Bentley announcements herald era of the digital twin

Bentley Systems' Year in Infrastructure conference in London this week has seen a succession of announcements around the development of software enabling industries to develop 'digital twins' in support of their projects.

Keith Bentley, Chief Technology Officer, told delegates that industries adoption of digital twins was “inevitable”, a view also supported by guest speaker Sir John Armitt, chair of the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission.

Among the more significant announcements was the initial release of Bentley’s iModel.js library, an open source initiative to improve the accessibility for both visualisation and analytical visibility, of infrastructure digital twins. The source code, written in JavaScript, can be used by developers and IT professionals to quickly and easily create immersive applications that connect their infrastructure digital twins to the rest of the digital world.

Keith Bentley said that opening up the entire code would create an open eco system that would be good for customers  and enable new businesses to start based on applications developed from iModel.js.

Bentley will offer a flexible subscription model for those wishing to access its iTwin Services, which offer digital twin services for infrastructure projects and assets. iTwin Services can be transparently provisioned within Bentley’s Connected Data Environment for ProjectWise and AssetWise users.

In a statement, Bentley explained that infrastructure asset owners and their teams have recognized the potential for leveraging digital twins in many ambitious use cases including the application of analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning in simulations and decision support throughout the lifecycle of design, construction, and operations.

To realize this potential, representations of assets need obviously to be digital but to be safely relied upon as a twin there must be practical solutions for their synchronization to changing actual conditions in the real world. Moreover, merely capturing and representing physical conditions, including IoT inputs, can never be sufficient to understand, analyze, or model intended improvements, without also comprehending the digital DNA captured in the project or assets engineering specifications.

In relation to the power industry, Siemens and Bentley jointly announced a joint technology and service solution, consisting of their complementary offerings, to speed up the digitalization of power plants and provide intelligent analytics. The new Integrated Asset Performance Management (APM) Solution for power plants is to be hosted on Siemens’ cloud-based open IoT operating system, Mindsphere, It will combine Bentley’s asset performance software capabilities with Siemens’ complementary technology and service expertise to empower power plant owners to embrace digitalization, with the aim of improving maintenance operation and planning.

The two companies also announce the launch of PlantSight, a digital twin cloud service, synchronizing the real plant and its engineering representations and collating different kinds of date to create a holistic digital context for aligned digital components.

Speaking at the Bentley conference, Dr. Horst Kayser, chief strategy officer at Siemens, said: “PlantSight is a huge development on the path to digitalization. By capturing data and closing the loop, digital twins will be capable of optimizing the virtual world before applying the results to the actual world.”

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Digitalization is one of the key tracks of European Utility Week in Vienna next month and POWER-GEN International in Orlando in December.

 

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