Exclusive Interview with Mr. Kaushik Chakraborty, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Bentley Systems

Our next big push is to work and expand the digital integrator ecosystem: Kaushik Chakraborty, Bentley Systems.

Exclusive Interview with Mr. Kaushik Chakraborty, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Bentley Systems
Exclusive Interview with Mr. Kaushik Chakraborty, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Bentley Systems

Metro Rail News conducted an in-person interview with Mr. Kaushik Chakraborty, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Bentley Systems. In the interview, Mr. Chakraborty talked about Digital Twins and how it is helping to solve the problem of sustainable development of cities.
Here are the edited excerpts: –
Q.1. How is Digital Twins by Bentley Solutions helping to solve the problem of sustainable development of cities?
Ans – Technology is helping, whether it is just digital twins or any other technology. Digital twins are nothing new to manufacturing, starting from aerospace to manufacturing, companies have been using that for many years. The main reason is to optimize the planning, production, and maintenance. Take for e.g., every object in a car that one has
brought has a digital twin, which the manufacturer creates at a very early stage. So, what is going to be the behavior of that element in a car after when one has driven it for many kilometers is what digital twins do. Using the technology in a car for e.g., it can be told approximately what can be a probable failure after a certain number of kilometers. That is exactly what digital twins trying to do. The infrastructure industry today has enabled a
better RoI on infrastructure by better planning and better execution and the most important part in the evolution towards digital twins is the digitalization and the connectivity between the different parts of the process. So, traditionally design was done independently, or architecture was done, and some engineering analysis was done independently. Construction happened on the site by another company, and that company
went and reconstructed as they chose to do it. It was convenient and what was most optimal for the situation and then somebody else got that object, whether it was a train or a building or whatever, a road. What digital twin does is help connect all the mainstream
technologies and make sure it’s a continuous ecosystem with a feedback loop. So, it is a simple mathematical feedback loop that is introduced into the system. Today technologies like digital twins have things changed for us. People today can create good designs. They are maintaining it well; services are also available downstream which is helping towards sustainable development of the cities.
Q.2. When we talk about the metros specifically, how the system benefits all the stakeholders?
Ans – One of the biggest benefits of the metro is that metros run very long, they are planned assets for seventy-five years. So, one would need to know what is being built. Take the Nagpur metro, for example, the first metro in India which is very digital in its construction and planning. A lot of things have been introduced in its design cycles. The incorporation of technologies in design cycles leads to better construction and better construction leads to better operations. The metro officials also have updated all their data so that today they have a very good digital representation of what was built, why it was built, what decisions were taken, and why it was done. The same is with DMRC where they have focused a lot on more effective construction and more specifically lowering the cost of construction because they need to finish things on time as there is an increased demand for metros in Delhi and the public really wants it quickly. But they all have fixed budgets. So, how can we deliver things fast and on time if we have a fixed budget by being more effective at the same time. Hence, it can be said that technology is not a cost, it is an RoI because we are saving money which can then be used for other things. So, in summation, we can say that there is a big update. There is a good positive update and of course, much more can be done.
Q.3. What are the major efforts by Bentley towards carbon neutrality? Kindly state the work plan toward UN SDG goals. How do you think dependence on carbon fuels can be done as per UN standards in the coming years?
Ans – To be very specific a lot of things can be done. We personally can do a lot of things internally and then at the level of organization. Promoting the hybrid work-from-home, work-for-office kind of environment is one of the prominent steps where the push is to have offices that are smaller but are carbon neutral as it does not need frequent travel of employees. This is something we can do ourselves and then, of course, we are looking at various other options as to how we can reduce our own carbon footprint
by lower travel and various other initiatives like that. As an organization, what we do for our customers is always look at how they can design better materials, design more effectively and optimize designs so that they can work towards carbon neutrality.
