Smart City Expo World Congress 2022

The Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC) is the leading international event for smart cities, and it has been held every year in Barcelona since 2011. There was a break for a couple of years because of the pandemic, but the event returned in 2021 for its 10th anniversary. I had the opportunity to tune into the 2022 event, which was held in person in Barcelona in November and was also streamed online.

While creating a smart city involves a lot more than just technology — aspects such as policy, politics, governance, etc. are key — there is no doubt that technology solutions such as AI, IoT, digital twins, data analytics, etc.  can go a long way in enabling cities to function more efficiently. There are also many more aspects of a city that need to be “smartened” in addition to its infrastructure such as mobility, energy, utilities, safety, etc. While the SCEWC event was devoted to exploring several aspects of smart cities, there were a few sessions related to technology in infrastructure, the highlights of two of which are captured in this article.


Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2022: Customer Projects

In my first article on Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure (YII) 2022 event that was published last month, I provided an overview of the main technology updates shared by Bentley Systems. A key feature of this annual event are the customer presentations of infrastructure projects around the world that are deploying Bentley’s solutions in different ways. Collectively, they provide a concise snapshot every year of the strides that are being made world-wide in technology implementation in infrastructure.

This article provides an overview of some of the projects that were presented at the YII 2022 event. These include DPR’s use of SNYCHRO for prefabricated construction scheduling, the 3D city model of the City of Perry by Foth, Kokusai Kogyo’s work in Japan’s 3D city model project called Project PLATEAU, and ACCONIA’s use of digital construction in Melbourne’s level crossing removal project.


Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2022: Technology Updates

Bentley’s annual Year In Infrastructure (YII) conference is a great way to get updated on the latest technology developments of the company as well as the diverse range of projects all over the world that are being implemented with its solutions. Not only is the number of industries in which Bentley’s solutions are used growing, the number of countries in which they are being implemented is increasing as well. This makes the YII event more than just a showcase for one technology vendor — it’s also a good measure of the “pulse” of AEC technology implementation in infrastructure projects worldwide.

The YII event this year was held last month in London, and while I did not attend it in person, I was able to watch all of the event recordings online, including the technology updates from Bentley as well as the individual customer presentations of all the projects nominated for its “Going Digital” awards. AECbytes is covering this event in two parts, with this article capturing the key technology updates that were shared by Bentley, and a separate article on the project presentations that will be published soon.


Graphisoft Building Together 2022

A few weeks ago, Graphisoft held a virtual AEC industry summit, which brought together experts from around the world to share their knowledge and best practices on topics including sustainable architecture, digital workflows, immersive visualization, and empowering future architects and engineers. This article provides an overview of some of the sessions presented at the event by AEC firms around the world, including Enzyme in Hong Kong, Farkasvölgyi Architects in Brazil, Mostostal Warszawa in Poland, and TeCe Architects in Turkey, along with Powerhouse Company, Bond Bryan, and Pita. Together, they provided a fascinating window into how some of Graphisoft’s global customers are using BIM and other advanced technologies in their firms.


SimScale World Cities Day Event

Last week, the engineering simulation company, SimScale, held a one-day event specifically focused on the AEC industry, highlighting the importance of simulation technology in the design of projects ranging from individual buildings to entire cities. It was held to coincide with World Cities Day, which is held on October 31 every year to promote the global effort to create a more sustainable planet.

SimScale is an engineering simulation company that was started in 2013 and develops cloud-based high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics (CFD), finite element analysis and thermal simulations. It has, until now, been primarily focused on industrial and product design in industries such as aerospace, automotive design, electronics, and consumer products, which is why it has been, until now, relatively unknown in AEC. However, with the growing importance of sustainability in building and infrastructure design, SimScale is expanding the scope of its products and services to the AEC industry, not just with its own line of cloud simulation software but also by jointly developing sustainability tools with leading AEC firms like Thornton Tomasetti and KPF and partnering with technology firms like NVIDIA on its Omniverse offering.

