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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 »

Digital Evolution Moves On at Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2018 in London

October 18th, 2018 by Susan Smith

“Going digital” has been a Bentley Systems theme that evolved further in London at the Bentley Year In Infrastructure 2018 conference, held at the Hilton London Metropole this past week.

Last year, going digital was showcased at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore, a hotel designed and built using Bentley software, situated in a city/island/nation that embodies much of the vision of having infrastructure all connected to each other,- a “digital city and nation.”

Years ago, the concept of cities connected with technology, with systems integrated into a smoothly running mechanism – incorporating building infrastructure, road, rail, water, electrical, was a far fetched idea yet one that definitely held some currency. It was an idea that called for the marriage of AEC and GIS, a combination that up until that time, had not met with much success.

The advent of the cloud and of open source has really changed this for both industries, making possible the management of large datasets and disparate formats in one model. Addtionally, the ability to work with parts of a model and return them to the main model is needed.

Bentley’s name for what is known elsewhere in the industry as “smart cities” or “sustainable cities” is “digital cities,” and suggests digital is different than merely “smart.” Digital connects all the intelligence of the effort, while “smart” may limit the city only to possessing intelligence.

In creating a digital city, it’s necessary to assemble all the data a city relies on, putting it into a form that can be easily integrated and ingested. There are a few city-centric visualization products that allow you to view features of the city, but may lack engineering data. None that I know of that allow a really integrated opportunity to put lots of disparate data together in a model that not only can be visualized but interacted with on potentially deeper levels.

To address the digital city and other engineering challenges, Bentley has introduced their Digital Twins, which are definitely not new to the industry, but Bentley has created iTwin Services, an offshoot of their popular iModel and iModel Hub engineering technology as a platform for the digital twin. This technology is provisioned with Bentley’s Connected Data Environment (CDE) for ProjectWise and AssetWise users.

A digital twin can help manage data about infrastructure. A computer model which mirrors and simulates an asset or a system and its surrounding environment, a digital twin synchronizes reflections of both the asset’s physical reality and its virtuality (or engineering data).  This requirement can be met by geospatially converging the digital context (representing the physical) and digital components (representing the virtual), which results in an immersive environment for both visualization and analytics visibility.

Bentley’s new open source iModel.js library for web-based immersive visualization will be the vehicle by which the iTwin Services will deliver benefits. This library will enable infrastructure teams to develop custom applications that connect their digital twin for specific use cases. Their digital twin will work with other digital twins. This technology will be available in early 2019.

Further, a geospatially immersive environment for city-scale digital twins, OpenCities Planner services, is available now.

Industry Briefing for Utilities and Government

Jim Newman, senior director of asset performance marketing programs, Bob Mankowski,, vice president of Water & Comms,  and vice president Vonnie Smith talked about going digital and industrializing project delivery, as well as leveraging digital DNA with the use of digital twins.

Industrializing Project Delivery: T&D

Vonnie Smith spoke about the Pestech substation project in Malaysia, located near an international airport, and near the largest and busiest shipping port. The area is experiencing a lot of growth in electricity. Issues affecting the substation: 1. T&D had a tight concrete schedule for delivery, 2. many topological and environmental issues, 3. There were lots of collaborators. “The solution needed to be future proof,” said Smith. “As there was a new solution planned for 2020 they decided they needed a digital approach for infrastructure and have used OpenBuildings ContextCapture, ProjectWise, and Bentley Substation.”

Pestech International’s Going Digital approach improves workflows for the Malaysia Substation project. They have experienced a

  • 50% reduction in drawing creation
  • 10-20% reduction in waste
  • RM 200,000 savings

Industrializing Project Delivery: Water

Mankowski presented the dilemma for China’s North-to-South Water Diversion Project, to address North China’s water scarcity problem. This project involved an approximately 20-kilometer-long pipeline, three pumping stations as well as treatment plants, large scale terrain modeling, simulation of operations, and implemented an industrialized 3D BIM workflow, and ProjectWise workflow. ProjectWise is a platform within their coordinated design environment, that greatly improved efficiency, and automated common workflow.

