Novel no more: Bentley’s digital twins webinar builds upon existing ecosystems

The digital twin has come a long way since its concept and model were first introduced in 2002: Then known as the conceptual model underlying product lifecycle management (PLM), the digital twin got its name in a 2010 Roadmap Report published by the USA’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and in 2017 was named one of Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends.

Co-organised by Bentley Systems and Water & Wastewater Asia magazine, the Water Digital Twins for Improved Decision-Making & Optimized Asset and Process Management webinar was held on 24 November.

The webinar was aimed at showcasing some of the latest advancements in digital twins, and how water management can achieve new levels of digitalisation and intelligent automation with the usage of digital twins.

Speakers at the webinar included:

  • Dr Richard Vestner, Senior Director Digital Solutions under the Digital Cities arm of Bentley Systems,
  • Wagner Oliveira de Carvalho, Senior Project Manager at AEGEA, Brazil, and
  • Miguel Soares, product consultant for Bentley’s water solutions, with a focus on the EMEA region.
Webinar speaker Dr Richard Vestner highlighted the importance of utilising an open and connected data environment to further advance the concept of digital twins

During the webinar, Vestner talked about how Information, Operational, and Engineering Technology (IT, OT and ET) could come together to curate a digital twin that could enable and drive real-time industry applications to assist in making better decisions, such as in mixed-reality applications, or for analysis and prediction purposes.

He also stressed the importance of utilising an open and connected data environment, and touched on how the water industry could advance to the concept of Water 4.0 through usage of the data loop and Industry 4.0 resources. In fact, he elaborated, it was of paramount importance to build upon the principles of connectedness and openness for digital twins. This applies to both applications and file systems used to sort data, as well as file formats and schemas utilised by plants and operators. Open source ecosystems, he concluded, are best for digital twins to allow for integration with other systems.

Other key topics addressed by the webinar speakers included tips on how organisations could optimise plant and network operations. Soares shared how Bentley’s OpenFlows WaterSight allows for the computation of present, historic, and forecasted performance for every asset within a water supply system; and more importantly, how digital twins could be configured using existing utility features.

During the webinar, speaker Miguel Soares shared how digital twins could be configured using existing utility feature

By combining SCADA, GIS, hydraulic modelling, and customer information into a single, interoperable dashboard, OpenFlows WaterSight delivers utility-wide view into the detection of critical system and individual asset performance information, and enables more efficient operations and maintenance planning decisions.

43.8% of attendees polled said that their
utilities were currently on the path towards
embracing digital twins

Previous case studies were cited as learning opportunities for webinar attendees, with Águas do Porto (AdP) used as an example of how utilities could work together with Bentley Systems to develop smart water platforms. Bentley’s OpenFlows applications were used as the basis of Águas do Porto’s H2PORTO smart water platform, which was then used to automatically model water levels and flow based on real-world conditions and weather forecasts to predict flooding, service interruptions, or water quality problems.

The webinar concluded on a positive note, with a poll revealing that 43.8% of attendees were currently on the path towards integrating digital twins more in their utility’s operations. Attendees were also presented with a Certificate of Accomplishment upon completing the session.

A recording for the Bentley Systems & WWA: Water Digital Twins for Improved Decision-Making & Optimized Asset and Process Management webinar can be viewed on-demand.

The webinar was moderated by Daniel Chua, Consultant to Water & Wastewater Asia, and Daniel Martens, Sales Consultant (South East Asia) for Bentley Systems Singapore. Martens may be contacted at