Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure (YII) Goes Live for the First Time

Bentley expands its previously exclusive and exotic customer showcase.

(Image courtesy of Bentley.)

(Image courtesy of Bentley Systems.)

Mark your calendars for Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure (YII) Conference, which will feature a “preconference,” where the finalists’ presentations kicked off the event on October 5, and a conference follows from October 20-21 that will end with an award ceremony on the final day. In addition, Accelerate sessions will feature 190 presentations of 32 Bentley brands starting on October 27.

(Image courtesy of Bentley Systems.)

(Image courtesy of Bentley Systems.)

Normally around this time of year, we’d be packing our bags for a trip out of the country to London, Singapore or some other exotic destination to attend Bentley’s annual YII Conference. Not this year, thanks to the pandemic. We’re not going anywhere, nor is anyone else. This author will be watching from home in her pj’s sipping tea—or something stronger—in her home office.

For the first time ever, the much-anticipated YII Conference will be streamed instead of attended at the planned Vancouver Canada venue.

This year we can still look forward to learning about Bentley’s latest products and acquisitions; and the best part—hearing about innovative projects from Bentley’s customers. 

Usually at YII events, Bentley reveals all the “what’s new?” with Bentley, over the course of 5 days, granting the press an advance preview, which we’ll still get this year.

In addition to hearing from Bentley executives and guest speakers, a big part of the conference and my favorite (as mentioned earlier) is the YII award presentations that traditionally end with a red-carpet shindig announcing the YII award winners and a silly serenade from Bentley’s Chris Barron.

This year, the virtual event will be stretched out through early November.

Over the last few years, there has been a lot of talk about digital twins, and that seems to be the theme again this year. So, if you’re interested in learning more about digital twins (DTs), you are in luck. October 20 and 21 is all about DTs. 

In case you forgot, Bentley’s digital twin offerings is its iTwin Services. Last year at YII in Singapore, Bentley unveiled its iTwin Cloud Services for engineering digital twins.  

Tuesday, October 20, the conference will kick off with the presentation “Executive Perspective: Digital Twins for Infrastructure Resilience” at 11:00 a.m. EDT. The presentation will feature Greg Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems, and special guest, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. Some new faces at Bentley will also join in on the conversation, including Katriona Lord-Levins, chief success officer and SVP (formerly of Autodesk), and Nicholas Cumins, chief product officer at Bentley (formerly of SAP and perhaps replacing Bhupinder Singh). This presentation will focus on meeting infrastructure challenges through digital advancements like digital twins. 

Then at noon you can hear from users, Bentley executives and industry analysts in a moderated panel discussion on how digital twins are going mainstream in design and construction, roads and bridges, digital cities, digital plant, energy utilities, and rail and transit. Some familiar faces on the panels include analysts Monica Schnitger and publisher Terrence O’Hanlon of Reliabilityweb. This will be the first of a three-part series.

On Wednesday, October 21, the day will start with more on digital twins in the presentation “Executive Perspectives: Digital Twins” by Keith Bentley, founder and CTO of Bentley Systems, and the newly appointed CPO Nicholas Cumins. At 11:00 a.m. EDT the pair will discuss Bentley’s strategy for digital twins.

Getting back to day two, at 11:30 a.m. attendees can learn more about Bentley’s iTwin platform in “Digital Twins: Making the Case for Digital Twins” presented by Adam Klatzin, VP of iTwin Services, and Richard Cooper, strategic director, both of Bentley Systems. Their discussion will focus on how users have made successful business cases for investing in digital twin technologies and processes, and how your company can too.

Last but not least, the presentation “Digital Twins Showcase: Twinfrastructure! Twinnovatin! For Digital Twins” is scheduled for 11:45. Greg Demchak, Mehreen Javaid and Sanjjev Shah, all from Bentley, hit the screen to discuss how Tesla, HS2 and NOV are utilizing digital twins. In addition, they will discuss how to combine BIM, GIS, and EAM data for a single point of truth. 

