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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 »

Acquisitions, Open Source and Digital Twins

November 23rd, 2018 by Susan Smith

A significant number of acquisitions were announced at the Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2018 conference held in October at the Hilton London Metropole in London. Three of these acquisitions further the new iTwin Services effort.

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.

Acquisitions include:

Siemens and Bentley announced PlantSight digital twin cloud services, a solution to enable up-to-date, as operated digital twins, synchronizing the real plant and its engineering representations, for greater efficiency in process plant operations. Additionally, disparate data sources can be integrated to create holistic digital context for aligned digital components.

The two companies have also announced a joint technology and service solution, to speed up the digitalization of power plants and provide intelligent analytics with a range of innovative offerings and managed services solutions, called Asset Performance Management (APM) for Power Plants. This new service, hosted on Siemens’ cloud-based open IoT operating system, Mindsphere, will combine Bentley’s advanced asset performance software solutions with Siemens’ complementary technology and service knowledge to empower power plant owners to access fully digitalization, which ultimately will improve maintenance operations and planning.

Atos, a global digital transformation leader, and Bentley announced a strategic partnership by which they plan to offer a complete solution to create and operate digital twins on behalf of industry and infrastructure asset owners.

Bentley acquired Stockholm-based Agency9, a company that has provided nearly half of Sweden’s larger municipalities with city-scale digital twin cloud services for city planning and related web-based 3D visualization. The new iTwin cloud services not only add digital alignment and change synchronization for infrastructure engineering digital twins, but enables, with the acquisition and integration of Agency9 CityPlanner, the OpenCities Planner that will meet urban planning requirements with greater detail.

While not an acquisition, Bentley announced integration availability between ProjectWise 365 Services and Microsoft 365. This collaboration brings analytics from Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Power BI, Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Flow collaboration to be applied to mainstream automated digital workflows within Bentley ProjectWise.

Another announcement (not an acquisition), Topcon Positioning Group and Bentley announced new developments in the constructioneering workflow initiative. This year’s conference marks the first anniversary of the launch of the Constructioneering Academy initiative of the Topcon and the Bentley Institute.

Going “Open”

Significant change this year was the shift to Open applications with MicroStation at the center of the Comprehensive Modeling Environment with the launch of OpenSite Designer, an application for the design and construction of civil site projects; OpenBuildings that assembles AECOsim building design and Speedikon factory and industrial design applications. Also announced was the availability of OpenBuildings Station Designer for designing rail and metro stations.  Additionally, Bentley announced OpenBridge Designer, a combination of bridge modeling, analysis and design capabilities and OpenFlows FLOOD, a flood analysis and early warning system. Basically all products are evolving to an open source format.

These products will be followed by OpenCities, OpenPlant, OpenComms, OpenUtilities, OpenSite, OpenRoads and Open Rail.

CEO Greg Bentley gave a keynote on Wednesday, speaking about “industrializing BIM.” He said that the UK wants to go beyond BIM to the Digital Twin. Bentley is industrializing project delivery including construction in 2018, including processes as well as components.

Bentley CEO Greg Bentley

Open applications are the way to go with this, and Bentley wove in their work with Siemens energy analysis and resource applications for Webwehaus.

“In connecting workflow we want to automate digital workflows,” said Bentley. “Digital workflows bring together surveying and engineering, becoming ‘conceptioneering.’ Construction moves to constructioneeirng. Topcon and Bentley join together to provide more cloud services.”

All digital workflows have the “eering” suffixes as above and “operationeering,” wherein the Connected Data Environment (CDE) implements ProjectWise and AssetWise.

Meeting the finalists

Digital Twins, iTwin Services and iModel Hub

The addition of Digital Twins, with iTwin Services, are an outgrowth also of the iModel technology.

  • A digital twin is a computer model which mirrors and simulates an asset of a system of assets and their surrounding environment.
  • 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.
  • Digital twin models can help organize data and pull it into interoperable formats so that it can be used to optimize infrastructure use.
  • Digital twins can also share the data with defined levels of access, to inform better decisions about which future infrastructure to build and how to manage current and future infrastructure.
  • A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical object or system across the lifecycle, using real-time data to enable understanding, learning and reasoning, according to Gartner.

What it can be used for is the application of analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning in simulations and decision support throughout the lifecycle of design, construction and operations.

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.

iModel Hub and iTwin Services

Adam Klatzkin, senior director of Bentley iModel technologies, said that every asset must have a foundation and so must its digital twin. “The iTwin is constantly changing, providing accessibility for key workflows, while not being disruptive to current workflows.

PlantSight uses the Digital Twin and Digital Twins are powered by iModel Hub based on GitHub. The iModel Hub is used on the U.K.’s 330-mile-long HS2 high-speed rail project.

“There is no shortage of dark data,” said Klatzin. “We want design engineers to work in software they are comfortable with. We want to open dark data, so we can communicate effectively and use it.”

Qualities include:

Design change – “By embracing change we hope to have better understanding of design. We can understand using iModel, synchronized change, figure out what might have changed and identify problems.”

Risk mitigation – “We can now associate GIS and BIM and other information. This reduces latency between unidentified risks.  By being able to visualize risks within the 3D environment, we know where risks lies.”

Design Insights – “Providing visibility into and improving understanding of design, impact of design, changes on costs, schedule, health and safety can inform our decisions.”

Integrated with Power BI – This enables the understanding of the impact of design decisions.

Benefits of the iModel give greater understanding of design data, specifically ensure consistency, better identification of opportunities for design efficiencies and design for manufacturing.

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 Laser Mapping, analytics, autonomous vehicles, Big Data, Building Information Modeling, cloud, cloud network analytics, data, field GIS, geocoding, geoinformatics, geospatial, geotechnical, GIS, government, handhelds, indoor location technology, mapping, Open Source, photogrammetry, sensors, situational intelligence, subsurface utilities, survey, utilities, Year In Infrastructure 2016, YII 2018

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