June 07, 2010
Bentley BE Conference 2010 Recap
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News
Bentley BE Conference 2010 Recap
By Susan Smith

This year, Bentley's BE User Conference was held in Philadelphia and was focused around the user community, so no press were invited.

Joe Croser, Bentley Global Marketing director, said approximately 1500 people attend the Philadelphia event over the three-day duration. Attendees came from 32 countries, and 27 different user groups were represented from those countries.

Highlights of the program included a new LIVE Zone format on the exhibit floor, an area where people could try out the technologies, the announcement of a new Learning Qualification Program, for improving skills, and the Structural Engineer for Plant Design Passport Subscription program, and try out the newest offerings in Bentley's software portfolio, including the V8i (SELECTseries 2) versions of MicroStation, ProjectWise, and Navigator. V8i (SELECTseries 2). According to the press release, Bentley's SELECTseries approach to software updates, new to V8i, facilitates such work process improvements without the disruption, cost, and risk of competitors' mandated upgrade policies.

LIVE Zones

For this year's venue, Bentley completely revamped the exhibit floor design. The new offering included seven LIVE Zones - where Bentley offerings were grouped together with sponsor offerings according to use cases, “based on how our users think not based on our product lines,” explained Croser.

The LIVE Zones can be described as follows -

Knowledge Resources LIVE Zone is where Bentley demonstrated their training subscription, and had the Bentley Bookstore and Bentley Institute Press books.

The CAD Management Zone, comprised of Axiom, HP, and Bentley's SELECT support team.

The Visualization Zone featured visualization technology and Luxology which provides the engine that embedded in MicroStation and other applications for near real time photorealistic rendering. HP featured their multi-core high performance desktop workstation and Planar demonstrated their special screens which are at a slightly odd angle in front of the computer monitor. It turns your computer monitor into a 3D monitor which enables you to do 3D stereo visualization where you push a button and out pops a 3D image. “You put on the 3D glasses and it looks like it's jumping out at you. With Planar it does that to everything on your screen,” said Croser.

Planar 3D turns your computer monitor into a 3D monitor which enables you to do 3D stereo visualization.

Planar makes it a really immersive environment for interacting with drawings and models.

The Modeling and Analysis Zone, featured Terrasolid and Pointools, whose Vortex engine Bentley licensed last October. Pointools' engine is a wholly embeddable engine to enable the user to view point cloud data inside MicroStation and other Bentley applications to provide real world just-in-time captured context for all the infrastructure projects that get built, “whether new projects being built on greenfield sites or whether its brownfield projects where you're adding something to an existing building or refitting refurbishing an existing building,” said Croser.

Pointools' engine is written so that even with up to billions of point clouds in a single file, users can manipulate the model in real time smoothly on screen.

The Collaboration Zone demonstrated ProjectWise collaboration with partners from Envista. Envista has a new product that could possibly go under the heading of “Call Before You Dig.” The new product addresses the issue that big cities have of utility companies putting all their underground services in the same place, so phone companies run their utilities in the same trench as the electric, where water companies have mains. By sharing trenches, all these companies currently work independently so different companies are always digging up the street. This has a real impact on traffic, noise, dirt, and quality of life and there's a cost every time the street is dug up. Envista showcased their new product which enables all these different utilities companies to post their projects and plans geospatially to a map on the web. The municipality and all the different utilities can see who's going to be where digging, and when, and work scheduling around a time they can all make good use of the open ground while it's dug.

“This is huge for municipalities because it means they are far more likely to get voted back in because they run a cheaper town or city and they keep traffic moving and quality of life better,” noted Croser. “It's great for utilities because it means their operational costs go down because they can get their work done faster and cheaper because they're not doing redundant digging and filling.”

The Intelligent Deliverable Zone featured the Bentley licensed Adapx technology from Anoto for their ProjectWise Dynamic Plot solution, a magic digital pen and paper solution which enables someone to plot a drawing from the computer, mark it up with a digital pen using real ink on real paper, then dock the pen. It then takes in all the markups and transforms them back into vectors and puts them back with the original design information in the computers, eliminating any risk or time associated with relying on somebody manually transferring markups back into the PC. Bluebeam Software was also featured in this Zone, with their PDF viewing and reviewing tools which now integrate with ProjectWise. Bluebeam demonstrated their ProjectWise integration allowing ProjectWise users to put into effect design review workflows in PDF and ProjectWise managed environment.

The Technology Futures Zone featured Microsoft as a premiere sponsor, where that company showcased SharePoint 2010 integration with ProjectWise. A Bentley deployed research team previewed some of the research and technology research they're working on which hopefully will culminate in a commercially available product at some point in the future.

Greg Bentley Keynote

Greg Bentley's Keynote describes the company's role of sustaining infrastructure, and some of its accomplishments in that arena. He talked about the decline in revenue in 2009 for top ENR firms as reported around 12 percent. Bentley said that the decline for Bentley was largely due to the exchange rates, but that they still experienced over 10 percent organic growth in that period.

CEO and President, Bentley Systems, Greg Bentley

Bentley also announced the availability of its May 2010 Annual Report.

This year's SmartGeometry Conference held in Barcelona was the “largest ever,” according to Bentley, attracting over 100 attendees to a city that boasts some very inspiring architecture.

Bentley has more than 300 software products serving every feasible infrastructure profession, and has new offerings in the V8i Series. New updates in the SELECTseries include (according to the press release):
  • assure compatibility with and across all V8i products and prior SELECTseries updates, easing software administration;
  • apply and leverage new horizontal technologies (such as SharePoint 2010 and touch screens) for infrastructure practitioners;
  • serve to mainstream once-specialist technologies (such as Luxology for rendering and Pointools for referencing point cloud datasets) for widespread adoption.

V8i (SELECTseries 2) takes advantage of new computing environments, by providing supported implementations for Windows 7 and SharePoint 2010, and is “Citrix Ready” for application virtualization. And, with V8i (SELECTseries 2), the platform now incorporates the Pointools Vortex engine for referencing point clouds, Luxology visualization enhancements, and RealDWG 2010 libraries for better interoperability.

For dynamic collaboration comes Bentley Navigator V8i, a direct competitor to Autodesk Navisworks. Navigator is for iterative project review and includes clash detection and resolution, controlling and managing construction simulation and schedule simulation. Interestingly, Navigator was used by Tocci in the project review process of the Autodesk AEC Headquarters in Waltham, Mass., which is a showcase for the use of Autodesk technology.

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