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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 »

Bentley Webinar Focuses on Digital Twins

May 24th, 2019 by Susan Smith

Bentley Systems hosted its Spring Update Conference Call this week about the progress of the company, with a focus on Digital Twin technology. In addition were two product announcements and the acquisition of Keynetix, a UK-headquartered provider of cloud-based software for capturing, visualizing, modeling, and sharing of geotechnical data.

With OpenSite Designer, users can create intelligent 3D models for civil site projects complete with site information, terrain data, parking lots, building pads, driveways, sidewalk, parcel layout and related site features.

The update included the February news that Bentley acquired Minnesota-based SignCad Systems, a leader in transportation signage to be part of the OpenRoads environment. “Traffic signage lies ahead of us, as where there are autonomous vehicles and hybrid roadway occupancy, there will always be traffic signs,” said Greg Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems. “That might become more dynamic and signs may in future communicate with vehicles as well.  At that point they’ll be powered by solar collectors and be reengineered, as every part will be part of a digital twin.”

Bentley went on to talk about the over $1 billion in R&D and acquisitions the company has engaged in. China represents Bentley’s second largest territory in terms of new business in the world. It is Bentley’s third largest territory in overall business after the U.S. and UK. China continues to be first in the adoption of all Bentley’s new technology offerings. Bentley mentioned that we all benefit from trade with China and urged listeners to speak out about the importance of trade for going digital for infrastructure engineering.

Chief Communications Officer, Chris Barron, directed listeners to the company’s Spring 2019 Advancements Update.

Barron stressed that the majority of 2018 revenues came from outside North America. The Year in Infrastructure Awards 2018 were won largely by Asian and Southeast Asian projects. Over 60 percent of the nominated projects were from Asia and they are on track to have a record number of nominations this year.

Bentleys’ Open modeling environment – with its open portfolio of BIM modeling applications, are all built on same platform, and enable multi-disciplinary collaboration without any need for file translations. Users are using more of open integrations on their projects, because they make design integration hassle-free and they can share digital components for the Bentley Component Center, where they can perform multi-disciplinary clash resolution. Most projects still require 2D documents for their deliverables. The applications in the open environment share a common documentation center. Each of these BIM applications are open to the analysis and simulation of Bentley’s analytical tools.

“We demonstrate how the open modeling environment can accelerate digital workflows in interdisciplinary projects. Using OpenBuilding Generative Design capabilities, road and sign modeling with OpenRoads, and rail infrastructure with OpenRail, designs shown employ iterative workflows for their analytical applications for energy use and simulations for pedestrians, structural analysis for both the built structure and subsurface soils and geologic conditions,” said Barron. “Construction strategies and sequencing alternatives in the form of work packaging for the station can be simulated. With Bentley’s Synchro 4D construction modeling, existing site conditions can be captured, and construction progress continuously monitored. The drone imagery used Context Capture cloud service, and real time enlivened visualization can be created directly from the BIM model with LumenRT.”

The Connected Data Environment spans project delivery with ProjectWise, and infrastructure asset performance with AssetWise. ProjectWise 365 services have new capabilities that have just now become available. “ProjectWise Insights leverages the power BI analytics of Microsoft 365, with automated reported and up-to-date design project status as well as an analytical dashboard showing trends on past, present and probably future of project performance,” said Barron. “The AECOM project that won the 2018 award for Advanced Project Delivery was in our early access program for ProjectWise Insights.”

The other new capabilities in ProjectWise are PDF Review and Markup. They can be accessed through a web browser to accelerate collaboration with stakeholders. This will eliminate the need for third party PDF Review applications. For the AssetWise update, the company announced their newly developed cloud services with Siemens, called Asset Performance for Power Plants. Siemens has extensive experience in the operation of power plants and incorporated such features as: failure modes, degradation curves and predictive algorithms relevant to power plant operations.  Last week APM for Power Plants was named the 2019 winner for Solution Award for Excellence in Asset Management by Uptime Magazine ( at the 2019 Reliability Conference.

Bentley’s requirements for effective and useful infrastructure engineering digital twins include:

1. Reality. The digital twin must mirror existing conditions, either of a site in greenfield project or the current state of a construction project. Or of the asbuilt as operating condition of an existing brownfield asset. Context Capture provides actual current and geolocated and engineering ready reality mesh that in turn provides the immersive 3D digital context of the digital twin. Reality is about digital context.

  1. Geolocated reality mesh that in turn provides the 3D digital context.
  2. Veracity, meaning, does the model have the innate intelligence and semantics needed to be a useful digital twin? That’s where digital components come into play, providing the semantic understanding required. These digital components come from BIM models that have been brought into the Connected Data Environment. In the process, they have had their data opened up and aligned for processing in the digital twin. “For brownfield assets who never had a BIM model, machine learning can be applied using our context capture processes and can be used to automate the classification of components seen in the reality mesh,” said Barron. “Veracity comes from digital components.”
  3. Fidelity is a requirement that relies on the trustworthiness of the digital twin. Specifically, does the digital twin represent the current state of the project or asset? Does it reflect and acknowledge all the changes to the design of the asset? “This is where our iTwin Cloud Services come into play, recording and synchronizing changes in our change ledger, and empowering stakeholders to go either forward or backward in time to understand the impact of the change over time,” noted Barron. “Fidelity is about digital chronology; chronology is the time factor.” Immersive visualization, whether from a web portal or from an augmented reality device like HoloLens, basically opens the digital twin in a way that can be understood by all stakeholders without the need for authoring applications that created components.
  4. Analytics visibility opens up the data in a digital twin so that big data analytics can be performed on that data, providing insights that might not be possible without that openness. iModel.js, Bentley’s open source platform for mixed reality, machine learning AI and analytics, takes it to the next level.

