DCU, Insight, Bentley Systems to create Ireland’s first ever campus digital twin

Image: DCU

Research partnership will incorporate real-time data, gathered from IoT sensors on footfall, congestion points, energy and water usage



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10 June 2021 | 0

Dublin City University and the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at DCU have joined forces with global software engineering firm Bentley Systems to build Ireland’s first higher education digital campus. 

The collaboration will involve the creation of a digital twin, which will be a complete 3D version of DCU’s campuses and a part of the Smart DCU Project. 

The research partnership will incorporate real-time data, gathered from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors on footfall, congestion points, energy and water usage and other important data that can inform planning and infrastructural development. In addition, the information gathered will also help to inform and enhance the student experience at DCU.




Digital twins are an exciting new concept that brings together multidisciplinary teams to enable users to visualise the infrastructure, track changes and make changes to improve performance. The project will leverage the considerable expertise of the Insight Centre at DCU to generate valuable insights that have never been seen before.

Phase one of the partnership will involve the creation of a digital twin of the Glasnevin campus.

Speaking about the announcement, president of DCU Professor Daire Keogh said: “This collaboration is an excellent example of the transformative potential of the digital research being conducted at DCU, and Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics. 

As part of the Smart DCU initiative, the digital twin model will help us to advance our vision for creating more sustainable and people-centred campuses. Ultimately, this innovation will improve the DCU student experience and enhance the workplace for university staff.”

This new collaboration reflects DCU’s commitment as a member of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU), a project working to create a new educational model on a European scale. It brings together learners, teachers and researchers who collaborate and work with cities and businesses on addressing and solving real-world challenges. 

“Digital twins are an essential technology to enable us to harness the power of the increasing global trend of digitalisatiom,” said Prof Noel O’Connor, CEO Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics. “As we move to a world of ubiquitous sensing and a consequent blending of the physical and digital worlds, research into new ways of gathering and interpreting data is crucial so that our technology can empower better decision making. Working with partners like Bentley and Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) in Lithuania, this Smart DCU ‘test bed’ presents an unparalleled opportunity for innovation.”

Bentley Systems is the infrastructure engineering software company, providing innovative software to advance the world’s infrastructure, sustaining both the global economy and environment. Its software solutions are used by professionals and organisations of every size for the design, construction, and operations of roads and bridges, rail and transit, water and wastewater, public works and utilities, buildings and campuses, and industrial facilities. 

Phil Christensen, vice president, business development, Digital Cities, Bentley Systems, said:“We’re excited to see innovative organizations like DCU enthusiastically apply digital twins to the planning and operations of campuses. Their development and use of a campus digital twin using Bentley technologies such as OpenCities will provide them with invaluable insights to help them better understand the real-time performance of their campus to make better-informed decisions.”

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