Industrial Digital Collaboration Helps Advance Technology and Infrastructure

By Sharada Prahladrao

Industry Trends

At the recent Year in Infrastructure 2017 Conference in Singapore hosted by Bentley Systems, construction professionals shared best practices in industrial digital collaboration for integrated engineering and construction. At the conference, Topcon Positioning Systems (a leader in positioning instruments for survey and construction), and Bentley Systems (a leader in engineering design software), announced that they have joined efforts to provide opportunities for construction industry professionals to learn best practices in constructioneering – a term coined by Bentley Systems to describe new digitally enabled practices that combines surveying, engineering, and construction workflows to provide new efficiencies in creating affordable, smart, and sustainable infrastructure globally.  It allows users to start from a reality captured survey context and leverage and update their digital engineering models throughout the construction process in real time.

Creating Accurate 3D Models of Construction Sites

Constructioneering enables engineers to begin work with an accurate 3D model of current construction site conditions (as captured by Topcon’s UAS photogrammetry and laser scanners), which can then be processed into engineering-ready 3D reality meshes by Bentley’s ContextCapture software. Cloud services convey the engineers’ work directly to construction processes in the field. The resulting digital engineering models work with the 3D machine control that guides construction machinery.  Compared to traditional workflows between design and construction in which data in the digital engineering models is often lost and inefficiently recreated, constructioneering provides seamless integration for constructible models that offer real-time updates and data exchange for improved efficiency and cost reduction. Topcon and Bentley will collaborate to create the Constructioneering Academy curriculum, which will be implemented through existing learning centers located in Livermore, California (Topcon); Houston, Texas; and London, UK (Bentley).

Industrial Digital Collaboration Technology and the Future of Infrastructure

Topcon was one of the four Alliance Partners at the event and Ray O’Connor, President and CEO of the company participated in the interactive panel discussion that focused on the future of infrastructure and how going digital is expected to transform the way infrastructure is designed, built, and operated. The discussion aligned perfectly with Topcon’s “Intersection of Infrastructure and Technology” vision for the industry. He said that the future of construction automation continues to move forward today with efforts like constructioneering; and this is proving successful in several phases of project delivery, particularly in road resurfacing, but the opportunities to expand its benefits are tremendous. That’s a big driver for creating the Constructioneering Academy.

Other presentations by Topcon focused on the constructioneering concept and how to improve inspection and maintenance with existing infrastructure; and implement it from planning to execution and documentation and lifetime management.

Industrial Digital Collaboration
Ray O’Connor, President and CEO at the panel discussion and on the screen

The Digital Benefits

In sync with this, Bentley Systems’ CEO Greg Bentley said that the growing momentum in demand for infrastructure project delivery across the world, against finite resources including an aging construction workforce, makes “going digital” imperative. The benefits of constructioneering, with digital visibility into efficient and effective project outcomes, are so substantial that civil infrastructure projects can finally become bankable, attracting abundant private financing to fill the funding gap. The results can be significant—improved overall economic growth and better quality of life.

The challenge in going digital, is to motivate and empower the historically conservative engineering and contracting firms, so that people and processes can catch up with constructioneering technology acceleration, he said. The Constructioneering Academies will help promote digital advancement. In the coming months, new academies will be opened in Pune, India; Dubai, UAE; and Beijing, China. Along with supporting Topcon’s training centers, Bentley’s priorities also include virtualizing Constructioneering Academy offerings through universities with leading construction degree programs.

Industrial Digital Collaborations

Bentley Systems is collaborating with other participants in the infrastructure asset supply chain, to accelerate benefits from going digital. The parties collaborate to ensure that their respective cloud services uniquely federate and interoperate effectively to deliver transformative digital workflows. Each digital partner can then bundle offerings which include the cloud services of both. Current digital partners are Microsoft, Siemens, Topcon, and Bureau Veritas.

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