Digital Twins for Advancing Infrastructure

By Ralph Rio

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Summary

Bentley Systems’ Year in Infrastructure 2019 Conference YII 2019 in Singapore, October 21-24, attracted a global gathering of 1,500 delegates comprised of leading executives in the world of infrastructure design, Digital Twinsconstruction, and operations. ARC Advisory Group was a Gold Sponsor for this event, which focuses on best practices and technologies for going digital.  Bentley hosts this conference annually, emphasizing that the economy, the environment, and industries can grow and improve only by advancing infrastructure, collaboratively.  

For the second time (first was in 2017), Singapore provided a dynamic setting for Bentley’s content-rich agenda.  This featured industry sessions and one-on-one interviews for the press; Digital Advancement Academies; the technology pavilion; partner sessions focused on collaborative solutions; and the dazzling awards ceremony and gala.  The newly introduced, ACCELERATE (12 tracks and 19 sessions) program provided first-hand experience of all the enhancements and key capabilities of the CONNECT edition of the company’s software and services offering.  The keynote addresses and technology updates showcased the company’s continuous improvement endeavors.  Two recurring themes spanned across all sessions:

  • The digital twin fuses the virtual and real worlds executing projects on time and within budget, and for meeting KPIs in plant operations and maintenance
  • Collaborating and building on complementary strengths propels sustainable industrial growth

Year in Infrastructure 2019

The theme of the Year in Infrastructure 2019 Conference in Singapore was Advancing Building Information Modeling (BIM) through Digital Twins.  Bentley Systems advances BIM and GIS through 4D infrastructure engineering digital twins for asset and network performance.  Attendees heard about advancements for digital twins that are being deployed across many industrial sectors. 

Bentley’s iTwin Services

Bentley Systems has developed iTwin Services as an open, scalable platform for digital twins.  The set of cloud services enables organizations to create, visualize, and analyze digital twins of projects and assets.  iTwin Services include reality modeling, 3D web visualization, and 4D change synchronization technologies within an open, connected data environment (CDE) for efficient and safe collaboration.

Bentley Systems’ iTwin Services enable users to incorporate engineering data, reality data, and other associated data—from diverse design tools and other sources—into a dynamic digital twin.  Users can track and visualize changes including real-world conditions from instrumentation, sensors, IoT devices, or drones.  

Bentley’s YII 2019:  Collaborations and Announcements

Bentley Systems and Topcon Positioning Systems Launch DCW

Bentley Systems and Topcon Positioning Systems announced a new, jointly owned company - “Digital Construction Works.”  The global staff of DCW are former employees of Bentley Systems and Topcon.  Digital Construction Works provides digital automation, integration, and twin development and execution services with a portfolio of fit-for-purpose software and cloud services.  At the YII 2019 conference announcement, the leadership stated that their approach was agnostic.  The joint venture will work with the existing design authoring and laser scanning systems in use by its customers.

New Digital Twin Services for Asset and Network Performance

Bentley Systems introduced AssetWise Digital Twin Services and OpenUtilities Digital Twin Services for Asset and Network Performance.  AssetWise Digital Twin Services converge digital context, components, and chronology to provide immersive visualization and advanced analytics for enhanced decision support and improved performance of infrastructure assets. OpenUtilities Digital Twin Services use digital twins for consolidating, validating, and aligning GIS, reality modeling, performance, simulation, and other enterprise data required to effectively manage assets including power plants, substations, and entire networks.

Digital Twins Definition of a Digital Twin by Bentley Systems During YII 2019

New ProjectWise 365 and SYNCHRO for 4D Digital Twins

Bentley Systems announced new capabilities for its ProjectWise collaboration platform and SYNCHRO 4D construction environment – the fourth “D”  being time.  Together, these offerings extend project digital twins across the project delivery ecosystem to help improve design and constructability workflows.  The new ProjectWise 365 cloud services are based on Microsoft 365 technology and office productivity tools.  With Bentley’s new SYNCHRO cloud services, contractors can 4D-visualize design data and construction models for project and field management, advanced work packaging, and Microsoft HoloLens 2 augmented reality solutions.  Simulating construction sequencing helps avoid conflicts and rework for shorter project delivery with lower costs.

