Building Connected Networks

By Sharada Prahladrao



bcnsp1.PNGAs a global sponsor at the recent ARC India Forum in Bangalore, Bentley Systems showcased its technology expertise and collaborative efforts via presentations by Anne-Marie Walters, Industry Marketing Director, Oil and Gas and Manufacturing; and Ralph D’Souza, Senior Regional Manager (India). The presentations under Building Connected Networks stimulated interactions between suppliers, end users, ARC Advisory Group analysts, and forum delegates.  

Key takeaways from the Bentley presentations include:

  • Bentley Systems’ going digital approach supports digital transformation across industry and infrastructure globally
  • Bentley’s client-centric connected data environment manages information throughout the asset lifecycle
  • Integration between information technology (IT), operational technology (OT), and engineering technology (ET) is vital to streamline business processes
  • Bentley has developed technology partnerships with other leading companies such as Siemens and Microsoft
  • Collaboration across geographies accelerates industrial growth
Anne-Marie Walters, Industry Marketing Director, Bentley Systems Lights the Traditional Lamp for Connected Networks  bcnsp2.PNG

Keynote Address

Anne-Marie Walters began her keynote address with a brief company overview. At last year’s India forum, Ms. Walters demonstrated Bentley Systems’ reality modeling concept.  This year, she showcased technology updates through actual use cases; the collaborative efforts with Siemens to drive digitalization; and pointed out that  Bentley ranks high in recent related ARC reports, such as Asset Reliability Software and Services; Engineering Design Tools for Plant, Infrastructure, and Building Information Modeling; and Geographic Information Systems.

The company is helping drive the convergence of IT and OT with engineering technology (ET) through digital engineering models. This helps users sift and analyze the huge volume of data now accessible through the Industrial IoT, making it easier to take decisions to change operations or revamp/replace a process or equipment.

Reality Modeling

Reality modeling is about taking digital photographs and turning them into accurate 3D models. Last year, the company integrated photographs with laser scanning and introduced a mobile app for this. The laser scanning technology is being used extensively to inspect existing assets and zoom in on problem areas.  Mobile apps to create reality models are revolutionizing the maintenance and inspection processes. The latter won an award at a recent U.S. conference on maintenance. These apps use machine learning and artificial intelligence to automatically identify the assets within the reality model and address areas of concern: rust, cracks in bridges/pipes, and which sections need to be changed.

Source: Bentley Systems Presentation for Connected Networks bcnsp3.PNG

Bentley worked with Siemens to model a skid plant. To produce a reality model of the process automation skid, 540 photographs were taken to provide context to the existing assets in a 3D environment.

Every year, the company asks users to submit their most impressive projects. In 2016, this category had only three submissions; in 2017, there were 47 submissions. Ms. Walters cited several project examples from the 2017 Be Inspired nominees around the world that used reality modeling.  These included:

  • Smart city modeling of New Taipei City using hybrid laser scanning and photogrammetry (Taiwan)
  • BIM (building information modeling) advancement from traditional 2D to 3D modeling; combining reality modeling of existing assets and 3D models of what they are planning (China)
  • Inspection of cell towers through drone technology. The software can program the drone to capture the best photographs to model the cell towers accurately (Italy)

Partnership with Siemens

Bentley has a strong partnership with Siemens to accelerate digitalization, including maintaining and managing of digital twins across the asset lifecycle. As shown in the graphic, this collaboration spans multiple domains and industries. Ms. Walters used a workflow process to demonstrate how the collaboration works in practice. Recently, Bentley and Siemens announced a joint initiative to set up a Process Industries Academy, to help organizations better understand and develop an effective digital strategy across all aspects of the asset lifecycle based on the practical experience and knowledge of industry experts.

Source: Bentley Systems Presentation for Connected Networks bcnsp4.PNG

Operational Excellence through the Connected Data Environment

“Going digital is trending across industries,” is how Ralph D'Souza began his presentation. Digitalization is now the #1 trend in industries, but the challenge lies in helping companies scale up, he said.  Bentley is helping companies scale through strategic partnerships with companies like Siemens and Microsoft. These partnerships are all about interoperability and securing and managing information; with Siemens, the company is at the forefront of real-time interoperability. Cloud is gaining traction in the oil & gas sector, he said, and IIoT-enabled operational analytics and machine learning will also impact the future of industrial growth. At the heart of what Bentley offers is the connected data environment. This offering leverages the cloud and supports both project delivery and asset performance for operations and maintenance, providing a shared digital context.

Source: Bentley Systems Presentation for Connected Networks  bcnsp5.PNG

He explained that information is often siloed and may be inconsistent. The connected data environment helps resolve this kind of problem. For example, in a connected data environment, a maintenance engineer on the shop floor can use a geo-aware tablet to: 

  • Assess the health of the equipment through the real-time installed sensors
  • Make additional visual inspections and, if needed, take photographs, check thickness reading, monitor vibration, etc.

When connected to the asset monitoring system, the tablet can generate alarms if the equipment is likely to fail.

Mr. D’Souza discussed the steps on the journey towards a connected data environment:

  • Start by understanding and modeling the business (not the databases)
  • Adopt appropriate industry standards and best practices
  • Understand your configuration management requirements
  • See where the software fits in
  • Determine enabling technologies and practices that help your business

In the asset lifecycle, 80 percent of cost is incurred in the operate and maintain phase.  This makes it essential to manage reliability and performance of assets on a daily basis to improve productivity and profitability. Bentley’s connected data environment is both client-centric and PAS 1192-compatible for managing information throughout the asset lifecycle. Further, Mr. D’Souza spoke about BIM levels and associated reality modeling:

  • BIM Level 1 – modeling the data in 2D or 3D
  • BIM Level 2 – brings in the fourth and fifth dimensions of time and cost (construction modeling). Bentley recently acquired Synchro Software, a 4D construction package, to beef up its capabilities here
  • BIM Level 3 – asset performance modeling for better decisions for maintenance and operations for lifecycle engineering. It focuses on geo-coordination and reality modeling to capture “as-is” information

Bentley’s connected data environment aligns with all the three levels of BIM and leverages asset information modeling to help drive asset performance throughout the lifecycle. Citing examples from the 2017 Be Inspired nominees/winners, he explained how companies (BP, Shell, SA Water, etc.) scaled up using Bentley’s connected data environment. The technology helped create value and collaborate across projects.  


The presentations by Bentley at the ARC India Forum were about creating networks of connectivity and interoperability across systems, processes, organizations, and geographies. Reality modeling and the connected data environment seamlessly integrate multiple systems, platforms, and work processes. It finally boils down to effectively integrating IT, OT, and ET to achieve operational excellence.  

With its collaborative efforts and innovative solutions, Bentley Systems is helping industry and infrastructure succeed on the journey to digital transformation and thus expediting global industrial growth.

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Keywords: Bentley Systems, ARC India Forum, IT-OT-ET, Connected Data Environment (CDE), Going Digital, Reality Modeling, Building Information Modeling (BIM), Operational Excellence, ARC Advisory Group.


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