For a moment I had my doubts, if Bentley was talking about a new format that would replace the dgnV8, then I thought that it was a kind of compressed format like kmz with Google Earth's kml. Many months ago I made a post, wanting to suppose that It meant the i of V8i, After the presentation made at the Symposium and although I am sure that this is more geofumado, I think I am understanding what it means (laughs) the i.
This is the I-model (digital twin), a bet to which Bentley is aspiring, which will possibly revolutionize the way of looking at its products and its dgn/dwg/dxf V8 format. Although what they showed us was only a brief, already in the V8i versions We started to experience what these friends are up to and what I-model (digital twin) means for Bentley.
Digital twin to Bentley
For Bentley, it's very simple, a fusion of the capabilities of Project Wise and Microstation, main products Which until now had served: one to manage documents, the other to operate spatial data.
With the I-model Bentley hopes to bring ProjectWise Navigator to a more civilized use, which until now has been considered a complicated medium accessory to implement in simple projects. It implies that the workflow would be charged to what Project Wise already does but under structured data management, following standards and integrating the Different tools Of geoengineering that Bentley has acquired and then rebuilt from XM.
While at the Microstation level, the dgn format would now integrate xml data from different specialties, structured in a similar way to what they did with xfm. Bentley View would be replaced by ProjectWise Navigator, we do not know if it would remain free and Microstation would acquire properties that ProjectWise lite had.
Digital Twin towards the Bentley user
The gain for the user is wide, as it would improve the ability to work together on the same data, forgetting the concept of files. To give an example, in a file type I-model, the cadastre technicians could empty their data with millimeter precision, while the GIS users would create topological layers to do spatial analysis, the road engineers would draw the subgrade of a new work and those of public services the extension of the network. Everything, with topological norms adjusted to the relevance according to specialty, it seems that they operate the same file that weighs 20% of what would be individual files, with rights per user and keeping a history of changes stored. Thus, the topological norm would make the same line the boundary of a property for cadastre, for urban planning a retaining wall, for public works a mitigation structure and for design a curtain wall; Simple check-in-out rights operation and change management accept-reject flags.
Then Geoweb Publisher lifts the file to publish on the Intranet or Internet, with an improved VPR that understands simple read criteria (WMS, WCS), redline evolved to controlled edition through (WFS-T). Doing what it has done, now respecting standards and associated with transactions with rights, digital signature and control Historical.
The smoke seems astral, but it is the concept of BIM applied to a workflow that happens every day in a real setting. Note, all this can already be done with Microstation and ProjectWise, but the data is external or there is little association at the xml level, what there is is a hyperlink similar to what the mslinks of Geographics; Hence, I associate this transformation with an implementation of the Xfm concept proposed in 2005, integrated into Bentley Map XM. If the V8 format is well conceptualized, and supports xml from that date, then we would not have a new format for V8i, just new versions of Bentley products would have the ability to read structured data according to their level of specialty. The versions prior to V8i would read the dgn without seeing the xml attributes as it is now to see with normal Microstation a file operated with Bentley Map.
Digital twin towards the user of other brands
Here seems to be the strongest challenge, the integration pilot with AutoDesk Revit, which allows data to operate from Bentley Architecture seems to be the guideline, and although it is my guess, Bentley may be aspiring to go further. Recall that something similar exists in Bentley Map to interact with ArcGIS mxd and lyr, with the difference that it requires an installed ESRI license; the fact that this now works with Revit without requiring a license makes us think that it is the result of Agreement between AutoDesk and Bentley, Since AutoDesk was the one who first promoted the concept BIM in Revit.
While V8i would be a working format for Microstation users, for outside users it would be a rich exchange format from which they can read data under accepted standards, not what a pdf or an exported file does. In the end, BIM beyond Architecture is reduced to interpreting geofumed figures in a virtual space as real life objects that they have always represented, as Txus says. It is also likely that Bentley is looking to make better use of its dxf / dwg formats, which have operated without transformation for several years, and which now through plugins would be read by AutoCAD with all its V8i attributes.
If this were the case, a Civil3D user would read a surface built with Inroads into a dwg-i-model (digital twin), while an AutoCAD user would only see the vector that served as the primary source, such as the point mesh. This is what users in general expect from different branches of human creativity called trademarks (including open source ones that are also commercial) and who hope that large firms consider the term interoperability as a global benefit and not a mutual embrace to close plus the circle.
In conclusion, I-model (digital twin) is the implementation of BIM, managed by ProjectWise, operated by Microstation and in harmony with other brands.