Bentley Acceleration Initiatives has announced the availability of OpenTower® iQ, a digital twin solution “powered by iTwin” for telecom towers that provides 3D visualisation, real-time decision support, and predictive design from the ground up. OpenTower iQ is the result of a digital co-venture between Bentley and Visual Intelligence, a Houston, Texas-based sensor technology company, and Aeroprotechnik, an aerial inspection engineering company based in Viseu, Portugal.
Bentley Acceleration Initiatives is Bentley Systems’ (Nasdaq: BSY) strategic investment fund and incubator initiative. Its objective is to bring together ecosystem partners in a digital co-ventures to accelerate the go-to-market of creative cloud solutions based on the Bentley iTwin platform. OpenTower iQ, ‘powered by iTwin,’ is a textbook example of co-venturing that combines innovative digital technologies from entrepreneurial companies to address a market need in double-quick time.
As the demand for data continues to grow, tower companies and engineering firms are looking for all-inclusive, engineering-grade solutions to co-locate, modify, and maintain telecom infrastructure for the 5G rollout. OpenTower iQ makes it easy to modify existing towers and maintain accurate models, automating the repetitive work of producing as-built models and using artificial intelligence to detect critical components.
Tower companies can use OpenTower iQ to monitor the health of their towers and gain access to shared, secured data through an easy-to-understand portal. Data analytics provide cost benefit analysis to boost operational efficiency and revenue assurance. Improved accuracy of tower inspections and smart inventory management saves time, cost, and improves safety. OpenTower iQ is designed to handle the large asset portfolios of operators, easily processing and analysing tens of thousands of towers.
Combines artificial intelligence and patented drone technologies
To accelerate the launch of OpenTower iQ, Bentley Acceleration Initiatives acquired digital twin technology from Aeroprotechnik, a leading aerial inspection engineering company that specialises in automated asset data capture and digitalisation solutions. The technology included artificial intelligence and reality modelling capabilities that provide detailed information on current site conditions, which helps tower companies speed up rollouts, enhance decision-making, and shorten sales cycles.
Bentley Acceleration Initiatives also partnered with Visual Intelligence whose patented dual-sensor drone technology digitalises physical infrastructure with millimetre accuracy to reliably deliver 3D, engineering-grade asset intelligence. Visual Intelligence is able to map more measurable surface area than alternative aerial and ground-based methods. Its patented drone sensor technology has the unique ability to capture the components of a tower including bolts, wires, ladders, and other items with an extremely high degree of accuracy that was not previously possible.
Now, with a comprehensive millimetre accurate digital twin, a tower company can virtually inspect their tower, see if it has been constructed correctly, determine if the tower’s structural integrity is intact, and run co-location scenarios. Unlike rudimentary reality models produced from other cameras, Visual Intelligence enables a digital twin with such accuracy that it can support advanced analyses such as connection integrity analysis and mount mapping analysis.
“The objective of Bentley Acceleration Initiatives is to incubate new businesses and augment existing ones using Bentley iTwin technologies. We provide a go-to-market accelerator to rapidly bring to users the innovative ideas from Bentley’s research and development in partnership with emerging industry leaders and technology specialists such as Visual Intelligence and Aeroprotechnik. Bentley Acceleration Initiatives helped incubate OpenTower iQ by funding its development, seeking out technology partnerships to fill whitespaces, and creating a comprehensive go-to-market strategy,” said Santanu Das, senior vice president, chief acceleration officer, Bentley Acceleration Initiatives. “Our next step is to invite additional interested ecosystem partners to kick start new digital integrator services to capture huge emerging opportunities for enterprise integration and implementation for towers. The telecom industry is going through a rapid transformation as multinetwork operators are expanding their portfolios through consolidation and moving from a 4G platform to 5G. Without a doubt, digital twin solutions like OpenTower iQ, ‘powered by iTwin,’ will help tower owners make the most of the industry’s burgeoning opportunities.”
“OpenTower iQ for tower planning and management is a game changer for the telecom market. Within a couple of days, we had a high-quality reality model available with the reports and other aspects of the projects. Now, all the tower data is available in digital form—and it’s accurate and current,” said Nikhil Jani, vice president, telecom and utilities, Genesys International.
“Until now, drone data has failed to live up to its promise to the tower industry. This is largely because survey-grade drone sensors can’t collect the fidelity of data required to extract engineering-grade tower intelligence. Our patented drone sensor technology is the first of its kind to collect millimetre-class tower information. We partnered with Bentley to utilise OpenTower iQ to translate this new fidelity of data into as-built digital twins, and then apply AI to automate and unlock new kinds of tower insights. With OpenTower iQ, we’re enabling new applications of drone data and accelerating the value of digital twins to tower companies worldwide,” said Ted Miller, founder and chairman of Visual Intelligence and former chairman and CEO of Crown Castle International (NYSE: CCI).
“Bentley Acceleration Initiatives proved to be an effective platform for ecosystem partners like Aeroprotechnik to scale up artificial intelligence-based solutions, transforming emerging technologies into real value for Bentley’s users,” said Nuno Marques, founder of Aeroprotechnik.