Aside from learning about the latest technology, one of the coolest parts of YII is seeing how it’s used in the industry and hearing from the customers, which brings us to the YII finalist nominees. 

The annual awards program honors and showcases the outstanding work of Bentley software users. This year 16 independent jury panels selected the 57 finalists from over 400 nominations submitted by more than 330 organizations from more than 60 countries. 

(Image courtesy of Bentley Systems.)

(Image courtesy of Bentley Systems.)

The awards date back to 2004, when they were called the Be Inspired awards and were presented at what was called Bentley’s Be Conference. The event grew to having three finalists present before a jury in Charlotte, N.C. in 2009.

The event was held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 2010 and 2011 before moving to London for four years and having its name changed to the Year in Infrastructure. From there the conference bounced back and forth between Singapore and London.

Categories include 4D Digital Construction, Bridges, Buildings and Campuses, Digital Cities, Roads and Highways, Rail and Transit, Structural Engineering and Reality Modeling, to name a few.

Following are a few of the standout nominees. 

4D Digital Construction

  • Mortenson | McCarthy – a Joint Venture – Allegiant Stadium

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States 

(Image courtesy of Sports Illustrated.)

(Image courtesy of Sports Illustrated.)

Solution: SYNCHRO 

To help ensure that the National Football League’s Raiders relocation to Las Vegas was successful, the team’s management envisioned a 65,000-seat stadium with high-tech touches, including a retractable turf field and 90-foot walls that could be lowered to reveal views of the Las Vegas Strip. Mortenson | McCarthy not only had to incorporate those features into a complex, futuristic design, but also had to finish construction by the start of the 2020-2021 football season. They discovered that 4D visual planning was necessary for success.

Mortenson | McCarthy realized that the 4D integration, organization and coordination capabilities of SYNCHRO would make the project possible. They were able to share clear information to all stakeholders, making the decision-making process four times faster, compared to previous video reviews. Careful planning of the construction process helped them to optimize construction sequences and limit the amount of materials stored on-site. Mortenson | McCarthy finished their work on time and within budget, even with COVID-19 restrictions.

Buildings and Campuses

  • Beijing General Municipal Engineering Design & Research Institute Co., Ltd. – Innovative Application of BIM in Municipal Engineering Design of Ezhou Civil Airport

Ezhou, Hubei, China

(Image courtesy of Seetao.)

(Image courtesy of Seetao.)

Solutions: LumenRT, MicroStation, OpenBridge Modeler, OpenBuildings Designer, OpenRoads, ProjectWise

Set to be completed in December 2020, the CNY 1.49 billion Ezhou Civil Airport project includes municipal roads, water and sewage pumping stations, a 110-kilovolt substation, and a 10-kilovolt switching station. Challenges faced included meeting various engineering design standards and managing the project’s components. The design team was tasked with using BIM technology to manage the multidiscipline collaboration. 

Using Bentley’s open design applications, the team established a BIM model of the entire building design, improving understanding and quality across the project. They identified 108 collisions before construction, saving design time and increasing efficiency. Furthermore, construction simulation in the model helped discover 32 potential issues and shorten construction time by 35 days, saving them significant labor costs. The airport design aims to improve the area’s economic development, and the project will set a precedent for the city’s digital asset delivery. 


  • Arup Cherrywood Grand Parade Bridge

Dublin, Ireland

(Image courtesy of Seán Harrington Architects.)

(Image courtesy of Seán Harrington Architects.)

Solutions: iTwin Design Review, LumenRT, MicroStation, OpenBridge Modeler, OpenRoads, ProjectWise, ProStructures

Arup’s mission was to design Cherrywood Grand Parade Bridge as a sustainable transport system, forming a central part of a new residential, retail and office space development. The bridge has two spans, each measuring 22.5 meters in length, consisting of composite steel girders and a reinforced-concrete deck slab varying in width from 13.4 meters to 16.4 meters. Originally, the company wanted to use comprehensive 3D modeling to avoid errors, but faced a software learning curve, compounded by complex road geometry and bridge interfaces amid a tight timeline. Arup realized it needed to establish a connected data environment to coordinate information rich 3D models. 

