"With increased expectations on infrastructure projects, engineering firms need to deliver higher performing designs"

Simon Huffeteau, VP, construction, cities and territories (CC&T) and Prasad Pandit, worldwide industry process leader, CC&T, Dassault Systemes, explain the technologies that can help build cities

Simon Huffeteau, Prasad Pandit, Dassault Systemes, Smart cities, 3DEXPERIENCE, Rennes Métropole, Guangzhou, Aatmanirbhar Bharat, Singapore, Virtual Singapore, National Research Foundation

What are some of the unique solutions that Dassault Systèmes has for smart cities, and building infrastructure?
Dassault Systemes caters to three important sub segments under the Construction, Cities and Territories industry namely buidlings and construction, infrastructure including roads, railways, bridges, tunnels, solar and hydro projects and thirdly in city and town planning be it greenfield or brownfield projects. We provide these sub industry specific Industry Solution Experiences based on the 3DXPERIENCE platform. These are Inclusive Urban Future, Civil Infrastructure Engineering, Integrated Build Environment, Creative Building Design, Design for Fabrication. However these solutions are built to solve challenges in each of the sub-segments and address technology trends in them.

If we look at the building and construction segments modular construction has been a standard practice which is similar to manufacturing industry, providing highest level of detailing. Modern tools and the digitization of knowledge are revolutionizing how we construct the built environment. Infrastructure designers, engineers, and construction teams are achieving unprecedented levels of precision and control through 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Producing LOD 500 is a mythical since this is as-built detailing. Details between LOD300-500 is quite a large gap and can help increase productivity the way it is helping manufacturing sector.

Prasad Pandit.

High LOD details reduce unnecessary RFIs on site which make site engineers run for details and delay projects. The LOD400+ models help build virtual twin of the entire project and easy to simulate on a platform which can hold full size of project and details of all complexities in 3D model. Managing entire projects lifecycle along with apps on 3DEXPERIENCE platform is very unique system this industry is asking for where file based applciations are limiting factors.

With increased expectations on infrastructure projects, engineering firms need to deliver higher performing designs with lower lifecycle costs. Meanwhile stakeholder ecosystems and projects are increasing in complexity and scale. Through component based design and design automation for linear infrastructure design, offerings by Dassault Systemes, large-scale changes can be handled with ease.

The design and engineering processes for construction requires close collaboration among multiple participants across all project phases. Increasing complexities in construction projects require a common understanding and visualization between all stake holders. A model based communication and design language facilitate collaboration and reduce rework between phases. 3DEXPERIENCE platform allows architects and engineers to build beyond the limits of traditional project delivery methods by delivering a range of 3D modeling solutions and virtual twin experience that spans across design for end-to-end project lifecycle management. This brings complete digital continuity for diverse project teams on the maintenance based 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Platform also allows integration between multiple CAD applications with latest IFC exchange format for design, engineering and purchase. Later the 3D model can easily be used for 4D time simulations and 5D Cost analysis along with equipment and resource management.

In case of city projects and townships, the ultimate goal of any smart city is to function in an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable way. Having an intelligent and virtual 3D model of a city helps improve the experience of residents, business and government. Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform creates a dynamic virtual twin experience of a city. This digital model shows how a city can develop and evolve by collecting real-time data with smart information and communication technology. All information can be accessed and evaluated by involved internal and external stakeholders of the city, which enables them to quickly respond to urban challenges. Having a simulation of city facilitates collaborative management, boosts efficiency and improves quality of city life. Hong Kong, Rennes Métropole and Singapore city planning offices have integrated Dassault Systèmes’ solutions for their Samrt City inititives.

Can Virtual Twin be customised to suit the Indian clime?
As the economy and the market unlocks in a phased manner, it will be crucial to fast-track the infrastructure projects. However, there will be challenges, which can’t be addressed through traditional or old school methods of design, planning and collaboration. Driven by innovation and rapidly-evolving technology, cities, infrastructure, buildings and construction sectors must be predictive to become future-ready, and have the ability to simulate and analyse for better planning and execution. To create such scenarios, every physical model or a concept should have a virtual twin in the digital world so that all complexities can be simulated and tested under various scenarios on the virtual twin before implementing them in the real world.

