Digital twin 5G tower solution combines sensor, drone, AI tech

March 29, 2021 // By Rich Pell
Digital twin 5G tower solution combines sensor, drone, AI tech
Software and sensor technology company Bentley Acceleration Initiatives has announced the availability of a digital twin solution for 5G telecom towers that provides 3D visualization, real-time decision support, and predictive design from the ground up.

The result of a digital co-venture between Bentley, sensor technology company Visual Intelligence, and aerial inspection engineering company Aeroprotechnik, the OpenTower iQ digital twin solution is designed to make it easy to modify existing towers and maintain accurate models by automating the repetitive work of producing as-built models and using artificial intelligence to detect critical components. Tower companies, says the company, can use OpenTower iQ to monitor the health of their towers and gain access to shared, secured data through an easy-to-understand portal.

Data analytics provide cost benefit analysis to boost operational efficiency and revenue assurance, while improved accuracy of tower inspections and smart inventory management saves time, cost, and improves safety. OpenTower iQ is designed to handle the large asset portfolios of operators, easily processing and analyzing tens of thousands of towers.

To accelerate the launch of OpenTower iQ, the company acquired digital twin technology from Aeroprotechnik, which specializes in automated asset data capture and digitalization solutions. The technology included artificial intelligence and reality modeling capabilities that provide detailed information on current site conditions, which helps tower companies speed up rollouts, enhance decision-making, and shorten sales cycles.

The company also partnered with Visual Intelligence whose patented dual-sensor drone technology digitalizes physical infrastructure with millimeter accuracy to reliably deliver 3D, engineering-grade asset intelligence. Visual Intelligence is able to map more measurable surface area than alternative aerial and ground-based methods. Its patented drone sensor technology has the unique ability to capture the components of a tower including bolts, wires, ladders, and other items with an extremely high degree of accuracy that was not previously possible.

Now, says the company, with a comprehensive millimeter accurate digital twin, a tower company can virtually inspect their tower, see if it has been constructed correctly, determine if the tower’s structural integrity is intact, and run co-location scenarios. Unlike rudimentary reality models produced from other cameras, Visual Intelligence enables a digital twin with such accuracy that it can support advanced analyses such as connection integrity analysis and mount mapping analysis.

"Bentley Acceleration Initiatives helped incubate OpenTower iQ by funding its development, seeking out technology partnerships to fill whitespaces, and creating a comprehensive go-to-market strategy," says Santanu Das, senior vice president, chief acceleration officer, Bentley Acceleration Initiatives. "Our next step is to invite additional interested ecosystem partners to kick start new digital integrator services to capture huge emerging opportunities for enterprise integration and implementation for towers."

"The telecom industry is going through a rapid transformation as multinetwork operators are expanding their portfolios through consolidation and moving from a 4G platform to 5G," says Das. "Without a doubt, digital twin solutions like OpenTower iQ, 'powered by iTwin,' will help tower owners make the most of the industry's burgeoning opportunities."

Bentley Acceleration Initiatives



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