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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Utilities and Government Go “Digital” at Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2017

October 19th, 2017 by Susan Smith

The Bentley Year in Infrastructure conference held in Singapore October 8-12, kicked off with a Media Day on Monday, October 8th.  Among the forums that were offered was one on Utilities and Government, which showcased the company’s commitment to geospatial technologies that are inherent in all of their utility and government applications.

Aidan Mercer, Bentley’s Industry Marketing Director, Architecture, Engineering, Construction, spoke about Bentley’s approach to geospatial in this way: “What we say in GIS, is we don’t talk exclusively about geospatial technology, we talk about it being embedded in our applications,” said Mercer. “We no longer try to prove spatial awareness because it’s inherent in our software. We don’t tend to have any announcements around geospatial because it’s built into our software.”

The “Going Digital” theme of the conference runs through the different industries that Bentley represents.

Some of these areas such as water and wastewater, hydraulic modeling, calibrating networks, designing treatment plants –  have been predominantly digital for quite a long time.

“The perspective of the conference is to connect those overall disciplines into a common or connected data environment,” said Mercer.”That’s providing the ability for a design application, hydraulic model application or sensor network the ability to talk to one another. It involves information that would be native to a certain application and making it available for another computer system to make intelligent decisions. That’s why you have data analytics platforms to predict and describe better outcomes. From an overall perspective that continues the theme of what we might describe as connected applications. With our partnership with Microsoft and their cloud platforms, we have been rolling out these applications progressively but now we have a more comprehensive portfolio.”

The ProjectWise ConnectEdition worksharing platform for sharing data is more on the construction side of things and contains relevant information and workflows for government and geospatial.

During the Utilities and Government Forum, several case studies submitted by Be Inspired Award Finalists were referred to that brought home the real-world application of geospatial within those industries:

Aurecon for the Zillmere Substation, Brisbane, Australia

The problem outlined for Aurecon was they had a 57-year old substation which required excessive maintenance on 33 KV circuit breakers and isolaters.

What they used were

  • LIDAR scans for as-built 3D models of the existing equipment
  • Engineers in Cape Town and Brisbane collaborated via VR
  • Multi-discipline design model
  • Virtual walkthroughs with Energex

The project utilized Bentley Substation and ProjectWise.

Sofia Municipality Street Lighting Problems

DAVID Holding helped Sofia Municipality with their street light problems which involved incomplete street lighting asset and condition information. They needed to reduce maintenance costs and time to repair.

Their outcomes involved:

  • Comprehensive lighting inventory
  • Single source of information
  • Maintenance costs lowered
  • Improved customer service through more informed decisions

The software they used was Bentley OpenUtilities.

Bentley’s AssetWise users will benefit from situational intelligence through Azure-based machine learning provided in Bentley’s partnership with Microsoft. The capabilities of this technology include:

  • Achieve smarter and faster ways of delivering situational intelligence and data-driven decision making.
  • Gain quicker responses to early warnings and other key asset performance indicators.
  • Discover insights and patterns within large volumes of data from multiple sources
  • Develop statistical models to interpret data and learn for themselves.

This application is now available.

CONNECTEdition of Bentley Substation improves the electrical design through workflow updates and collaborative engineering.

Capabilities of this technology include:

  • Increase productivity through a unified, more efficient workflow
  • Improve consistency and standards adherence across all participating disciplines
  • Quickly perform highly accurate lightning protection calculations

This application is now available.

PESTECH Automation and Integration of Substation Design Work for 230 kV Project in Cambodia

Be Inspired Winners in the category: BIM Advancements in Utilities Transmission and Distribution, this project was challenged by the fact that the site is isolated, with very challenging terrain. Manual and CAD-based design was time consuming and error prone.

The outcomes involved:

  • 3D visualization to overcome site and transportation to site challenges.
  • Substantial reduction in errors
  • Time savings of up to 70%.

For this project, Bentley Substation, ProjectWise, Navigator and MicroStation were used.

PG&E Reality Modeling in Bentley Substation

The problem for PG&E of California was that 95% of substation designs are brownfield. They needed accurate 3D models in multiple departments, and for community and government relations.

Their outcomes included:

  • 50% reduction in time to recreate existing substation equipment in 3D
  • 50% reduction of travel to sites

Products they used included Bentley Substation, ContextCapture, Descartes, MicroStation, and ProjectWise.

BIM for Chinese Power Generation Projects

The problem for these projects was that they were charged to meet the massive demand for power generation with innovative, sustainable solutions.

Outcomes involved:

  • $1.4 million USD saved by moving from 2D to 3D BIM for Wugachong Hydropower
  • $7.5 million USD saved for the Qiongzhong pumped Storage Power Station
  • Construction finished 20 days ahead of schedule for Macheng Caijiazhai Wind Farm

Project applications included Bentley products: AECOsim Building Designer, ContextCapture, LumenRT, Map, MicroStation, Navigator, OpenPlant, OpenRoads, ProjectWise, Raceway and Cable Management, Substation.

OpenRoads Designer is a comprehensive and fully functioned detailed design application for surveying, drainage, subsurface utilities, and roadway design that supersedes all capabilities previously delivered through InRoads, GEOPAK, MX, and PowerCivil.

Tongzhou Water Works of Beijing South-to-North Water Diversion Project

Be Inspired Award Winner in the category: BIM Advancements in Water and Wastewater Plants, this water works had to design the plant for a heavily populated area. In addition, they had to meet government requirements to improve the building efficiency, reduce construction costs, and eliminate impact on surrounding environment.

Outcomes included:

  • 50% design work savings.
  • Multi-disciplinary models estimated to reduce 40% of drawing audit work and 15% of construction costs

Used in this application were the Bentley products: AECOsim Building Designer, OpenPlant, ProStructures, BRCM, LumenRT, Substation, MicroStation, Navigator, OpenRoads Designer, ProjectWise.