Bentley also owns an organization called Seequent. It is a New Zealand-based company. Seequent does a lot of work in helping find renewable and geothermal sources of energy. Seequent is one of the most advanced geothermal engineering software companies in the
world. Seequent is continuously helping to look for better geothermal and green sources of energy. So, towards carbon neutrality what we think we are doing is
multi-faceted. Bentley is continuously striving towards SDG goals. One of the premier initiatives that Bentley has been doing for many years in India has been towards water
conservation where efforts have been made continuously to provide clean water to every home. The efforts need a mention because providing sustainable water solution to every Indian home need technology-based planning as the population is enormous. So, with a big population with limited resources and deliverables needed at a specific time you need to be more effective when you’re planning tasks like water conservation networks. Together, it’s
not just to optimize the network size but you also must optimize the pumping of
water from one source to tap. This is where Bentley comes in. Bentley for many years
has worked on the different method which has helped in implementing ethnological
modeling to map water conservation, supply, and other initiatives making sure that water reached places with the lowest cost. Pumping water costs, electricity is expensive, it’s not cheap. Pipes are not cheap, valves are expensive, pumps are expensive, and the whole maintenance is expensive, so the more the CAPEX cost of the infrastructure plus the running cost can be reduced the more effective it is considered. It provides more water to the end customers and accordingly it maps the various schemes of the government.
Transportation is the other SDG we support with metros and highways and
Q.4. In what ways ‘Digital Twin’ technology of Bentley Engineering
unique and different from other companies in a similar capacity? Kindly
 mention the benefits of the iTwin platform that you have launched recently.
Ans – The iTwin platform is our Digital Twin platform. To sum up in one word what makes us unique is that we have the vision to create a completely open platform. We are never going to be the single platform player in this world. So, for us, the most important is that our platform works with different kinds of all our competitor’s software products and all their data. So, our file formats are open-source formats, and a large part of our platform is also available to keep up as an open source. So, we want to encourage more and more people to play with it, to work with it, to use it. We have also recognized that in any infrastructure project, multiple vendor solutions will be used. Therefore, interoperability is very key for us in the foundation of our platform and it should be a platform that integrates with GIS, gets information from it, and of course integrate with components of engineering companies not just Bentley but others like Autodesk, Aviva, Graphic soft and industry format like IFC that can be read seamlessly. We believe in creating a platform where the user doesn’t need to do any file transformation. One can seamlessly work with data from our competitor integrated with ERP and IT and of course operations system. So, different SCADA systems or other operating systems integrate all the data so that we can provide you a visualization platform of a decision support platform with the iTwin platform, which allows you to work with you all the information you have here.
Q.5. More advanced technologies are being integrated to create shared visual worlds for an enhanced experience of physical and photorealism. What are the major challenges in such integration? In what ways these features can be more adaptive and user-friendly?
Ans – That is basically the whole concept of iTwin platform. To have an open platform that integrates data from all the sources, owners of projects, or asset operators who are using it. To make it simple we must understand that there is GIS, there is IT, there are technologies operations and an engineering world having the existence of Bentley and other competitor products that is being used. So, the whole concept of the iTWIN platform is to be that integration platform to connect all of this in a simple open form. For the complex system and integration to work cloud computing helps a lot. Cloud computing is what makes things adaptive and user-friendly. Users don’t need higher machines to perform complex tasks. They can work on simple android or apple to get things done. There are certain challenges like content adaptability to a vast number of users. In a world of changing technologies, this becomes a gruesome task sometimes. But as I said the biggest asset of technology is that it improves with time. Towards technology initiatives Bentley is spending a lot of time and energy trying to make things simple and more accessible via the cloud to as many people as possible.
Q.6. Infrastructural development is a continuous process. What are the major product innovations by Bentley Systems in recent years to introduce enhanced technologies in infrastructure engineering and development?
Ans – We have constant evolution every year at year-end infrastructure. We launch new products and throughout the year we keep announcing new products. Where we have focused a lot in the last few couples of years and we continue to focus is the different pillars of innovation that we have. We have new products which we build, and new industries which we are trying to address. Renewable energy for e.g., we didn’t focus much five years back. Today, renewables are big. Solar is not that complex and difficult, but wind power is challenging. Wind farms on the land are less complex. India is now going to build offshore wind farms. ONGC and NTPC are working for it which creates a whole engineering complexity because those structures must be embedded into the surface of the sea.
We have introduced a product called Occult Wind Power to help design, we have integrated geotechnical engineering from our acquisitions like Lexus and Seequent together with products like Shacks which are for offshore platforms and created something that works for the wind farms, the wind turbines and the windmills which must be erected on the seabed. We have seen a lot of success with that in Vietnam, China, and Korea on such projects where there are all picked up faster and that’s something that’s going to come to India. We have introduced a lot of products. We have focused a lot on the construction industry where we have made a local Indian acquisition. We want to do more, and we are constantly looking more at localizing our innovations and how we get more local content into our portfolio because it’s then relevant to the market. We also have a Bentley Innovation Fund, and that fund invests in small startups and innovative companies around the world.