BIM data, which is essentially dark data if you don’t have the application to create it, is brought into the connected data environment become open and query able data. The benefit of project digital twin comes to life including the ability to have continuous and comprehensive design review among stakeholders via a browser, analytics visibility into the quality of the design, accountability into the project changes and their impact on cost performance or safety, and 4D construction modeling.

PlantSight, jointly developed with Siemens, digital twin cloud service for operating process plants, is expected to be available at the end of the quarter.

TopCon will be announcing Context Capture cloud processing services that will now enable photos from any UAV to be processed into 3D meshes and brought directly into TopCon’s Magnet Collage web services.

Greg Bentley spoke about the new products OpenBuildings Station Designer and OpenSite Designer, now available, that demonstrate the advancement of BIM through the Digital Twin.

Rail and Transit stations have been in the news with project failures in various parts of the world recently. For these types of assets, Bentley said the worlds of horizontal and vertical assets come together and that’s where problems can occur, but also are opportunities for digital advancements, instead of introducing errors.

From company materials: OpenBuilding Station Designer, a specialization of the OpenBuildings application, is a new multidisciplinary application for the design, analysis, visualization, and simulation of new or operating rail, metro or other transit stations. Advancing beyond generic BIM applications, OpenBuildings Station Designer was developed specifically for rail and transit station modeling, with asset-specific content and workflows. OpenBuildings Station Designer streamlines and automates design collaboration design between architectural, mechanical, electrical, and structural disciplines sharing modeling, clash resolution, and documentation capabilities.

OpenBuildings Station Designer incorporates LEGION, the industry-leading simulation software, acquired by Bentley late in 2018, for fully modeling pedestrian traffic to optimize footfall, wayfinding, crowd management, safety, and security. With the integrated capability to model and simulate pedestrian scenarios, OpenBuildings Station Designer helps designers to improve the functional use of space, passenger throughput, and the pedestrian experience.

OpenBuildings Station Designer breaks down barriers among stakeholders and increases the value and fitness-for-purpose of design deliverables through its:

  • included LEGION pedestrian simulation;
  • integration with OpenRail for rail design;
  • integration with OpenRoads for roads design;
  • clash resolution;
  • multi-discipline documentation;
  • ready-to-use catalogs for functional spaces and equipment; and
  • enlivened visualizations

OpenSite Designer is Bentley’s integrated application for civil site and land development workflows across conceptual, preliminary, and detailed design phases. OpenSite Designer advances BIM through comprehensive 3D site design, spanning reality modeling of site conditions from drone imagery and scans, geotechnical analysis, terrain modeling, site layout and grading optimization, stormwater drainage modeling and analysis, underground utilities modeling, detailed drawing production, and enlivened visualizations.

OpenSite Designer enables rapid and iterative conceptual design, leveraging contextual information obtained through point clouds, reality meshes, GIS, and other sources to enhance understanding of existing site conditions. Interoperating with PLAXIS and SoilVision, Bentley's geotechnical engineering solutions, site plans can be enhanced with new information about the active properties of soil including bearing capacity, stresses, and displacement.

For many site engineers, OpenSite Designer will advance civil site design from traditional 2D plans and profiles to a 3D modeling environment, assuring more efficient analysis of hydraulics, geotechnical, geospatial, and earthworks. Incorporating the analytics optimization of Bentley's SITEOPStechnology, OpenSite Designer is the successor to the site design capabilities of Bentley's PowerCiviltopoGraph, GEOPAK SiteInRoads Site, and MXSite.

Learn more about OpenSite Designer. geotechnical knowledge management system streamlines geotechnical workflows and enables easy access to project data.

Bentley Systems announced the acquisition of Keynetix, a UK-headquartered provider of cloud-based software for capturing, visualizing, modeling, and sharing of geotechnical data. The addition of Keynetix software expands Bentley's geotechnical offerings and accelerates Bentley's vision of enabling subsurface digital twins for infrastructure projects and assets.

Subsurface digital twins can be vital for assessing and managing risks in infrastructure projects, and to the planning, design, construction and operations of infrastructure assets. The creation and curation of subsurface digital twins involves modeling the underground environment (geology, hydrology, chemistry, and engineering properties, and the underground infrastructure), and utility networks, structures, and tunnels – and then analyzing and simulating the subsurface behavior. Supplementing borehole reports managed by Bentley's gINT software, Keynetix's cloud-based geotechnical knowledge management system captures and manages underground environment information for Bentley's geotechnical analysis applications, PLAXIS and SoilVision.

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Categories: 3D Cities, 3D designs, agriculture, air pollution, analytics, asset management, autonomous driving, autonomous vehicles, Bentley, Bentley Systems, Big Data, Building Information Modeling, climate change, cloud, cloud network analytics, conversion, data, developers, disaster relief, drones, emergency response, field GIS, geospatial, geotechnical, GIS, government, handhelds, health, indoor location technology, laser radar, lidar, location based sensor fusion, location based services, location intelligence, mapping, mobile, mobile mapping, OGC, Open Source, reality modeling, remote sensing, sensors, spatial data, subsurface utilities, transportation, UAVs, utilities, YII 2018

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