Yangzhou City Reality modeling

3D Reality Modeling of Yangzhou City

City planners wanted to build a 3D digital city for planning, construction and city management.

Their outcomes were as follows:

  • Image acquisition and production of models were completed in one month.
  • Imagery processed in 20 days vs. previous 10 months.
  • 200,000 USD savings.

Used were Bentley ContextCapture, Descartes, and MicroStation.

Alberto Granados, VP Asia Pacific Microsoft, spoke of the Malaysia Mass Rapid Transit Corporation tapping into the power of Microsoft Azure. 80% of the population and primarily millennials expect the cloud to serve their needs and provide massive opportunity to disrupt. Malaysia Mass Rapid Transit were the Be Inspired Award Winners in the category, BIM Advancement in Rail and Transit.

“We are investing massively in Azure, and invest in 38 regions and four more will be announced,” said Granados. “We are bringing on 120,000 new Azure customers per month, 90% of Fortune 500 customers are already using Azure. We think infrastructure is unrepresented in this investment.”

Malaysia wants to improve productivity of workforce, and BIM or other tools are an imperative. Malaysia Mass Rapid Transit has the typical challenges of workforce, deadline, needing to synchronize different teams to reduce risk. It is the first metro able to demonstrate how the cloud can really provide assets without acquiring them and use them at any moment, in any size needed.


Frank Braunschweig, CEO of ACTION Modulers, talked about the agreement of Bentley to acquire ACTION Modulers, leaders in environmental modeling. With these modulers, you can predict the impact of weather and rain on your city. Reality modeling can assist in putting that information together accurately and efficiently. Capabilities include:

  • Predictive analysis for urban drainage overflow
  • Flood early warning systems
  • Pollutant tracking

Key points of the company:

  • It was established in 2004
  • Affiliated with the University of Lisbon’s School of Engineering (Instituto Superior Technico)
  • Strong research and development team
  • Proven technology for EU projects

“There is interesting timing around the release of ACTION Moduler with all the flooding, hurricanes, etc.,” said Mercer. “This software is predicting being able to “optioneer” the potential of this happening, This means it can be predictive and it can model the potential of that happening, and integrate with our predictive analytic software. This is providing that environment by integrating within ContextCapture so you can capture site conditions and then integrate that into the environment.

It’s not very hard to predict what’s happening today. Where the digital aspect will come in is when the machine has the likelihood of failure or of weather or systems hit by unusual circumstances. It’s not necessarily being able to model the existing network, its being able to simulate that prediction beyond that point. You’re seeing this simulation going into the cloud so it continuously cross references itself to find those gaps.”

Sanborn 3D HD Maps for Autonomous Driving

There is an eagerness to embrace autonomous driving, but the bugs still haven’t been completely worked out. The problem for Sanborn is to reduce unattainable time and costs of autonomous car testing.

Their outcomes have been as follows:

  • High-precision 3D base maps
  • Substantial reduction in production time
  • 3D mesh used in driving simulation tool
  • automotive partners visualize and analyze 3D models on the Web

Used in this endeavor are Bentley ContextCapture, Descartes, Sanborn HD Mapping technology.

Siemens’ Global Head of Information Technology, Helmuth Ludwig, spoke of PLM and highlighted joint development projects with Bentley from the past to their becoming an alliance partner.

“We haven’t spent a lot on digital assets,” said Ludwig. “We need a digital twin, to be able to simulate all processes on the production side. How do you take information from users and integrate them in all the steps? What happens when there’s an asset failure? How do you trace it so you can avoid it in future by having a digital twin of the product?”

Siemens has deep knowledge in several domains, in the areas of energy generation, process industries, etc. They can bring this together with Bentley’s most innovative tools to market. They are very optimistic this will bring significant value to customers around the world.

Rail electrification of mobility can’t happen fast enough. In the OpenRail environment, how can we do the best job for overhead catenary lines – a kit of parts and more? Siemens has developed for their own use good software for overhead catenary lines, that works well with Siemens other offerings. How can Open Rail electrical and the Siemens overhead line electrification best understand the control environment of the functional and the physical? “OpenRail designers will all have the benefit of, and will work very well with Siemens hardware, but will not be limited to that,” said Ludwig. “There will be no separate licensure for the Siemens rail and electrification; it will be inside OpenRail.  This won’t be done for the first version of CONNECTEdition OpenRail. but for the next one, with absolute openness of Bentley Systems.”

TopCon Positioning Systems entered into a collaboration agreement with Bentley for the Constructioneering Academy initiative, for construction industry professionals to learn best practices in constructioneering, a process of managing and integrating survey, engineering and construction data to improve project delivery.

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Categories: #YII2017, 3D Cities, 3D designs, aircraft tracking, airports, analytics, asset management, Bentley, Bentley Systems, Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2017, Big Data, Building Information Modeling, climate change, cloud, conversion, crowd source, data, developers, disaster relief, drones, earthquakes, emergency response, field GIS, geocoding, geospatial, GIS, government, GPS, handhelds, hardware, hurricanes, image-delivery software, in car navigation, indoor location technology, indoor mapping, insurance, iPhone, laser radar, LBS, location based sensor fusion, location based services, location intelligence, mapping, mobile, Open Source, photogrammetry, public safety, reality modeling, remote sensing, resilient cities, ruggedized computers, satellite based tracking, satellite imagery, SCADA, sensors, SITEOPS, situational intelligence, small sats, spatial data, storm surge, subsurface utilities, survey, telecommunications, Topcon, transportation, UAS, UAV, UAVs, urban information models, utilities

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