Construction data can quickly scale into gigabytes and terabytes of data. The field is complicated because teams use various file formats to design, construct and operate a building or facility. Teams must often load the whole file into proprietary rendering tools before showing off a new design or collaborating on schedules. These files can be even more complex when building out large-scale digital twins of whole cities like Helsinki or Singapore. Bentley Systems hopes to change that. At a technology demonstration event in London, Bentley showed off a new 3D streaming codec for the infrastructure metaverse called 3DFT. It’s already running on the Epic Unreal Engine, and Bentley plans to support other platforms down the road.
3DFT is not the first format for streaming metaverse data. The GIS industry has been streaming 2D data for years using tiles. And the Open Geospatial Consortium has been working on the 3D Tiles standard to extend streaming into the third dimension. Greg Demchak, senior director of Bentley’s digital innovation lab, told VentureBeat that 3D Tiles is an excellent standard for rendering large outdoor environments. However, it struggles with rendering physical infrastructure such as BIM models at high quality. This is important for building designers who are evaluating trade-offs in design choices.