Focusing on the Indian government’s vision of the Gati Shakti Yojana, Bentley Systems collaborated with the Symbiosis Institute of Technology (SIT) to organize a four-day faculty development program from the 20 to 23 March in Pune, focusing on how digital twins are transforming the infrastructure sector and how technology is enabling civil engineering design. This workshop aimed to expose the country’s youth to the industry and help them become better civil engineering professionals, considering the government’s commitment and investments to rapid digitization and innovation in technology to the industry. The program sought to help foster a deeper understanding of why the government seeks to develop the country’s infrastructure, as well as the opportunities for future professionals to acquire specialized skills and engage with current industry challenges—bridging the skills gap between industry and academia.
The world and its infrastructure are facing many growing challenges, and digital twin technology will be a powerful tool for future engineers. Digital twins bring together and visualize data in ways that optimize decision-making and enable effective planning and action. The data in digital twins can include 3D design models, reality meshes (3D models of real-world locations), and Internet of Things (IoT) data.
The workshop brought together qualified, experienced professionals from the infrastructure sector, global digital twin experts from Bentley, eminent professors and researchers, civil engineering experts, the faculty of Symbiosis Institute of Technology, and many other educational institutes across the country. The objective was to provide valuable insights on emerging industry trends, the digital workflow for efficient engineering practices, and exposure to industry-level projects. It also promoted the adoption of engineering software while also expressing the importance of aligning educational curriculum with the industry’s ongoing standards and best practices with real-world scenarios.
Attendees of the program also received hands-on training of software and digital solutions used in the industry while showcasing applications that help design and build smart, resilient water and wastewater systems while also including digital solutions for mobility across roads, rails, and bridges. Speaker sessions helped attendees garner insights into the ongoing technological developments, aid in fostering a competitive teaching and learning environment in educational institutions, and create a talent pool of graduate students who will be ready to take on challenges.
Speaking about the collaboration, Kaushik Chakraborty, vice president of APAC, Bentley Systems, said, “Today, we are witnessing an ever-changing and fast-paced industry. There is a huge focus and investment planned for the infrastructure development of the country by the government of India. With the rapid progress in digitization to increase efficiency and adoption of the latest innovation in technology, India’s academic institutions and their curriculum need to be up to date with the industry standards to appropriately train our future generations and make them well-equipped individuals to mitigate the challenges. I hope that this workshop has rightly influenced the industry and academia, and that they take further steps to implement faster progress for our nation.”
Speaking about how we should focus on digitizing curriculum today, Sudipto Goswami, director of Bentley Education, said, “Digitizing means bringing innovation in curriculum, and this is very important to pave the way through the skill gap that exists in the industry today. Today, we are seeing an acute shortage of manpower, as there is a lack of skillset that industry graduates hold in them. An alignment of educational institutes and the industry—with constant upgradation of pedagogy—will ensure the right placement of students and make them qualified professionals. Everything around us is soon going to be digital, and this is an upcoming revolution. Infrastructure development is the foundation for the development of any country’s economy and prosperity, which helps in improving the quality of life of the citizens. Therefore, it is our responsibility to ensure the right curriculum for students and the civil engineering graduates of today for a better tomorrow.”
Ketan Kotecha, director of SIT, said, “It was indeed a pleasure to have Bentley conduct a workshop at the Symbiosis Institute of Technology. The four-day workshop profoundly enlightened students, faculty, and various professionals about the current industry standards and expectations, and further educated our knowledge to appropriately equip the youth with infrastructure and collaborative digital twin tools. Training the trainers is of high importance today, and students need to be given hands-on training in this field to face the competitive world, improve their skillset, and think beyond the classroom. Universities should not restrict their curriculum to the classroom but take up innovative pedagogies. We are very happy to be collaborating with Bentley Education since 2017, and we look forward to establishing a Digital iTwin Technology Lab at SIT by Bentley Education. In today’s era, industry and academia must go hand-in-hand and take a collaborative multidiscipline approach. We look forward to more such partnerships with Bentley and hope to provide the industry with the finest level of education.”