Familiar with ProjectWise, Arup used the solution to store project data and models. The company used OpenBridge Modeler and ProStructures for detailed modeling and automated drawing production, shortening the modeling process by at least 50 percent. Arup also shortened the time it took to produce 70 drawings from one day to just one hour. 

Digital Cities

  • City of Helsinki – Digital City Synergy

Helsinki, Finland

(Image courtesy of Smart Cities World.)

(Image courtesy of Smart Cities World.)

Solutions: ContextCapture, LumenRT, MicroStation, OpenCities Map, OpenCities Planner, ProjectWise

The Helsinki Digital Synergy project will integrate and utilize city models to support internal processes and public services, as well as continue to support strategic goals for a sustainable, smart city. 

The city of Helsinki uses MicroStation, ContextCapture, and OpenCities Map to generate and update a reality mesh and information model of the 500-square-mile city area for their digital twin, which includes CityGML. It established a connected data environment using ProjectWise, with OpenCities Planner as the visualization and collaboration platform for all stakeholders, including the public. The open, digital solution enabled better decision making by connecting the right information to the right stakeholder and provides a reliable digitalized data infrastructure to support sustainable smart city initiatives. 


  • Citic Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. – The Application of BIM Technology in Fujian Ansha’s Intelligent Green Cement Production Project with a Daily Output of 4,500 Tons

 Yongan, Fujian, China 

(Image courtesy of Made in China.)

(Image courtesy of Made in China.)

Solutions: Bentley Raceway and Cable Management, OpenBuildings Designer, OpenPlant, ProjectWise, ProStructures

To help transform and upgrade the building materials industry, Fujian Ansha Jianfu Cement initiated a CNY 879 million project to establish a first-class, green, smart cement factory. Therefore, the general contractor CITIC Heavy Industries needed to focus on equipment manufacturing as the foundation and push the boundaries of conventional methodologies to achieve design automation and digitalization, bringing intelligence to large-scale mining equipment.

CITIC chose OpenBuildings and OpenPlant to process design, civil engineering, and equipment modeling, and selected ProjectWise for the collaborative design platform, creating a 3D digital design and construction management system. CITIC implemented an accurate design, resulting in early collision detection, estimated to have saved 10 percent in engineering costs and reduced construction time by 7 percent, and saved CNY 5 million. Integrating iTwin Services enabled the company to digitally monitor the cement production process and equipment, significantly reducing operating costs and equipment failure, which is expected to save the client CNY 8 million annually. 

Power Generation

  • TBEA Xi’an Electric Design Co., Ltd. – Application of Digital Technology in the Design of Complex Mountain Wind Farms

Chengde, Hebei, China 

(Image courtesy of GrabCAD.)

(Image courtesy of GrabCAD.)

Solutions: Bentley Substation, ContextCapture, LumenRT, MicroStation, OpenBuildings Designer, OpenRoads, OpenRoads ConceptStation, STAAD

Due to the location’s hilly, steep terrain and dense vegetation, planning the Longhua Guangsheng Aobao Wind Farm was a challenge for TBEA Xi’an Electric Design. The company had to create an accurate design of this power plant so that future construction could be completed in just 15 months. The most significant obstacle it faced was cost regulation for the immense excavation work required. To deal with these issues, TBEA Xi’an Electric Design realized that it had to implement collaborative 3D modeling software.

The team created a 3D reality model with ContextCapture to intuitively reflect the landscape, allowing them to optimize the layout of the wind farm and coordinate materials transportation. The team also detected and corrected collisions of the underground facilities, eliminating more than 100 instances of rework. With the help of 3D technology, site design was improved, saving CNY 3.8 million in materials and earthwork volume costs. 

