November 08, 2010
Be Inspired – Infrastructure Fever and Thought Leadership in Amsterdam
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News
Be Inspired – Infrastructure Fever and Thought Leadership in Amsterdam

By Susan Smith

Be Inspired, Bentley Systems’ awards event for its finalists and winners in various categories of infrastructure, is an inspiring event no matter where it is held. This year, however, the event was held in Amsterdam, at the Hotel Okura, the week of October 16-21. Sixty journalists were among the 400 or so invited to attend the Conference.

The way the Be Inspired Conference is set up is as follows: unlike the basic user event, this is a conference celebrating the achievements of the finalists for the Be Inspired Awards of the current year. A maximum of three finalists in each category were chosen and invited to present their project in breakout sessions called “Thought Leadership Presentations.”

All technologies at Bentley are designed to solve an infrastructure challenge, whether they are architectural, engineering, structural, plant and process, transportation or geospatial. The award finalists demonstrated how different Bentley products are integrated together to solve big infrastructure problems. And of course, not only Bentley tools are used: most projects involve a lot of legacy data in various software and file formats. Many finalists were also early adopters of Bentley technology.

Emphasized in categories such as “Connecting Project Teams” is how disparate data is pulled together into project management using Bentley products such as ProjectWise, Navigator, and AssetWise. Other categories such as Visualization show how a project can be illustrated so that stakeholders can better understand what the intended impact of a structure might be. The Building category demonstrates how Bentley tools are used to design and construct a particular type of building.

The contest was run a little differently this year: jurors attended the presentations in the categories they were judging, in order to see if any of their choices changed when they saw the presentations. The presentations then also counted in the final judging, unless of course, the winning finalists were unable to attend.

Water, Water Everywhere

For me, coming from New Mexico to a land that is literally under water is a novelty. The Netherlands is known for its infrastructure – the country has depended on windmills and dykes that keep land and sea separate for centuries. COO Malcolm Walter said in Tuesday's keynote that without infrastructure to pump water and keep it at bay, everything would be under water.

A past Dutch award winner was mentioned - the Float Over Vyborg project in North Korea. This year Dutch finalists included the $60 million expansion of the Vopak Tank Terminal Expansion, and sustainable site operation with SiteView infrastructure and asset management from Sitech Services.

Senior vice president, Bentley Software, Bhupinder Singh, talked about the challenge of improving and expanding global infrastructure. He spoke of Luxology tools now inside the MicroStation environment, with point clouds in MicroStation and Navigator as well as other products.

Model synchronization was a new term used. Singh noted that dynamic collaboration is synchronous, bidirectional and can be real time. IFCs and other standards don’t support how design changes over time the temporal process, he said. Some features of model synchronization include - federation, consensus model, and collaboration services.

i-models are being used to share information with others. I-model plugins are available for DWG Revit, PDMS and PDS. By the end of 2010, Singh said you will be able to view i-models on the web, and they will be integrated into ProjectWise. 

For construction, effective risk management is key for contractors, and workflows are typically fragmented and involve many people. i-models, ProjectWise and the movement to BIM will help.  I-models can be assembled in Navigator. ConstructSim can be used for  “workface” planning which Singh says is “the future.” It can do visualizations, and bring in data from various sources.

Bentley Infrastructure 500

In a press briefing on Wednesday (see at GISCafe Today) CEO Greg Bentley introduced the launch of the Bentley Infrastructure 500 – modeled after Fortune 500 – which would identify Bentley customers who are especially successful. Bentley said their business represents $13 trillion in revenue.

This determination is made based on reported net tangible fixed assets – “the balance sheet view of the infrastructure. “ 

Most top candidates are private companies, coming from geographically diverse locations - all over the world. 

Bentley went on to say that “flat” pretty much describes Bentley’s financial growth right now.

Revenues went down almost 10% in 2009. In 2010 to date, revenues have been reported to be “within sight of 2008 revenues. By the end of the year Bentley predicts their run rate will be back to what it was before 2009. “Maybe our organic growth is the new growth,” he said.

New Bentley Products

New Bentley products coming up:  

- The V8i portfolio extends through various disciplines and operations.

- OpenPlant Modeler extends breadth of applications offerings.

- Navigator v8i addresses information modeling in construction – constructors want to resolve conflicts with “dynamic collaboration”. New functionality in upcoming release will deliver bidirectional schedule synchronization with Microsoft Project or Primavera and introduces new markup templates.

- 3D cities requires the ability to relate information together in a BIM model.

- Civil Engineer for Geotechnical Analysis passport subscription – geotechnical professionals will get to pick from a variety of modules from a dashboard - cantilever wall, spread footing, slope stability, etc.

- ProjectWise v8i SelectSeries 3 introduces a Navigator web part to view i-models in a browser or SharePoint 2010 web parts.

- ProjectWise Dynamic Plot v8i SelectSeries 2 enables dynamic plots to be published from PDFs as well as from DGNS and DWGs.

-ConstructSIM will be integrated with ProjectWise Navigator in the next release.

- Bentley Substation v8i is a standalone application with deeper integration with ProjectWise to increase enterprise support for i-models. It also includes embedded point cloud capability.

- Bentley Pipe Renewal Planner


It was impossible to see all the presentations as there were two blocks running concurrently. I’ve picked out some here that were interesting. More infrastructure is being built outside the U.S. right now, which might account for the fact that most of the winners were from firms and countries outside the U.S., or U.S. companies working in other countries.

In the category “Innovation in Construction,” PT McDermott Indonesia faced unexpected costs and an extremely tight schedule on a high profile oil processing platform project.

Innovation in Structural Engineering winner Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort in Singapore is truly an exercise in integration with its multiple use structures – several separate projects - connected together.

AO2 Architecture Office
Zlin, Czech Republic
Winner "Innovation in Visualization"

The A02-Architecture Office in Zlin, Czech Republic takes the prize for “Innovation in Visualization” with its depiction of a renovation of two industrial buildings into a gallery, museum and library.

In “Innovation in Utilities,” two finalists (one being the winner) were from China, the other from Germany. The scope of those projects is indicative of the potential for future technologies, particularly in emerging economies such as China and other parts of Asia, where Greg Bentley said there is no recession.

In the category “Connecting Project Teams,” winner Crossrail Limited’s Malcolm Taylor talked about the integration of geospatial into the ambitious project of creating a new Crossrail system for the city of London.

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