New ProjectWise 365 Cloud Services

Purpose-built for design teams, ProjectWise 365 is a SaaS-based offering designed to enable teams involved in design and engineering to easily store and find designs, accelerate content sharing and collaborative workflows, and manage feedback.  The new ProjectWise 365 cloud services will be available by the end of 2019.

iTwin Design Review (for practitioners) enables ProjectWise 365 users to initiate ad hoc design reviews in a 2D/3D environment.  It provides workflows to markup and comment directly on elements of 3D models and to link between 2D and 3D views.

iTwin Design Review (for projects) enables project teams using ProjectWise Design Integration services to capture engineering changes throughout the lifecycle of project digital twins.  It provides a record of who-changed-what-and-when.  Multi-discipline design reviews can be conducted continuously and comprehensively, for design coordination through “4D” visualization.

Digital Twins Key Digital Twin Workflows per Bentley Systems During YII 2019

New SYNCHRO Cloud Services for Construction

Microsoft named Bentley Systems as a winner in the Mixed Reality category of its Partner of the Year Awards (2019) for Bentley’s SYNCHRO/HoloLens 2 solution for 4D visualization of project digital twins.  New SYNCHRO cloud services extend SYNCHRO’s market-leading 4D construction modeling to span construction project management and execution and assimilate ConstructSim advanced work packaging:

  • SYNCHRO Field offers task, plan, model, and map views to capture field data for progress updates and quickly identify any issues.
  • SYNCHRO Control provides a single web interface for construction teams to capture, manage, access, and collaborate on design and construction data.  It enables easier and faster design document access from ProjectWise 365, and complete submittal and RFI management and issues resolution capabilities.
  • Completions accelerates and validates project system readiness through collaborative workflows expediting closeout items for construction and commissioning teams.
Digital Twins - Digital Twin Stages of Execution

Bentley’s Collaboration with Siemens

Bentley Systems and Siemens have a joint development program for digital project execution and asset information management.  The Teamcenter for Capital Asset Lifecycle Management (CALM) solution works in conjunction with Teamcenter software at the enterprise level, i.e., beyond a specific project to improve capital program decision making.  The software helps companies digitalize their capital assets early in the lifecycle from concept to operations.

Jointly developed for the process industry by Siemens and Bentley Systems, PlantSight brings together, contextualizes, validates, and visualizes plant data and information to transform raw data into a digital twin.  PlantSight enables organizations operating, maintaining, and upgrading process plants to increase asset performance and reduce operating costs through everyday use of current and trusted plant information.

Acquisitions

Bentley announced two acquisitions at the event:

  • Citilabs with global mobility simulation (CUBE) and analytics (Streetlytics) software
  • Orbit Geospatial Technologies (Orbit GT) with 3D and mobile mapping software. 

In conjunction with Bentley’s existing design integration and digital cities offerings, these newly acquired technologies enable engineering-based mobility digital twins. 

Conclusion

This annual Bentley-hosted event helps the company engage with its customers and other participants in a collaborative environment.  It provides the  project finalists with the opportunity to showcase their efforts and a great learning experience for all.   

Since 2004, the Awards program has recognized more than 3,400 of the world’s most outstanding infrastructure advancements, encompassing all types of infrastructure projects.  This was a record-breaking year, with 571 nominated projects from 440 organizations and submissions from over 60 countries across 400 cities (submitted in 12 languages); 54 finalists were selected from 18 categories. 

Digital twins, the company’s new focus area, are digital representations of physical assets.  Bentley Systems provides a foundation for accurate, up-to-date and accessible asset information through digital twins.  Companies should consider what information they already have, and what returns they can expect from their investments in digital twins.

Year in Infrastructure 2020 will be hosted in Vancouver. 

Bentley, SYNCHRO, iTwin, AssetWise, OpenUtilities, and ProjectWise are either registered or unregistered trademarks or service marks of Bentley Systems, Inc.  All other brands and product names mentioned are trademarks of their respective owners

 

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Keywords: Bentley Systems, Year in Infrastructure, Digital Twins, Advancing Infrastructure, BIM, YII 2019, ARC Advisory Group.

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