Rail and Transit

  • Network Rail Wales and Western Region – Bristol Area Signaling Renewal Enhancements

Bristol, United Kingdom

(Image courtesy of Network Rail.)

(Image courtesy of Network Rail.)

Solutions:  MicroStation, OpenRail Designer, Pointools, ProjectWise

Network Rail Wales and Western Region were tasked with installing a new signaling apparatus at Bristol Temple Meads. Connecting signaling committees to evaluate and design new track signals is often expensive and difficult to coordinate. There was not much space to perform construction, and there were many overlapping schemes. To showcase all the necessary renewals and predict the impact of the new signaling, they would need software to support an intelligent 3D model.

Therefore, Network Rail chose MicroStation as its platform. The company developed a reality model environment with fly-through animations, allowing designers to view the network track from the train drivers’ perspective. It was able to replicate multiple train approaches toward signals virtually to correct train signaling issues ahead of time, stopping expensive site visits and rework, as well as optimizing design. The 3D collaborative modeling environment helped Network Rail reduce months of work into one single meeting. 

Reality Modeling

  • Khatib & Alami – Geo-enabling Reality Model Tips and Tricks

 Muscat, Oman 

(Image courtesy of Khatib & Alami.)

(Image courtesy of Khatib & Alami.)

Solutions: ContextCapture, LumenRT

Khatib & Alami was contracted to capture and model 250 square kilometers in Muscat, Oman on a deadline of 125 days. The firm faced topography, time and quality challenges, as well as weather issues, in addition to challenges complying with government policies and clearance constraints. After exploring several options, Khatib & Alami realized that it needed accurate and flexible technology capable of detailed parallel processing to develop a digital twin.

Khatib & Alami used ContextCapture, enabling it to deliver a 3D reality mesh that exceeded the expected deliverables, and LumenRT to simulate risks of environmental change. Using ContextCapture, Khatib & Alami captured and processed 330,000 images in 90 days—35 days ahead of schedule—and improved quality and accuracy at reduced costs. 

Structural Engineering

  • Indian Railways – Design & Construction of the World’s Tallest Rail Pier Girder Bridge

Imphal, Manipur, India

(Image courtesy of Twitter.)

(Image courtesy of Twitter.)

Solutions: OpenRail, PLAXIS, STAAD

The bridge is 141 meters tall and runs along a new rail line in Manipur, India, which traverses mountainous terrain, in a high seismic and wind zone. Indian Railways needed to ensure that the railway bridge could run high-speed and broad-gauge railway trains. To guarantee safety over the bridge’s life span, Indian Railways had to quickly and precisely evaluate the potential effects on the bridge during any type of seismic event. The company needed software that would provide reliability, speed and flexibility. 

Indian Railways evaluated multiple scenarios against varying design options to pinpoint the safest plan with STAAD. In addition, the software was used for detailed structural design and determined that the bridge girders could be constructed with a variety of steel materials. Indian Railways used Bentley software to dictate slope protection measures and to visualize rail alignment. The company saved a total of USD 25 million and completed the design phase on time. 

Well, there’s a glimpse of what’s in store for the presentations. Good luck, nominees! 

And while Bentley has been making a push on digital twins and the CONNECT Edition the last couple of years, most of the customers we talked to last year were not yet using either; however, I see that quite a few finalists cite digital twins in their projects, so it will be interesting to see how companies have progressed and what Bentley products and other types of technologies they are using. 

See for yourself! The presentations went live with live judging on October 5 and ends 16. And, don’t miss the awards ceremony on October 21 at 12:30 p.m. EDT. 

To see the full list of nominees, visit

Plus, if you want to learn more about Bentley’s products, you can catch thee ACCELERATE webinar series, featuring 190 sessions covering 32 Bentley brands, starting on October 27. 

To learn more about the conference or register, visit