Below is a brief of the sessions that were covered at the event:
- Infrastructure Industry Trends and the Skills Gap
- About Symbiosis Institute of Technology – By Ketan Kotecha, Director, Dean of Faculty of Engineering, SIT
- Innovations in Teaching and Learning – By Sophia Gaikwad, Director, STLRC
- Keynote Lecture – By Rahul Patil, Vice President, iTwin Enablement, Bentley Systems
- Innovation in Curriculum with Digital Twin Technology – By Jurelionis Andrius, Professor, Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania
- The Roadmap to Digitalize Curriculum to Bridge the Skill Gap in Indian Infrastructure Industry – By Sudipto Goswami, Director, Bentley Education
- Importance of Digital Twin for the Future of Infrastructure Industry – By Ashwin Mahalingam, Professor, IIT-Madras
- BIM and Digital Twin in Academic Curriculum – Madhumathi Anbu, Professor and Director, School of Architecture and Planning, VIT
- Digital Twin: The Future of Infrastructure Industry and the iTwin Technology Stack
- Digital Twins in the Future of Infrastructure – “Why do we need to invest in the skills NOW? – By Iain Miskimmin, Advisor for National Digital Twin, U.K., Enterprise Success Advisor, and Author of Plain Language BIM
- iTwin Experience and Industry Perspective – By Sumit Deshpande, Senior Product Manager and Consultant, iTwin Enablement, Bentley Systems
- Digital Twin Implementation with iTwin Technology Stack – By Tamanud Das, Manager, iTwin Platform Developer Success, Bentley Systems
Below are few excerpts from the sessions at the event by industry experts:
While we speak about being multidiscipline in the industry, let me give you an example. I am a mechanical engineer who is, right now, talking to civil engineering professors, and also someone who has coded for the last 20 years. This is the beauty of being multidiscipline and that is the opportunity that engineers of today should capture and implement in the real world. We all need to converse and connect with each other across the niches, to crack great opportunities along the aisle. Infrastructure engineering is facing the typical challenges of climate change, aging infrastructure, and a rise in urbanization, which has extreme and serious consequences and is mainly driving the change for infrastructure. We should all be ready to respond to these challenges as infrastructure professionals and build resilient and sustainable designs to face the future. The rise of automation and robotics is a shaping trend, especially for the automation in surveying and construction industry. With regards to digital twins and iTwin models and their implementation by Bentley, we are taking the data from all places and aligning it together so that engineers can make better decisions. There is an ever-increasing demand to sustain the infrastructure today and do more with fewer resources. Digital tech will be the biggest driver of our future with the digital twin technology having a competitive advantage to give users a competitive edge. I look forward to enabling digital twins to have better artificial intelligence and machine learning models to reap better benefits.
When we see the various projects done in the sectors of infrastructure and commercial industries, there is a constant problem, [such as] the delay in projects due to time and cost [at] shocking levels. The main problem of the industry today is that the success rate of projects is 10% to 20%, whereas our error rate is 200%. The projects are delayed due to problems in drawings, the delayed time and cost, [and] material unavailability. Essentially, all of these are coordination-related issues. We are a very fragmented industry, and we need to coordinate in a better way. That is how BIM and digital twin technology will help build better performance by getting all the information and data on one platform for us to coordinate better. Coordination is the biggest bottleneck, and digital technology is the answer to resolve this issue.
Looking at the broader picture of the government’s strategy and focus in the transportation sector, smart city mission, and water networks, these sectors will be major growth drivers in India, which will create huge demand for skilled professionals to build, manage, and operate various facilities. Keeping this in mind, we need innovation in the curriculum of universities and various educational institutions now, as there is a skills gap that we see today for future professionals to mitigate the challenges. This can be solved by digital transformation and exposure to BIM and digital twin[s] in the curriculum.
