How The Network Effect Benefits Infrastructure Development and Operations

The network effect makes new infrastructure technology more valuable with user adoption

Continued from the previous post Leveraging Digital Twins and the Network Effect: How Funding to Improve Technology Can Help Expand Your Ecosystem

By Cindy Ross, Product Marketing Manager, iTwin Platform

Build Your Ecosystem

It is not only outside examples and sources of new funding that can help provide confidence that new technology will provide ongoing, lasting value to infrastructure. A surprising factor shows how infrastructure development and operations can benefit from the same factor that gives many successful technology companies, from social media networks to technical solution innovators, much of their value. That factor is the network effect.

At its core, the network effect describes the incremental benefits a platform gains from new users, which results in the product becoming more valuable for all users. When Facebook first expanded beyond college students, for example, its value was relatively limited, as most users only knew a few people on it. As more joined, each individual could keep up with more friends and family members, becoming something millions of people use daily.

The network effect can also make new infrastructure design and operations technology more valuable as more people use it. Creating an infrastructure digital twin, a replica of an asset or a work site is an impressive feat. Yet, many companies were hesitant to use what seemed like new technology since they could not see the value. However, digital twins already proved their value back in 1960. When oxygen tanks on Apollo 13 exploded, NASA mission controllers matched the spacecraft’s conditions back on Earth and determined how to get the astronauts home.

The first infrastructure digital twin users found early success and set the path, showing how the replica could help them optimize design through improved visualization, plot out the construction process, or detect problems with operations. Subsequent users examined these first examples and found ways to improve on them. For example, more advanced use of sensors could not only detect a drop in water pressure but could also automatically determine the cause of the drop in a different part of the water system. As digital twin use grew and demonstrated new ways to enhance infrastructure, their perceived value grew, and in turn, any hesitation dropped away.

More in the next post about Leveraging Digital Twins and the Network Effect…

This article was republished with prior written permission from Bentley Systems.

(Source: Ross, Cindy Ross. “Leveraging Digital Twins and the Network Effect: How Funding to Improve Technology Can Help Expand Your Ecosystem.” Bentley Blog, Bentley Systems, 16 Dec. 2022,

© 2023 Bentley Systems, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

About Bentley

Bentley Systems (NASDAQ: BSY) is the infrastructure engineering software company. We provide innovative software to advance the world’s infrastructure — sustaining both the global economy and environment. Our industry-leading software solutions are used by professionals and organizations 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, mining, and industrial facilities. Our offerings include MicroStation-based applications for modeling and simulation, ProjectWise for project delivery, AssetWise for asset and network performance, Seequent’s leading geoprofessional software portfolio, and the iTwin platform for infrastructure digital twins. Bentley Systems employs more than 4,500 colleagues and generates annual revenues of approximately $1 billion in 186 countries.

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