In a country like India, with thick population density and cities with thousand years of history and civilization the task of creating a virtual twin experience is complex. However creating a collaborative environment of analyzing existing GIS data and mapping them on 3D environment will help in creating a visual tool for town planners to take better decision while designing in context with city envornment cohesively. This helps drive greenfield and brownfield projects effectively keeping future needs in mind for city development. This model has been replicated in Jaipur and also in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Much technology is spoken about when planning infrastructure in India. But things continue to remain dismal. How can this be made to change?
The infrastructure sector in India is massive and fragmented. In the recent years, the awareness and willingness to use advanced design and engineering technology has increased significantly. This trend is driven by the Government of India’s vision to transform the urban landscape of the country and the goals of the Smart City mission.

Moving from complex, largely unplanned urban infrastructural patterns of the present to connected Smart Cities is a significant leap forward. Governments, agencies, operators, and construction enterprises must be able to understand current scenarios, visualize “to be achieved” conditions, and find a meeting ground between the two. 3D visualization technology lets these stakeholders test ‘what if’ scenarios, and plan the ideal roadmap for projects. 

In the aftermath of COVID-19, we can expect the urban planners, designers, engineers, architects and developers to explore technologies that can help them include elements of epidemiology and demographic science in urban design and architecture. New types of project will emerge to ensure better air quality and resilience for city communities, possibly including other factors such as support for biodiversity. Using a Virtual Twin to model elements like the airflow around a building’s ventilation system, the flow of pollution outside its proposed location, and the impact of various materials on the surrounding environment will be a key enabler in this evolution.

Dassault Systemes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform, supports complex decision-making using the Virtual Twin as a single source of truth for the city’s data. It can be used for domain-specific challenges like providing mobility services, managing waste or optimizing urban development, and for dedicated projects such as planning and developing a new hospital or transport hub.

How can adopting Virtual Twin help future planners - say five decades down the line?
There are a lot of ongoing and upcoming projects in India, such as highways, roads to tunnels that can benefit a lot by using Virtual Twins. These projects can be delivered on time with better designs, less resource utilization and cost. Virtual Twins are the requirement today in long term maintenance and lifecycle management of the infrastructure and cities.

In the future, we will see cities analyzing some of the best practices developed by mature organizations in sectors such as utilities and applying that knowledge to their own planning. Utilities providers and other essential organizations have planned their response to emergency situations by creating models of the decision-making process and any external factors that might impact it. By analyzing those elements, they gain a scientific understanding of how the chain of command can be maintained in any situation. This approach fits well for cities because decision making for a city is a complex system in itself, and it needs to keep functioning no matter what crisis occurs.

Overseas, how does Dassault Systèmes work with the government with Virtual Twin?
Dassault Systèmes collaborated with the National Research Foundation (NRF), Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore, to develop Virtual Singapore, a realistic and integrated three-dimensional (3D) model with semantics and attributes in the virtual space.  Advanced information and modelling technology allowed Virtual Singapore to be infused with static and dynamic city data and information. Virtual Singapore is a collaborative platform with a rich data environment and visualization techniques that is being used by Singapore’s citizens, businesses, government and research community to develop tools and services that address emerging and complex challenges Singapore faces.

In Australia, there are large number of joint ventures and consortiums where different companies are working on the same infrastructure project using Virtual Twins powered by Dassault Systemes 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The advantage of having a Virtual Twin Experience where these companies can collaborate and access the same single source of master data remotely.

In France,  Dassault Systemes is helping Rennes Métropole in the context of our Virtual Rennes project. They can track common projects supported by Virtual Rennes to perform their daily activities with minimum impact from COVID-19. Half of the users on Virtual Rennes’ collaboration platform are from the network of organizations and external stakeholders it regularly works with. All of them can collaborate as needed around its virtual twin and more users can be added as the needs evolve.

When we work with cities such as Guangzhou, we do not work with a given municipality. The decision of creating a virtual twin is something which is taken at the scale of a region. And of course, then it's executed and can be developed at municipalities and department levels.

In India, the current government has introduced initiatives such as Atmanirbhar Bharat which promotes self reliancy within the country across sectors. Our solutions are aligned to enable this journey of consultants, architects, construction companies to large infrastructure players and eventually city and town planners.

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Sept 2020
01 Sep 2020