Spatial Data AI created an export tool that outputs digital twin models of powerline assets for immediate use in SPIDAcalc, accelerating analysis of electrical infrastructures. Source: Spatial Data AI.

Bentley supports IoT for infrastructure startups

June 29, 2023

Bentley Systems Inc. launched June 1 its 20-week, co-development program, iTwin Activate, which is designed to accelerate early-stage startups in infrastructure engineering software. The program is organized in cohorts aligned to industry sectors, and managed by Bentley iTwin Ventures, which is a $100 million corporate venture capital fund that fosters innovation by co-investing in startups and emerging companies.

“Our first cohort was a small, invitation-only group of four startups focused on the electric grid industry. We were excited to see the innovative solutions that the startups built incorporating our technology,” says Tom Kurke, VP of iTwin Ventures at Bentley. “The projects serve as powerful examples of new capabilities that arise from these collaborations, and in some cases, we’re already seeing our shared users benefit from these new tools and the efficiencies they unlock.”

iTwin Activate supports startups in scoping and building industry-relevant solutions by leveraging or interoperating with Bentley technology through program and co-development funding, solutions architecture support, and access to Bentley executives for commercial insights. For example,

iTwin Activate's first cohort is about grid technologies, and it supported four startups, including Spatial Data AI, Virtual Technology Simplified (VTS), Rebase Energy and SurPlus Maps.

Spatial Data AI automates the processing of LiDAR data from point clouds into ready-to-use vector formats, including SPIDAcalc models and various other CAD formats. Its project focused on building a connector to Bentley’s pole analysis solution (SPIDAcalc).

“Participating in the iTwin Activate program supported the automated development of a design-centric digital twin for electrical distribution and telecommunications companies,” says Doug Culbert, founder of Spatial Data AI. “The outcome of this initiative advanced our technical solution and expanded our service offerings in these markets. Spatial Data would like to thank the Bentley team for this accelerator program, and we’re excited to continue codeveloping products and services, enabling digital transformations across the infrastructure sector.”

Likewise, VTS enables tablet and phone data capture of utility assets, so it developed a data-mobility and visualization solution using the iTwin platform. VTS integrated its reality-captured data into an iTwin Viewer enabled application, OpenTower iQ, to allow users to take manual measurements of assets and export PDF reports of those measurements. A video of its project is here.

“For VTS, two things jumped out. One was VTS development team having access to Bentley SMEs, who could help us identify problems and collaborate with us to find solutions to any technical issues that came up throughout the project,” says John Chwalibog, founder and CEO of VTS. “Second was the team of people that came together over the course of the cohort. They addressed the challenges all startups face when going from startup to funded company. We highly recommend the program to other startups in the geospatial community as the experience was extremely positive for the entire VTS team.”

Cory Baldwin, VP of Infrastructure IoT (IIoT) adds that iTwin Activate’s second cohort will focus on solutions for IIoT use cases and is open to all interested parties. “We’re excited to work with startups in the IoT space. and build technology and partnerships together to solve the needs of the infrastructure sector. We’re particularly interested in working with teams focused on creating predictive analytics or deriving insights from the sensor data federated in the iTwin platform, as well as those creating novel sensors or sensing technologies that can be brought into our digital twin ecosystem as part of a software-led motion.”

iTwin Activate’s third cohort will focus on generative artificial intelligence for infrastructure use cases. It will be announced in summer 2023. For more information visit Teams building IIoT solutions that want to be considered for participation in future iTwin Activate cohorts can apply there as well.

About the Author

Jim Montague | Executive Editor

Jim Montague is executive editor of Control.