Sometimes listening to an update call is more than a revenue report update on the recent acquisitions and technology advancements being announced by a company; it’s really about the vision of the leader at the helm. And that was my takeaway after the May 13, Bentley Systems Spring Update conference call for press and analysts. If you listened to Greg Bentley, CEO, Bentley Systems, closely enough you were able to read between the lines and grasp how it plans to move the construction industry forward with a highly informed construction professional using only the best in tech tools to drive infrastructure.

According to Bentley, with all the right tools in hand from machine learning, reality modeling, drone data acquisition, the future is upon us now. And as a result, what role will the “digital integrator” become in making key buying decisions? All of this will occur in very near future. As a matter of fact, you couldn’t help but admire the enthusiasm Bentley shared with how much things are changing and how much upside there is for the construction industry.

Perhaps the most meaningful line of the entire Spring Update, (or maybe just my favorite line was,) “We at Bentley would like to nurture and bring about this new contributor to project success.” As I see it, you just can’t help but admire a leader who seeks to encourage and inspire the next generation of innovators.

As part of this discussion, Bentley introduced the acquisition of Keynetix, which is a provider of geotechnical data-management cloud services. This acquisition expands Bentley’s geotechnical offerings, while also accelerating its vision of enabling subsurface digital twins for infrastructure projects and assets.

Cities, municipalities, and governments might quickly find the real value in this tool for assessing and managing risks in infrastructure projects. In order to do this, the creation and curation of subsurface digital twins involves modeling the underground environment and utility networks, structures, and tunnels, and then analyzing and simulating the subsurface behavior.

Additionally, the company announced the availability of OpenSite Designer, which integrates reality modeling, optimization, and automated deliverables to accelerate digital twin advancements for civil site designers.

The technology advances BIM (building information modeling) 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 visualization.

OpenSite Designer enables iterative conceptual design, leveraging contextual information obtained through point clouds, reality meshes, GIS (geographic information systems), and other sources to enhance understanding of existing site conditions. Users can create 3D models with site information, terrain data, parking lots, building pads, driveways, sidewalks, parcel layout, and related site features.

For many site engineers, this will advance civil site design from traditional 2D plans and profiles to a 3D modeling environment. During preliminary design, the site engineer can complete and subjectively improve the layout while relying on automated optimizations, which respond to the engineering changes.

In other news, Bentley Systems announced the availability of OpenBuildings Station Designer, which integrates multidisciplinary design and pedestrian simulation for rail and transit stations.

This was developed specifically for rail and transit station modeling, with asset-specific content and workflows. It streamlines and automates design collaboration between architectural, mechanical, electrical, and structural disciplines sharing modeling, clash resolution, and documentation capabilities.

OpenBuildings Station Design incorporates LEGION, which is simulation software that Bentley acquired in late 2018 for modeling pedestrian traffic to optimize footfall, wayfinding, crowd management, safety, and security. The integrated capability helps designers improve the functional use of space, passenger throughput, and the pedestrian experience.

With Bentley’s open modeling environment, OpenBuildings Station Design enables iterative digital workflows to assure comprehensive and coordinated engineering modeling of transportation assets.

Robert Mankowski, vice president, digital cities, Bentley Systems – SPAR3D Conference

The topic of the digital twin continued at a press luncheon on Wednesday, May 22, during the SPAR3D Conference, where Robert Mankowski, vice president, digital cities, Bentley Systems, talked about Bentley’s infrastructure digital twin technology, which is enabled by an open, connected data environment that supports infrastructure inspection, construction monitoring, and city infrastructure resilience.

He shared his vision for creating, visualizing, and analyzing infrastructure assets from planning to performance, combining data from continuous surveys, photogrammetry, LiDAR, and sensors, and gaining new insights by simulating real-world situations. This demonstrates that Bentley is trying to move even further into helping the next generation with these tools.

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Peggy Smedley
Peggy Smedleyeditorial director