James Fee

Book Review: Hands-On Azure Digital Twins: A practical guide to building distributed IoT solutions


Finished reading: Hands-On Azure Digital Twins: A practical guide to building distributed IoT solutions by Alexander Meijers 📚

I’ve been working with Digital Twins for almost 10 years and as simple as the concept is, ontologies get in the way of implementations. The big deal is how can you implement, how does one actually create a digital twin and deploy it to your users.

Let’s be honest though, the Azure Digital Twin service/product is complex and requires a ton of work. It isn’t an upload CAD drawing and connect some data sources. In this case Meijers does a great job of walking through how to get started. But it isn’t for beginners, you’ll need to have previous experience with Azure Cloud services, Microsoft Visual Studio and the ability to debug code. But if you’ve got even a general understand of this, the walk throughs are detailed enough to learn the idiosyncrasies of the Azure Digital Twin process.

The book does take you through the process of understanding what an Azure Digital Twin model is, how to upload them, developing relationships between models and how to query them. After you have an understanding on this, Meijers dives into connecting the model to services, updating the Azure Digital Twin models and then connecting to Microsoft Azure Maps to view the model on maps. Finally he showcases how these Digital Twins can become smart buildings which is the hopeful outcome of doing all the work.

The book has a lot of code examples and ability to download it all from a Github repository. Knowledge of JSON and JavaScript, Python and .NET or Java is probably required. BUT, even if you don’t know how to code, this book is a good introduction to Azure Digital Twins. While there are pages of code examples, Meijers does a good job of explaining the how and why you would use Azure Digital Twins. If you’re interesting in how you can use a hosted Digital Twin service that is managed by a cloud service, this is a great resource.

I felt like I knew Azure Digital Twins before reading this book, but it taught me a lot about how and why Microsoft did what they did with the service. Many aspects that caused me to scratch my head became clearer to me and I felt like this book gave me additional background that I didn’t have before. This book requires an understanding of programming but after finishing it I felt like Meijers' ability to describe the process outside of code makes the book well worth it to anyone who wants to understand the concept and architecture of Azure Digital Twins.

Thoroughly enjoyed the book.