SimScale’s World Cities Day Event provided the opportunity to learn more about these initiatives as well as the larger context of climate resilience from which they have emerged.


ODA Summit 2022

The Open Design Alliance (ODA) – the leading nonprofit organization focused on openness and interoperability in the CAD industry – returned with its annual Summit last week in which it provided an overview of the technology updates it has made since last year’s event. While the work of the ODA is not directly used by design professionals, it is licensed by the ODA’s member companies — the current count of which is over 1,200 – most of whom are commercial CAD and BIM software companies located around the world.

Similar to last year, this year’s Summit also included brief presentations from some of these member companies including Safe Software, 3D Repo, and Graebert, demonstrating how they have implemented ODA technologies in their products. This article captures the highlights of the 2022 ODA Summit that are relevant to the AEC industry.


Construction Progress Tracking with HoloBuilder

This article provides an overview of HoloBuilder, which uses 360° photos to track construction progress guided by a mobile app on the jobsite, and provides a cloud platform for hosting, organizing, and sharing the captured images. It also integrates with several popular AEC applications such as Autodesk BIM 360, Revit, Navisworks, and Procore, allowing it to fit more seamlessly into existing AEC workflows. Additionally, it integrates with collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams, making it easier for the construction progress tracking to be shared with other team members and project stakeholders without requiring them to travel to the construction site.


Graphisoft 2022 Product Launch

Last week, Graphisoft had the annual launch of its product family, which was a special one this year as it was its 40th anniversary as a company. While the launch event was streamed virtually, I also had the opportunity to attend it in person in Budapest with a group of other media professionals and talk to Graphisoft’s executive team to better understand the company’s current focus and future vision.

An overview of the key product updates that were shared, as well as a future roadmap, are captured in this article.


Digital Urban European Twins: The DUET Project

A few months ago, I wrote about the SmartBRIDGE Hamburg project as an example of an actual digital twin in action, one of the few in which the emerging digital twin technology has actually been implemented. As the technology is further developed, we are likely to continue seeing more implementations, both for individual buildings and infrastructure assets, as well as for neighborhoods, regions, and cities. For the larger-scale implementations, the vision is similar to what I had described in my article on “City Information Modeling” six years ago — designing and operating cities more intelligently, efficiently, and effectively, with the ability to simulate various aspects such as traffic, congestion, energy, impact of natural disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes, flood control, etc. (It is worth noting that that digital twin technology hadn’t even been invented at that time!)

Since the emergence of the technology and its potential application in the AEC industry (see the paper, “Digital Twins in AEC,”) we have seen some traction on the application of digital twins at the urban-design level, including IES Intelligent Communities Lifecycle (ICL), which is being developed as a digital twin for the sustainable design of communities; Bentley’s Digital Cities initiative built on its iTwin platform; and Cityzenith’s Smart World platform, which started out as an CIM (City Information Modeling) application, but is now labelled as a “Urban Digital Twin Technology” application.

This article describes another promising initiative in the application of digital twin technology at the city level: the DUET project.


Qatar Foundation Stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup: FineHVAC Case Study

This article describes how the BIM application for HVAC, FineHVAC, was used by the firm, GKA Engineers, for the design of the HVAC network installations in the Qatar Foundation Stadium, a host venue for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup™ and one of the principal sports complexes in Qatar.

“The program’s ability to handle a wide range of projects of different types and scales is a big plus, but even more important is the flexibility it provides to the user in the smart ΒΙΜ modeling of any HVAC project, which is critical for the automatic generation of the final case study drawings and calculation reports. Equally important is the accuracy in calculations provided by FineHVAC that follow current international standards such as Ashrae, EN, BS and others. In contrast, most other BIM solutions for HVAC and MEP design simply focus on the creation of drawings and tend to rely on third-party applications for the piping, sizing, and proper selection of the equipment.”