Website for Digital Twin Web Association

View the Project on GitHub DigitalTwinWeb/www.dtwa.org

The State of the Digital Twin Web

22 February 2023 by Juuso Autiosalo

Dear Digital Twin Web enthusiast,

it has now been one year since we had the constitutive meeting of Digital Twin Web Association. Since then, we organized one webinar and had some informal discussions within the board, but we have not registered the association and a proper community has not been formed. The shortcomings are mostly due to the fact that I have had to allocate my efforts elsewhere, although now that I look at it, it has also probably been too early for community building. While the vision of Digital Twin Web (DTW) may be fairly clear and enticing, the technical implementation of the DTW is still too hazy.


I have tried some ways to get funding for the Digital Twin Web initiative. Some have failed, and one has succeeded.

Aalto University received funding from Business Finland to prepare the commercialization of the Twinbase software under the “Research to Business” funding instrument. The planned duration of the “Twinbase” project is from 1st January 2023 to 30th June 2024 and the total budget is 564 449 euros. A likely outcome is that we will found a company after the project. We are now looking for potential future customers, please let me know (e.g. via email) if you know anyone who might need to manage their digital twin services more efficiently. While this is excellent news for the progress of the DTW, the commercial nature of this funding instrument also imposes limitations and expectations on what can and should be done in the project. For example, while we would like to keep the software open source, it may be mandatory to make some future developments closed source to make it commercially viable. The results of the project may also influence my possible roles in the association, even though during the project I am still employed full-time by Aalto University.

Some things only need a small amount of money, but are cumbersome and weird to do on personal accounts. For example, asking for donations and collecting member fees is only really possible for an association, which is why a registered association seems to be essential for gathering funding efficiently. Maybe if we make donations easy and trustworthy, some will come.


We have worked at Aalto University to make the technology more concrete. One recent example is the TwinXR method that uses digital twin description documents to customize an XR application to a specific device. Earlier, we demonstrated how to use digital twin documents to control a smart factory. More interesting articles are coming, but please be patient as research takes time.

It has become clear that the dtid.org identifier service is useful for implementing our experiments and we have used it in many of our academic publications. However, it is currently maintained fully by me, which I think is not sustainable in the long term. The dtid.org domain should be owned and controlled by a reliable entity such as an association. This kind of service could also be provided by a commercial entity, but the .org suffix indicates that dtid.org is maintained by a non-profit.

We have also identified the need for a Linked Data vocabulary/ontology customized to the needs of digital twins. The format would be similar to the Schema.org vocabulary which is used and maintained by search engine providers. We have done some work towards a twin schema, but not enough to share it yet. The twin schema also needs a permanent URL and I have reserved the domain twinschema.org for it. This kind of twin vocabulary cannot really be provided as a commercial service, but it rather needs to be hosted by a reliable non-profit organisation.

Next steps

Overall, I think we should now concentrate on enabling the concrete technical implementation of Digital Twin Web. First concrete goal is to transfer the dtid.org domain and service to a reliable association.

Hence, I will now push to officially register the Digital Twin Web Association.

Please send me an email if you are able to help or if you would just like to join the association.





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