus from vendor specific technologies and place it on the key capabilities that are required to successfully deliver a Digital Twin solution. It is useful in analyzing a vendor solution to see if it is complete or not in aligning with the use case needs. It provides the opportunity to light up the capabilities in the requirements and then overlay the capabilities in the solution to see how well they align.

Fits across Digital Twins Lifecycle

The Digital Twin Capabilities Periodic table is applicable across the full life cycle of the digital twin. The capabilities may differ during the different phases, but the approach to identify the key capabilities for each phase remains the same throughout the overall life cycle. Some capabilities may transfer between lifecycle phases , while others may become obsolete and new capabilities are introduced for new use cases. Capabilities during the design and construction phase may not all transfer to the operations and maintenance phase of an entity like a production plant. This help facilitate the development of the Digital Thread as it transitions through the different lifecycle phases. The Digital Twin supports the Digital Thread through these capabilities. The Digital Twin Capabilities Periodic table can also be used to identify capabilities for the Digital Thread.

The Digital Twin Capabilities Periodic table provides a consistent approach for increasing capability maturity at both project and organizational level throughout full product life cycles.

The Digital Twin Capability Periodic Table (CPT)

The Digital Twin CPT Categories

The Digital Twin CPT is organized into six logical groupings, matching capabilities that have similar characteristics and application. Figure 3 provide context to the different categories that reflect both the digital and physical twins. Table 1 provides a summary view of the category name and the category description for the Digital Twin Capability Periodic Table.

No Category Name Category Description
1 Data Services Enables data access, ingestion and data management across the platform from the edge to the cloud. It establishes the physical to virtual connection and receives data directly from equipment sensors or control systems, performs localized processing, and distributes to other tiers.
2 Integration Enables data access to existing internal and external enterprise systems and applications. Enables communication across different digital twins.
3 Intelligence Provides an environment for the development and deployment of industrial Digital Twin solution. It provides the services for data integration, basic and advanced analytics, AI, orchestration, and other Digital Twin process capabilities.
4 UX Provides the user with the ability to interact with Digital Twins and visualize its data.
5 Management System and ecosystem management capabilities.
6 Trustworthiness Security, privacy, safety, reliability, and resilience capabilities.

The six categories are used in the visual representation of the Digital Twin Capabilities Periodic table and is represented in the figure, The Digital Twin Capabilities Periodic Table outline. This outline provides the container for each of the 60 level 1 capabilities of the Digital Twin Capabilities Periodic Table.

The Digital Twin CPT LEVEL 1

Level 1 represent 60 high level capabilities that are grouped based on the categories in figure 3 and the outline presented in figure 4. Figure 5 is the Digital Twin Capabilities Periodic Table and provides an easy to use framework to describe the key capabilities required for Digital Twin use cases. Each of these capabilities may be decomposed into level 2 sub capabilities to provide more granular elements if the Digital Twin use case requires clarification.

The Digital Twin Capabilities Periodic Table