Andrius Jurelionis, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Lithuania
Andruis Jurelionis presented a clear view on the centre for smart cities and infrastructure projects focusing on the digital twin lab, energy, e-modernization, and various research projects. He gave a brief on the KTU Smart Campus initiative for demonstrating a campus and city scale model to study the impact of the smart campus and digital twin environment. He discussed the approach in integrating civil engineering and architecture in the research projects and organizing the built environment digital twin Hackathon, explaining how the institute’s partnership with Bentley throughout the project delivery and development of the curriculum was a major achievement.
For the next generation of specialists like technologists, educators, and learners, the future is constantly changing through various scenarios. We, as educators and informers, need to step up to this and bring a change within the mindset of society. Digital twins and infrastructure have immense potential, and these are skills that we need to invest in and educate our upcoming professionals [about]. There is massive investment in infrastructure today on a global level to grow the economy and sustain our ecosystem. To tackle the potential skills gap in this industry, we should start [right] at the bottom and educate younger children of 14 [to] 16 years to implement this technology and talk about how our digital skills and processes will give us the right results to optimize our resources. That is how digital twin[s] can be commissioned in the future. If we do not emphasize the skills now, it will take another generation to build resilient infrastructures.
A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical entity or process. Data and its synchronization are crucial, and the digital twin is very close to what a physical entity is. The Bentley’s iTwin Platform enables every organization and enterprise to make these living and breathing digital twins. At this event, we are trying to explain to the faculty and students how the industry has adopted digital twins today to keep them updated about the real world and its uses. A lot of countries are driving this technology and are making its use mandatory to make sure that the costs of infrastructure can be controlled. Various engineering technologies, operations technologies, and information technologies collaborate for project delivery in organizations that include engineering and architecture, EPCs, and construction firms. Bentley is building a larger ecosystem of digital twins to drive the adoption of the iTwin Platform in the industry.
Bentley is one of the pioneers of digital twin technology. We have created an open-source format on our platform called the Bentley developers portal, which is available to anyone who wants to access it, along with the tutorial and technical materials, on which one can create their own application. Bentley has expertise in different verticals of the infrastructure [sector], where we know how to validate a design or track and visualize the changes in a design. The core technology is open source and readily available for everyone to use, but if a user additionally wants Bentley’s expertise, we are making it available to the platform. Engineers are accustomed to using windows software in silos. But now, we are unlocking an opportunity to bring all the software on one easy-to-use digital twin platform. Today, this application can easily be accessed even by a smartphone or tablet or Chromebook, which does not need a high configuration, but just a high-speed internet connection to leverage the iTwin Platform. This being a new technology, we see a mindset and skill gap and hence, we are taking the initiative to collaborate with more educational institutions to keep the academia and faculty updated with the real world. Moving to a cloud platform from the use of a desktop should be incorporated to minimize this skill gap in the industry today.
Madhumathi Anbu, Director, School of Architecture VIT, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
Madhumati Anbu shared about VIT’s digital twin curriculum and how they are creating specialized offerings, modules, and elective subjects for students. She also emphasized the need for innovation in curriculum aligned to the industry trends and best practices. Moving toward digital transformation, VIT is committed to learning iTwin solutions through research projects on 4D simulation, IoT, data collaboration and smart cities using the iTwin Platform, in partnership with Bentley Education.
Additionally, the below sessions were conducted at the event:
- A workshop for educators about water and sewer network solutions, which shared insights on how we can fill the huge demand for skilled resources considering the huge investments from government of India in Jal Jeevan Mission and Amrut.
- A workshop about how the mobility industry can digitize their workflow for roads, rails and bridges
- Existing Water Distribution and Waste – Water Management Systems: The Industry Connect – By Suparna Khan, Senior Content Manager, Bentley Education
- Existing Transportation Systems: The Industry Connect – By Suparna Khan, Senior Content Manager, Bentley Education