- October 18, 2018
October 18, 2018 – Bentley Systems, a provider of software solutions for advancing the design, construction, and operations of infrastructure, announced the forthcoming availability of iTwin Services, digital twin cloud services for infrastructure projects (project digital twins) and assets (performance digital twins). iTwin Services can be provisioned within Bentley’s Connected Data Environment (CDE) for ProjectWise and AssetWise users.
To actually be worthwhile, would-be digital twins for existing infrastructure must reliably synchronize reflections of both an asset’s physical reality, and its “virtuality” (engineering data). A digital twin can meet this requirement by geospatially converging the digital context (representing the physical) and digital components (representing the virtual), naturally resulting in an immersive environment for both visualization and analytics visibility.
To date, however, the evolving 3D physical reality of an as-operated asset has been too formidably difficult to capture digitally, let alone to keep up-to-date. Meanwhile, corresponding, as-operated engineering information tends to be unavailable or at best, dated, as typically an assortment of effectively inaccessible “dark data” in either opaque engineering files or unintelligent document formats. Bentley works to overcome both of these challenges, with the confluence of its reality modeling, iModelHub, CDE, and web-visibility technologies.
A representation of any infrastructure asset’s physical reality can now be captured and maintained through increasingly continuous surveys and Bentley’s reality modeling software, providing digital context in the form of “reality meshes”. Overlapping photographs and (as needed) supplemental laser scans, largely from drones and ground-level imagery, are processed to generate spatially-classified and engineering-ready reality meshes at any desired level of accuracy—within which each digital component can be automatically recognized and/or geospatially referenced. The reality mesh can provide an visual “twin” to navigate for finding, viewing, and querying the associated information within, or related to, the asset’s digital engineering models.
Once populated and synchronized by way of digital context and digital components, iTwin Services deliver their benefits through Bentley’s (separately announced) open-source iModel.js library (iModeljs.org) for web-based visualization. Infrastructure teams can easily develop custom applications that connect their digital twin for specific use cases by leveraging an open source ecosystem. In addition, an environment for city-scale digital twins is now available through Bentley’s new OpenCities Planner services.
ProjectWise CONNECT Edition users of Bentley’s CDE can instantiate cloud-provisioned iTwin Services for any project without disruption to their existing ProjectWise workflows. iModelHub will then create and maintain the project’s iModel: a distributed database, with its intrinsic change ledger updated at each deliverable-in-progress check-in state. For each such update to engineering information, application-specific “information bridge” processing effectuates digital alignment of the iModel’s digital components.
To the extent of available reality modeling for the physical site, the CDE’s corresponding ContextShare service maintains updated digital context. The iModel’s digital components and ContextShare digital context are merged through Navigator Web and iModel.js visualization, as authorized and secured by iModelHub.
Accordingly, iTwin Services enable project status reviews to be continuously available, synchronized to any requested project state on the iModel change ledger timeline, and/or for visualization and analytics visibility into changes between any project timeline states. iTwin Services will also integrate Bentley’s SYNCHRO 4D construction modeling.
iTwin Services for project digital twins will be available early in 2019, with quarterly base subscription charges for each iTwinbased upon its scale, in terms of digital components and digital context, and inclusive of cloud provisioning and web accessibility.