Connecting Waterpeople
Premium content

Bentley Systems' YII & Going Digital Awards 2023: “Going digital is the answer”

Briefing with Bentley's executives.

The 2023 Year in Infrastructure and Going Digital Awards is being held on October 11 and 12 in Singapore. Every year the awards programme recognizes the work of Bentley software users to advance the design, construction and operation of infrastructure all over the world, while they contribute to a better quality of life for their communities.

Independent jury panels for 12 categories select three finalist projects per category. In 2023, the 36 finalists were chosen from more than 300 nominations from 51 countries. Alejandro Maceira, Director of Smart Water Magazine, is a juror for the Water and Wastewater category.

The first day started with presentations from project finalists in the different award categories. The Water and Wastewater presentations were scheduled in the afternoon, but prior to that we were able to attend sessions with interesting projects in other categories, in some cases also related to the world of water.

In the Water and Wastewater category, three finalists: two of them from India, and one from the United States, were selected from 43 project submissions from 15 different countries

For instance, in the Process & Power Generation category, the Digital Asset Management of Hydropower Projects Based on Digital Twins, by Shanghai Investigation, Design & Research Institute Co., Ltd., used digital twins for the management and maintenance of two giant hydropower plants in China. Also, in the Structural Engineering category, the Construction Of 318 MLD (70 MGD) Wastewater Treatment Plant at Coronation Pillar, Delhi, by L&T Construction, involved dynamic 3D modelling and structural analysis technology.

In the Enterprise Engineering category, the project Standardizing Delivery of Phosphorus Removal Schemes for the UK Water Industry, by Mott MacDonald, developed a component library to standardize phosphorus removal schemes for 100 projects across their seven water clients in the United Kingdom. It was made available across their client framework to upgrade their existing assets to meet new, stringent requirements to reduce phosphorus being released into waterways.

Alejandro Maceira, Director of Smart Water Magazine, is a juror for the Water and Wastewater category.

Moving on to the Water and Wastewater category, we heard from three finalists: two of them from India, and one from the United States. They were selected from 43 project submissions, from 15 different countries.

The project Achieving Drink from Tap 24x7 Water Supply System for Emerging Economies, in Ayodhya, in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, is part of the Government of India’s programmes to provide safe and reliable access to drinking water, and do away with gravity-fed water distribution networks. Geoinfo Services was responsible for the planning and design of a pressurized water system that will ensure access to clean water 24 hours and also will also reduce non-revenue water (NRW) by 35%. GeoInfo used openFlows to create a hydraulic model and digital twin of the new water scheme. Bentley’s software enabled savings of $2.5 million through optimized pipe diameters. Furthermore, the optimized network is saving $1.5 million in operating costs per year.

After that we heard the presentation of the Rajghat Multi Village Rural Water Supply Scheme, in Ashok Nagar and Guna, state of Madhya Pradesh, India. The project, by L&T Construction, involves a water network to provide drinking water to 2.5 million people in several rural villages, as well as water for irrigation. The scheme included 7,890 kilometres of pipes and overhead tanks. Soil properties and terrain presented challenges for the hydraulic and structural design. Bentley’s OpenFlows, PLAXIS and STAAD automated the design and analysis required. The 3D models and data will be linked with monitoring devices so they can be used for operations and maintenance.

Finally, the last project presented in the Water and Wastewater category was the EchoWater Project, one of Sacramento’s largest public works projects, in the state of California, by Project Controls Cubed LLC. It will upgrade infrastructure to provide tertiary treatment to 135 MGD of wastewater, using Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) to remove 99% of ammonia and 89% of nitrogen, which will then be recycled. It is a complex endeavour comprising 22 individual projects. The design team used iTwin, which became an integra part of the project, and created a digital twin than enabled completion at $400 million less than originally budgeted. The savings will go to provide recycled water for agricultural uses.

After the last presentations, we attended a press briefing with Bentley executives. Greg Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems, gave some introductory remarks, highlighting that Singapore is a primer example of the quality of going digital in infrastructure, noting that some of the top owners of infrastructure intelligence are in Singapore. And he advanced some of the key messages of the upcoming keynotes: to close the existing gap in engineering resource capacity, “going digital is the answer”. Not only are there not enough infrastructure engineers, but the skills required of them are also changing.

To close the existing gap in engineering resource capacity, going digital is the answer

Next, Nicholas Cumins, Chief Operating Officer of Bentley Systems, gave an update on product directions and the business. He announced some appointments to the company’s leadership team: Kristin Fallon joins Bentley as Chief Marketing Officer; she thus succeeds Chris Bradshaw, who takes on the newly created role of Chief Sustainability Officer; also, Colin Ellam joins as Chief Executive Officer of Cohesive, Bentley’s digital integrator business. Also in the discussion were Kaushik Chakraborty, SVP, Regional Executive for APAC; Mike Campbell, Chief Product Officer, and Graham Grant, Chief Executive Officer of Seequent.

Nicholas Cumins, Chief Operating Officer; Greg Bentley, CEO; Kaushik Chakraborty, SVP, Regional Executive for APAC and Mike Campbell, Chief Product Officer.

Another message emphasised was the criticality of infrastructure for sustainability, and particularly for the energy transition. A case in point is how Seequent can be leveraged both directly in production of energy, and indirectly for the mining of rare minerals that are critical for clean energies.

Bentley Systems approaches AI as a strategy to accelerate infrastructure intelligence

Finally, Bentley’s executives also commented on the company’s approach to AI as a strategy to accelerate infrastructure intelligence, recognising the potential of generative AI on the design side. In this regard, Mike Campbell noted that AI will augment the work that engineers are doing so they can be more productive, and can also make the profession more attractive and help with recruitment. The audience was then able to ask questions to Bentley’s executives.

We are looking forward to the keynotes and sessions on day 2 of the conference and will keep you posted on them and of course, on the winners of the 2023 Going Digital Awards. Follow Smart Water Magazine in real time in Twitter and LinkedIn with the hashtag #YII2023. 

Check out more about the first day of the 2023 Year in Infrastructure Conference here: