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YII2019: Bentley Joins as Multinational Member—Announces Support for IFC for Digital Twins

buildingSMART International’s IFC standard has gained a significant partner in Bentley Systems’ as it joins the consortium as a multinational member and announces new file format interoperability between its iModel standard for Digital Twins and the open industry IFC file format.

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Continuing with our news items from Bentley’s annual infrastructure conference, held this year in Singapore, we report on Bentley’s buildingSMART International announcement, a significant set of initiatives for both organizations and users alike.

IFC for Digital Twins—New iModel Bridge for IFC

buildingSMART International is delighted to welcome Bentley Systems to the community. Bentley Systems, Incorporated is the leading global provider of comprehensive software and digital twin cloud services for advancing the design, construction, and operations of infrastructure. Bentley Systems joins as a multinational member bringing a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the standards and solutions program.

At the same time, Bentley announced the availability of iModel Bridge for IFC, a generic IFC bridge that enables Bentley’s iModels to consume IFC geometry and business data. iModels are specialized containers for infrastructure information that are at the heart of Bentley’s digital twins strategy for infrastructure engineering. iTwin Services now enable iModels to export snapshots in IFC and treat IFC datasets as an input source, aligning their content for use by Bentley’s design applications. Earlier this year, Bentley announced the availability on GitHub of version 1.0 of iModel.js, an open source platform for digital twins (see imodeljs.org).

Bhupinder Singh, Bentley’s chief product officer, said: “Bentley is committed to supporting the best implementation of IFC for digital twins. We are committed to openness, and in fact we’re making plans to open source iModel Bridge for IFC. The combination of IFC support and open source principles should give the community confidence that they can create and curate digital twins without being boxed in by dark data.”

Richard Petrie, CEO, buildingSMART International said, “I am delighted that Bentley has joined buildingSMART International. As one of the major software vendors in our field, Bentley plays a critical role in our community. The vision Bentley has for iModels and open source offers the IFC community exciting new possibilities for open interoperable ways of working with digital twins.”

Architosh Analysis and Commentary

This news is the second significant advancement announcement concerning IFC in the recent past, the first being the ODA’s ambitious—but extremely doable—centralization of IFC SDKs for the entire communiuty. With the ODA taking over and delivering an extremely high-quality and dependable SDK for IFC implementation, the promises of the open-standard established by buildingSMART International (bSMI) can advance forward with more confidence and uniformity. Bentley’s news helps reinforce this interoperability standard further, bridging the world of IFC with the world of Bentley’s iModel technology for digital twins. With Bentley’s iTwins Services now exporting out IFC files as part of its iModel standard and the same services able to ingest IFC data sources, the IFC standard can more robustly interoperate inside infrastructure design-delivery pipelines. 

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