During a meeting with Siemens MindSphere, at the Siemens offices in Singapore on March 14th, SettleMint’s co-Founder and CTO Roderik van der Veer connected the SettleMint distributed middleware with Siemens MindSphere. In less than 2 hours, a sensor suite reporting via a Siemens gateway device to the Siemens MindSphere platform was connected to a Blockchain enabled digital twin (smart contract) and updates variables in the smart contract multiple times per second. As such building up an immutable record of interactions of the physical twin in the Blockchain digital twin.
Leveraging IoT and Blockchain for a “digital twin”
A digital twin in IoT terminology is a virtual representation of a physical product or process, used to understand and predict the physical counterpart’s performance characteristics. Digital twins are used throughout the product lifecycle to simulate, predict, and optimize the product and production system before investing in physical prototypes and assets.
The digital twin has long since established itself in industry, where it’s revolutionizing processes along the entire value chain. As a virtual representation of a product, production process, or performance, it enables the individual process stages to be seamlessly linked. This creates a consistent improvement in efficiency, minimizes failure rates, shortens development cycles, and opens up new business opportunities: In other words, it creates a lasting competitive edge and is the foundation of what is called “Industry 4.0”.
With Blockchain, a decentralized digital ledger that can immutably store transactions that cannot be changed or corrupted and enforces strict adherence to the rules defined between the users of the chain.
By creating the digital twin (or parts of it) on Blockchain would mean that all information regarding a product can be saved immutably. Furthermore, its transaction records can be saved as well, allowing future buyers to see where the product was made, who was its previous owner, what alerts and maintenance were performed on it and so on. Whereas the digital twin is confined within a single party, the Blockchain enabled digital twin can be transferred and interacted with across a multitude of parties.
Siemens MindSphere as the operating system of the digital twin
Siemens MindSphere is an IoT operating system that promises to help designers and engineers align themselves with your plant’s production and operations teams to create a “closed loop” in which engineering and operations address inefficiencies proactively.
Siemens’ vision is that MindSphere will be the platform to build out a digital twin of your plants and fleet, AR facsimiles modeled on real data as close to a one-to-one ratio as possible. The real factory’s data helps to model a virtual factory, which in turn provides product designers and engineers a proving ground for any proposed changes in production.
The closed-loop model creates bi-directional visibility with engineers and product designers looking at real production data, while production teams are able to validate planned production runs through simulations. Both teams benefit from real-world data and virtual simulations.
SettleMint’s distributed middleware eases the Blockchain enablement of the digital twin
SettleMint’s distributed middleware is an abstraction layer around the Blockchain ecosystem. Leveraging an extensive smart contract template library it becomes easy to model a products supply chain, lifecycle and metrics immutably on a Blockchain.
Not only creating a static model, but these Blockchain enabled digital twins are capable of much more. Creating simple or complex rule sets to govern the asset or product. Enforcing rules within the ecosystem and interaction of these products with other products or actors can produce immense cost savings and optimizations for any process.
The distributed middleware uses multiple layers of abstraction (API & UI), tooling and convenience services, integrating these contracts into any external system becomes a matter of hours, not months. By leveraging the experience and robustness of dozens of real-world production implementations of the middleware guarantees the frictionless experience a developer wants and needs to create the business value an organization needs.
When one plus one becomes three
Combining Siemens MindGate and SettleMint’s distributed middleware jumpstarts the creation of Blockchain enabled digital twins. In a two hour session at the Siemens offices in Singapore, engineers from Siemens and SettleMint were able to connect the two systems and interact with such digital twins on an enterprise Ethereum PoA network. A testament to the ease of integration of both platforms.
From a decentralization perspective, Siemens is building up the infrastructure to actually run a Blockchain node and the SettleMint middleware on the “edge”. Meaning on integrated devices that tie into the PLC’s that run the entire manufacturing world. This provides an opportunity to have a real “plant to buyer”, “farm to table”, “origin to destination” lifecycle tracking for all types of products. A revolution in the traceability of the origin of products on all fronts.
About Siemens MindSphere — The Internet of Things (IoT) Solution
MindSphere is the cloud-based, open IoT operating system from Siemens that connects your products, plants, systems, and machines, enabling you to harness the wealth of data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT) with advanced analytics.
MindSphere delivers a wide range of device and enterprise system connectivity protocol options, industry applications, advanced analytics and an innovative development environment that utilizes both Siemens’ open Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) capabilities along with access to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure public cloud services.
Through these capabilities, MindSphere connects real things to the digital world and provides powerful industry applications and digital services to help drive business success.
MindSphere’s open PaaS capabilities enable a rich partner ecosystem to develop and deliver industry applications. Profit from the experience and insights of our partners. No development required on your part to advance your IoT strategy.
Siemens provides business-focused solutions to help drive closed-loop innovation through digital twins for products, production, and performance.