Q.7. How are you scaling up your business in India? What are the major projects in the order book? Is there any significant development & initiative towards the ‘Make in India’ campaign?
Ans: Towards the ‘Make in India’ campaign we are doing local acquisitions. The acquisitions of Nadhi technologies in Chennai and a few other Indian groups are towards that effort. Nadhi Technologies is one of the most innovative companies in India in the construction software industry. Their products are being used across real estate, power, highways, and of course, the metro. Hopefully soon, even in the water treatment plant industry. So, to scale up our business in India we are looking for more local innovations. We also look for the industry to tell us about the good innovative companies who prefer to become part of the Bentley foundation and now when Bentley has been public for two years and as we progress and grow, we are taking the services of experts and hiring new manpower. We look for people with expertise in advanced technologies for roles and responsibilities. Therefore, we innovate, and we plan to acquire. We invest in innovation, and we create platforms where people can build solutions. Our next big push is to work and expand the digital integrator ecosystem. People shall use our platform to develop their own. We have signed up companies like WIPRO, and LNG technology services. We have become digital twin, iTWIN platform partners. They are looking on building solutions using Bentley’s platform for vertical markets. Our go-to-market is multi-prompt, so we want to get more solution-centric with partners and get IP vision support of which the platform becomes stronger.
Q.8. What would be your message to young talent and technocrats in India willing to join the industry?
Ans – My earnest appeal would be to become an engineer, study engineering, study IT and help India’s journey in the coming five or ten years in infrastructure engineering. This would be one of the most dynamic and bright spots globally. As I mentioned earlier India is forecast to become the world’s largest construction market. That means there’s so much opportunity. The national infrastructure pipeline is huge. Investments are being made across all sectors. From industrial corridors to highways, to metros, to airports, and to water every other possible sector there is a transformation going on which everyone can be part of. Therefore, it would be an exciting career path for engineers. It is also important that engineers should keep themselves up-scaling. The technocrats should enhance their skills with the usage of more advanced technologies. We should also promote women in engineering. It’s time to encourage women to power in engineering. Recognize their strength. It’s not only civil but all gambits of engineering where women talent can be of significant contribution. So, let’s unite and promote engineering. Additionally, what I think we shall soon witness an evolution would be an integrated engineering approach at the bachelor’s level which developed nations like the US already had for many years. An integrated approach doesn’t mean that we will not have mechanical, civil electrical, or other streams of engineering. But rather, these streams would be available in an integrated approach where several options would be available to learn more and prepare as per industry needs. Looking at things holistically we’ll find that civil, electrical, mechanical, and other streams of engineering have a lot of things that can co-exist. Stream-like earthquake engineering is a relatively newer concept in India and very few people opt for it. In recent years in India, there has been a very big push by the government for resilient infrastructure. We all know that the climate is changing. So, spending a stupendous amount on building things that will crumble, and fall is of no use. So, we need resilient infrastructure and for resilient infrastructure, we need more and more engineers, great engineers. We need to spend a lot more focus as a nation on studying the subsurface and doing geotechnical. So, geotechnical engineering is a very undervalued part of engineering studies in India today, given the whole infrastructure size and how many people focus on civil and mechanical and other general streams of engineering. India already has institutes like IITs and various other good universities offering the best courses in the world. So, more and more advanced courses can be added. Focus on green engineering and a lot many things which can be one.
Q.9. Any special message for our readers? We would like to know your views about Metro Rail News.
Ans – The future is bright. Things are improving. Infrastructure is built, especially metros being developed, and there would be some chaos. Roads would be dug; traffic would be congested and there would be other issues. But it would be for an interim period for a brighter scenario ahead. The Gati Shakti scheme launched recently is the first realization
that departments must be coordinated and there is a lot of focus from the prime minister’s office that coordination happens. Clearly, it’s not a static program but an initiative that would evolve and improve. Today different ministries will always talk about the concept of multi-modal connectivity with discussions on how to coordinate and work with others. So, we can expect inter-ministerial coordination to develop which is very important. It truly gives us hope that things will improve and become better with time.


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