Bentley’s BIM methodology has improved information management on China’s South-to-North Water Diversion Project, reporting:

  • 60% faster modeling time
  • 80% savings in design time

Suez Water Technologies & Solutions creates and leverages digital DNA for improving the delivery of ultra-pure water systems. In this case, solar power requires pure water, and any interruption in service or out of spec water can be a huge cost in terms of production of solar panels. They are using ProjectWise, OpenPlant for utilization of space, STAADPro for finite element analysis of tanks, and OpenPipe to simulate pipe stresses.

Industrializing Project Delivery: Digital Cities

The Digital City project, Kunming City, China made use of BIM methodologies and a CDE for digital cities. This is a 20-year project, 20 square kilometers in size, with 25 participating organizations, using ProjectWise for their collaboration and management platform. So far, they have reported:

  • 90% reality model coverage of 20km2 project area. They use LumenRT.
  • 40% reduction in errors
  • 25% increase in design efficiency

OpenUtilities Power Suite

Bentley’s OpenUtilities Power Suite, modeling environment and simulation and analysis environment will address the changes in the power grid of the future. As a result of de-carbonization and de-centralization, there is a proliferation of windmills, solar panels connected at the edge of the power grid, that promise to have significant influence on traditional power sources and will force traditional utilities to look at their models and provide resilience to customers.

Bentley offers a series of products that include operational data, GIS and engineering data, which generally sit in disparate systems. DER optioneering is designed to help utilities respond and react to new realities. It supports business processes around approval of request by the customer to interconnect to the utilities power grid.

In the past utilities would limit analysis and focus on data transformation and model differences between GIS and the power systems model. OpenUtilities Analysis allows power systems engineers to perform studies in geospatial environments and share models through connected data environments.

Developed as a part of an investment project, Siemens’ PSS SINCAL was embedded into OpenUtilities along with GIS analysis and simulation. Bentley’s modeling capabilities allowed Siemens’ customers to model energy storage of various types. Most utilities do modeling in one package, export, and import into the electrical grid package. Now it’s possible to do this process interactively. Both SINCAL and OpenUtilities provide interoperability to other GIS packages, but also allow you to have common data management and move seamlessly between them. Also new designs become instantly available.

OpenUtilities Design Optioneering can use this to sustain penetration of DER, reduce effort and better operations and maintenance.

Brownfield projects will be able to benefit from the digital twin concept. They might have SCADA, and concurrently, a disconnect between the asset model or paper drawing and asset information. These projects can leverage models from ContextCapture as an intermediate step to digital twin creation. Assets can then be made classified and made ready for performance management, and users can have an immersive experience with assets. They can virtually work through assets, that become smart assets to operate the business. This information is made available to other solutions for operations.

Bentley is heavily involved with the OGC. They also support many other standards. In addition, they have changed the name of Bentley Map to OpenCities Map, reflecting the product’s open status. It also eliminates the gap between traditional GIS and engineering designed expressly for cities.

As this was a year for many acquisitions, note Hakan Engman’s Agency9 CityPlanner acquired by Bentley. The product builds on the foundation for a city’s digital twin. It allows interaction with citizens, and supports a wide variety of BIM and GIS formats for a more federated approach.

OpenFLOOD becomes the umbrella product name for all the formerly known as Haestad products.

Travel, lodging and some meals for the Year in Infrastructure Conference were provided compliments of Bentley Systems.

Bentley YII 2018 Awards

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Categories: 3D Cities, 3D designs, analytics, asset management, Bentley Systems, Big Data, Building Information Modeling, cloud, cloud network analytics, data, disaster relief, drones, geospatial, GIS, government, location based services, OGC, Open Source, OpenGeo, reality modeling, remote sensing, resilient cities, satellite based tracking, satellite imagery, situational intelligence, spatial data, Topcon, transportation, utilities, YII 2018

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