Bentley Systems and Microsoft Corp. have expanded their strategic alliance focused on advancing infrastructure for smart city urban planning and smart construction. The alliance will combine Microsoft’s Azure IoT Digital Twins and Azure Maps with Bentley Systems’ iTwins platform, enabling engineers, architects, constructors and city planners to work within a comprehensive city-scale digital twin, empowering better decision-making, optimising operational efficiency, reducing costs and improving collaboration.
The two companies will collaborate to develop new smart city solutions. They will explore opportunities for digital twins in urban planning and citizen engagement for cities around the world. The collaboration will enable improved decision-making and increased productivity through Microsoft Teams for infrastructure engineers.
“At Bentley we believe that infrastructure digital twins can empower engineers, constructors and owner-operators to design, build and operate infrastructure assets that are more cost-effective, more resilient and more sustainable,” said Greg Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems. “With Azure as the foundation of our cloud services, our offerings are more broadly scaled and differentiated by the further integrations of Microsoft technologies. We are excited to extend our partnership to bring new digital twin advances to infrastructure engineering organisations and their constituents.”
“With Azure IoT, Azure Digital Twins and Bentley’s iTwins platform, the world’s infrastructure - vital to our economies and environment - stands to gain so much by enabling people to create comprehensive digital models of an entire environment,” said Casey McGee, vice president Partner Development, US One Commercial Partner, Microsoft. “Our expanded strategic alliance with Bentley Systems opens up new opportunities for innovation and will accelerate the benefits of digital twins for infrastructure engineering organisations and, more broadly, society at large.”
City planning and football club complex projects
The capital city of Dublin, Ireland, with a population of more than 1.2 million, is working with Bentley Systems to develop a large-scale digital twin as part of the city’s planning efforts. “To overcome the challenges of getting public review and comment for new development projects in Dublin during the pandemic, we turned to Microsoft and Bentley to create an interactive virtual environment to ensure our citizens could provide their input from the safety of their homes and keep the development projects on track,” said Jamie Cudden, smart city programme manager at Dublin City Council.
“The impact of the pandemic has forced cities like Dublin to accelerate their digital transformation journeys. Working with Microsoft and Bentley, we are reimagining how interactive virtual environments and digital twins can support citizens to engage from the safety of their own home on new development projects in their local communities. Working with these technology partners, we are building an adaptable and scalable solution based on Microsoft Teams and Bentley’s OpenCities Planner that will set the standard for the future of planning and public engagement in cities.”
In addition to sustaining infrastructure development in smart cities, project digital twins are facilitating industrial construction. Bentley Systems was recognised by Microsoft as the 2020 MSUS Partner Award winner for the Industry-Automotive category, in which an automotive factory uses the HoloLens 2 with Bentley’s Synchro 4D construction-modelling software.
Similarly, FC Barcelona, one of the oldest football clubs in Europe, is partnering with Bentley as part of the club’s renovation of Camp Nou stadium - which is currently under construction amid the pandemic. The project, located in Barcelona, will upgrade streets in the neighbourhood and increase capacity at the stadium to revitalise an ageing stadium and for the club to compete with other top European cities.
“Bentley has been working with FC Barcelona on the Espai Barça Project for over three years, helping the architects, the construction team and the club complete an extraordinary challenge - delivering a major renovation of the stadium while it continues to host matches,” said William T. Mannarelli, director of Real Estate & Espai Barça. “With Bentley’s Synchro 4D construction-modelling software running on the Azure cloud, we can apply cutting-edge techniques to manage the complex and precise scheduling required to keep the stadium open during construction.”
Bentley’s ProjectWise, in conjunction with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Teams, has empowered Bentley’s users to work from home safely while collaborating virtually on projects anywhere in the world.
The companies will further combine Bentley’s infrastructure digital twins expertise with Microsoft’s cloud technologies for: ProjectWise 365 - an instant-on, 100% Azure cloud-based solution that increases the speed and quality of infrastructure design collaboration, which will be available through Microsoft’s commercial marketplace; and Bentley’s iTwins platform to leverage Microsoft’s Azure Digital Twins, Azure IoT Hub, Azure Time Series Insights and other Microsoft cloud services, for users to rapidly store and process operational data.
Images: Bentley Systems