Bentley Systems Inc.

12/06/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/06/2021 14:34

Bentley Year In Infrastructure 2021 Online Aims for Future-Proofing

December 3rd, 2021 by Susan Smith

This year's online Bentley Year In Infrastructure Conference has a somewhat different format, with the emphasis being on the awards distributed from the get-go, rather than at the end of the event. Replicating the experience of finalists' presentations and speaking to the finalists in person were part of a tradition at YII. Not to mention an awards dinner that we all used to look forward to in person pre-pandemic, in such exotic locations as Singapore, London or Amsterdam.

I will say that the integration of the awards winners' work into the discussions here was an effective approach to showcase the work Bentley solutions are responsible for worldwide, and above all, the ingenuity and creativity of the various project teams.

The other overarching emphasis of the conference is on using digital twin solutions to address global greenhouse gas emissions. As Rodrigo Fernandes, Director of ES(D)G at Bentley Systems, stated on Day 1, infrastructure construction and operations account for approximately 70% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. "We now have less than 10 years to transform our world and achieve the sustainable development goals we set to accomplish by 2030."

The big push is to help organizations, communities and business leaders transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient infrastructure. Bentley has partnered with Microsoft for some years, but in this endeavor, Microsoft is a key player in helping to move toward positive social change through technology.

CEO Greg Bentley spoke on going digital for resilience and adaptation. Bentley CTO and founder Keith Bentley joined his brother to honor the year's most noteworthy projects in infrastructure.

Another popular term threaded throughout the conference was "future-proof" - future-proofing infrastructure assets means what it suggests - ensuring against impacts caused by changing circumstances, i.e., Covid, weather events, outages, etc. According to Siemens CEO of Smart Infrastructure Matthias Rebellius, future-proofing organizations may be a wave of the future as it becomes more apparent that we are living in a shifting world with a need for greater resilience. AEC Advisors' recent Chief Executive Summit also shared some insights and research presented here by Andrej Avelini, President of AEC Advisors.

Greg Bentley expanded on future-proofing the infrastructure by saying that we are also future-proofing our infrastructure engineering organizations that are responsible for building better infrastructure.

Water scarcity was a topic raised in the recent Lyceum Conference, which was highlighted by a number of award recipient projects.

The relationship between Bentley and Microsoft virtualized talent throughout the pandemic so that infrastructure engineering would continue with better collaboration. This year, according to Bentley, "though we're still virtual, we're prioritizing improvements to our physical infrastructure for fitness to changing purposes, including resilience to unexpected circumstances which could include pandemics, environmental concerns, and adaptation including necessary energy transitions."

Bentley continues to maintain a strategic alliance with Siemens. Bentley introduced Matthias Rebellius, CEO of Siemens Smart Infrastructure and member of the parent Siemens managing board. The relationship between Bentley and Siemens can be described as a "digital co-venture in which we work towards seamlessly federating our respective digital twin cloud services for advancing infrastructure." What that may mean is that the two companies bring to market synergies between Bentley's physical infrastructure modeling and Siemens' functional or schematic modeling, begun with R&D investments made mutually. A lot has been learned from applying digital twins internally and externally.

"In the heart of our partnership, we have a shared vision of creating digital twins for different verticals with enhanced technologies," said Rebellius.

"What we're working on now can make a big difference in what I might call future-proofing," said Bentley. "What are some of the areas in which you see joint opportunities in this notion of better infrastructure, greener, safer, more resilient, more adaptable, future-proof?"

"The markets where we are in and started working together of course, are electrification and automation of rail networks," said Rebellius. "The world is also going through the transformation of the energy system, which is about going from fossil to renewable, which makes it a lot cleaner, and where a lot of intelligence is needed."

"Europe can't possibly meet the net zero goals without electrifying al of the remaining diesel rail networks. In fact, I think it needs to get done 10 times faster," said Bentley. 'Siemens had 3D software that was used in isolation for that aspect of rail and was somewhat difficult to maintain in the environment. And so, we had the idea together to adapt Siemens' catenary design software, to generalize it for any manufacturers' equipment, then incorporate it into our Bentley OpenRail environment. And today it's known as Bentley's OpenRail Overhead Line Designer."

Bentley and Siemens have also partnered to deliver a blueprint of the digital railway in the UK. Deployment unlocks the European Train Control System or ETCS across the UK, which will increase the throughput of automatic train operation and make traveling more sustainable.

On Day 2, Chief Product Officer Nicholas Cumins, discussed how to program resilience into infrastructure projects with the latest technology innovation and trends that are accelerating the adoption of infrastructure digital twins. Bentley's Chief Success Officer, Kat Lord-Levins provided a virtual tour of the projects selected for the Going Digital Awards by independent jurors as best in their category.

Cumins spoke about the challenges of transporting clean drinkable water reaching back 2,000 years after construction for ancient Roman aqueducts. Some of those waterways still supply water to parts of the city of Rome today.

The acquisition of Seequent has provided more progress for deep subsurface, he noted. "For any large infrastructure project, whether it's a bridge, wastewater treatment plant, or wind farm, the ground conditions are a significant source of risk, which is commonly addressed using a multitude of geoscience techniques," said Cumins. "But with Seequent, the integration of multiple complex sources of geoscience data allows us to build a digital twin of the subsurface. It is like adding windows and skylights to that darkroom and creating a clearer picture."

In announcing the Going Digital Awards, Bentley's Vice president of Water, Gregg Herrin, spoke on that topic. "We all know that water is essential to life, and according to the World Health Organization, we've advanced to the point where over 5 billion people have access to a safely managed drinking water service, which means that water is located on premise, available when needed, and free from contamination. But that leaves billions more who currently lack even basic drinking water services, have to travel long distances to get water, or using a source that's contaminated."

By 2025, said Herrin, it's projected that 3.5 billion people will live in water scarce regions. At the other extreme, the World Resources Institute expects by the end of the decade, nearly 150 million people will be impacted by floods from rivers and coastlines, compared to half that number only ten years ago.

Infrastructure engineering leaders can address these issues head on. One of those leaders, the winner of the 2021 Going Digital Award for Water and Wastewater treatment plants is the construction of Khatan Group of Villages Water Supply Scheme in Uttar Pradesh, India. Congratulations are in order to Larsen & Toubro Construction.

The Indian government recognizes the importance of clean portable water to villages across the country, with the assistance of this project team, this water supply system will provide safe drinking water to about 1.5 million people in nearly 400 villages.

"India is a developing country," said Pradeep Valluvan,"so through this water supply project, we ensure that 388 villages people get portable quality drinking water. Hence, these people do not need to worry about their basic needs and the focus of their livelihoods. So we are converting that challenge into a strength. So through such projects, we will be able to convert the overall challenges of this nation to its biggest strength, through which the nation will grow and prosper."

Another powerful motivator: In India, lots of women are walking several kilometers every day just to fetch water. Many girls also accompanied their mothers to fetch water. By skipping their school, they missed their education. The moment this project is implemented, these girls previously denied education will be given proper education through schooling. Additionally, many water borne diseases, such as typhoid, diarrhea, cholera, are happening each year. "Once we ensure treated quality portable water for this population, these types of water-borne diseases will be definitely eradicated," said Valluvan.

There were many more examples of Going Digital Award winners using digital twin modeling to ensure safe drinking water access for populations, transportation and other vital infrastructure assets, and the many ways in which the technology will impact their lives for the better.

For more information on this week's conference, visit Year in Infrastructure | 2021 Going Digital Awards in Infrastructure | Watch On-Demand (


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