Cumulocity Digital Twin Manager - Early Preview Release

Why a Digital Twin Manager?

One of the biggest strengths of Cumulocity is the device connectivity and the management of devices. Cumulocity supports a wide range of protocols to connect to any device and administrate these devices via the device management application. Using the concept of groups you can easily structure your registered devices in logical hierarchies. Ideally, these hierarchies reflect the real-world environment. One major drawback of the existing group concept is you can only store a name and a description on the group using the existing UI in Cumulocity. Most of the time this isn’t enough and more contextual information is necessary on a group level to implement specific use cases.

Imagine you are a farmer who has several silos to store grain, and you want to monitor the fill level in Cumulocity. The silos are equipped with distance sensors, which give insight about the current fill level of each silo. All the distance sensors are connected and managed in Cumulocity. Ideally, you want to structure these devices and their relationship to the silos in a logical hierarchy, which reflects the real-world scenario. How can you define the height for the silo in Cumulocity to correctly calculate the corresponding fill level? How can you provide additional context such as the silo’s geo-location or the type of content it contains? There is no easy way with the current UI and the existing groups concept in Cumulocity to define such hierarchies and information.

What is the Digital Twin Manager?

This problem is one of many motivations why the Digital Twin Manager has been developed for Cumulocity. The Digital Twin Manager comes with an easy-to-use UI to create and manage assets around your physical connected devices in Cumulocity IoT. Assets can be used to structure and describe devices in logical hierarchies as encountered in the real-world environment. In addition, assets in Cumulocity IoT can be extended and enriched with additional information using the Properties Library.

The Digital Twin Manager consists of several components, which support you to create your assets and asset hierarchies:

  • Property library - Create your own custom properties (simple or complex) to define how data should be stored on an asset
  • Asset types - Define asset types to describe the blueprint of your assets
  • Localization - Dynamically translate asset type and custom property descriptions to multiple languages
  • Assets navigator - Manage your asset hierarchies

The Property Library can be used to create your own custom properties to define how data should be stored on an asset. These custom properties can be either complex (nested object) or simple (key-value pair). Furthermore, you can choose a specific data type for each property you define. As of now, the Property Library supports following data types: Text, Number, Date Picker, Enumeration, Boolean.

Asset types serve as a blueprint for your assets and define how they are structured. An asset type defines what custom properties an asset should have. Additionally, you can specify relationships between multiple asset types, which will be respected when you create your actual asset hierarchies. Once the asset type is created, it can be used to create various assets.

You can use the localization component to define translations for your asset types and custom properties. These translations can be provided for all supported languages in Cumulocity IoT. This component requires you to have the feature-branding feature subscribed for your Cumulocity tenant.

The assets navigator is the starting point to create your asset hierarchies based on the asset types and custom properties you defined previously. Once you have created your asset hierarchies, you can use the assets navigator to view and manage them.

How to access the Digital Twin Manager?

The Digital Twin Manager has been released on github as an early preview. You can download the standalone application free of charge and install it in your Cumulocity tenant. It contains all the features described in the previous section. In the future, we will enhance the Digital Twin Manager with additional functionality.

The github repository comes with an issue section, which can be used to report bugs and issues. Most importantly, you can also use the issue section to provide feedback and share ideas about what you would like to see as a next feature in the Digital Twin Manager.

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