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Digital Twin Drives Data

The digital twin continues to enable interoperability of infrastructure data for engineering firms and owner operators to use in design, construction, and operations workflows. Add to this the metaverse, and the future is data-driven for construction. This was evident last week, which featured a bevy of announcements at Bentley Systems 2022 Year in Infrastructure Conference.

“I will go so far as to say the metaverse will be essential for visualizing construction processes. It is just very natural to use the most immersive environment and to use it in an interoperable way,” says Greg Bentley, CEO, Bentley Systems.

This is where the digital twin—more specifically Bentley’s iTwin—comes in handy for the construction industry. Perhaps one of the biggest announcements last week was that Bentley Systems launched iTwin Experience, iTwin Capture, and iTwin IoT to extend iTwin platform.

A Look at Digital Twins

The iTwin Experience is a new cloud product to provide insights into critical infrastructure by visualizing and navigating digital twins. Significantly, iTwin Experience creates and curates asset-specific digital twins, incorporating machine learning, analytics, and asset performance algorithms.

Bentley Systems says the iTwin Experience acts as a “single pane of glass,” overlaying engineering technology, operations technology, and information technology, which will enable users to visualize, query, and analyze infrastructure digital twins, all geo-coordinated and fully searchable.

“There is a lot of upside to model-based construction and we can get there from here and it doesn’t need to be quite so disruptive as one might have thought,” says Bentley. “Most constructors already are starting with the 3D model, why not start with the 3D model, called the digital twin, and make it more valuable, and we can help with that.”

The technology company also launched other iTwin products including iTwin Capture for capturing, analyzing, and sharing reality data; iTwin IoT for acquiring and analyzing sensor data; and Bentley Infrastructure Cloud, powered by iTwin, which is a combination of enterprise systems that span the end-to-end lifecycle and value chain to enable better creation, delivery, and ongoing operation of better infrastructure through digital twins.

Next Generation of Technologist

I have always said we need a combination of people, process, and technology to make any digital transformation journey a success. Bentley Systems is clearly planning to bring the technology, but I am curious how we are going to find the right workers to drive all this transformation forward when there is clearly a worker shortage across the construction industry.

Bentley Systems recognizes this issue. In fact, the keynote kicked off with this statistic: In the United States, in the last three months, more than half of the engineering firms had to turn down jobs because of workforce shortages. Technology can help bridge the gap of lost workers and serve as a tool to entice them to the jobs.

Last week, I asked Keith Bentley, executive vice president and CTO, Bentley Systems, that exact question: how do we move forward when there is a worker shortage? He tells me, “I think innovation is going to happen at a much more rapid scale. I think we are going to find people are going to be attracted to ‘I can work on that problem,’ or pull these pieces together that I need.”

At the end of the day, if we do work on that people component, and we discover how to mold the right people, process, and technology, the outcomes are going to be amazing. As he continues, “We don’t know the types of problems that will get solved by the next generation of technologist. They will seem natural to them, and it seems like magic to us.”

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