By Anto Budiardjo - CEO, Padi, Inc. (left) and Doug Migliori - Global Field CTO, CloudBlue (right)
Interoperability is a core concept of computer systems and networks, denoting the ability to discover, connect, and interact with other entities within an application’s broader context. In today’s distributed computing paradigm, efficiently achieving interoperability at all levels of the technology stack is paramount to deriving the most benefit from a system of systems.
For decades, interoperability has focused on making discrete components work in conjunction with one another. The Internet is perhaps the best example of billions of devices interoperating at technical and syntactic levels in a truly distributed fashion. At a smaller scale, the dynamic discoverability and capabilities matching of a simple USB is another example of the value created through a common interoperability mechanism. The ability to instantly use a device connected via USB with our laptops is an impressive feat of technology that we frequently take for granted.
As we discover new applications of digital twin systems for the betterment of business and society, we become increasingly aware of the importance of interoperability. Ensuring that these systems' discrete components and the broader system of systems are interoperable is essential to unlocking their potential with less implementation cost, less risk of failure, and less complexity at scale. In many ways, we strive to create a framework that would enable USB-type compatibility and ease for all systems connected to the Internet and private networks. Developing such a framework is daunting as most systems perform specific tasks and do not inherently interoperate with outside entities. System integrators typically handle such tasks.
The labor-intensive work performed by the $400B+ global system integration industry is often unnecessary. We argue that we may ease this burden by designing systems around a common framework and utilizing common mechanism(s) to interoperate like USB devices. Doing so empowers those working in system integration to maximize their efforts' value, designing applications that perform as intended rather than through point-to-point integrations.
The Digital Twin System Interoperability Framework white paper provides the framework for such activity, delivering on the authors’ aim to characterize the multiple facets of system interoperability. Our descriptions have been distilled into seven key concepts framing the design considerations necessary to make systems interoperate at scale. While the authors may not have contemplated all permutations of system interoperability, evaluating a digital twin perspective within the Digital Twin Consortium has provided the breadth and depth of scope necessary to address this paper’s objectives.
We have created a framework capable of unlocking significant value in complex distributed computing systems such as digital twins. As we invite you to review, challenge, refine, and adopt this framework, we hope it proves helpful in designing computing systems that improve our lives.
For more information about the framework, download it here or watch the webinar on-demand: How System Interoperability Empowers Digital Twins.