November 14, 2011
Be Inspired 2011 AEC Report
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

Be Inspired 2011 AEC Report

By Susan Smith



Finalists from 42 countries were in attendance at this year’s Be Inspired Leadership Conference in Amsterdam, according to CEO Greg Bentley.

The way the Be Inspired Conference is set up is as follows: unlike the basic user conference, 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 are chosen and invited to present their project in breakout sessions called “Thought Leadership Presentations.” On the last evening of the event, awards are given at a dinner awards ceremony.


CEO Greg Bentley, Bentley Systems


Press Conference

Before viewing the finalists’ presentations, members of the press are treated to a press conferences and keynote presentations.

Notable is the fact that Bentley achieved its initial public rating and has regained revenue momentum after the downturn. CEO Greg Bentley said that Autodesk is ahead of Bentley but not out of reach, and that since the downturn, Bentley has regained revenue faster than Autodesk.

Bentley also pointed out that they have a collaborative relationship with Autodesk, shipping in every Bentley product are libraries to read and write their formats. ProjectWise collaboration systems equally support Autodesk products, and there is an i-model plug in for Autodesk products, as well as the fact that Autodesk includes capability to read/write Bentley products as well.

In spite of the obvious advantage of Autodesk the competitor, Bentley claims his company leads the world in software for road and rail, generative design, construction simulation, 3D City GIS, infrastructure asset operations and maintenance.

The 2011 Bentley Infrastructure 500, an elite status added last year, now represent $14.1 trillion value in infrastructure. Bentley has 48 partners now worldwide.



Looking at a “Utilization index,” the industry areas building and plant took the biggest hit but have come back, according to Bentley. The Americas dipped in revenue in 2011 but are coming out of it. Europe, the Middle East and Africa also are doing okay. Asia never had much downturn.

Bentley made a number of pretty exciting announcements including the following:
  1. The announcement that Bentley’s i-models which are containers for open infrastructure information exchange will now be able to deliver AECO information mobility in PDF workflows – this accomplished via agreements with Adobe Systems and Bluebeam Software.
  2. Bentley acquired Pointools Ltd. in order to integrate point cloud processing into its entire product portfolio. Bentley plans to merge their code streams with those of Pointools to create a new fundamental data type. Up until now, Bentley has embedded the Pointools Vortex engine into MicroStation, but now they plan to incorporate point cloud processing in ProjectWise and AssetWise platforms.
  3. Bentley acquired FormSys to expand their SACS offerings which extends their influence in the offshore market to the design and analysis of floating structures. SACS is an integrated finite element structural analysis suite of programs.
  4. Bentley made available commercially their new AECOsim Energy Simulator software and in early Q1 2012 the new AECOsim Building Designer Software will be available. An area addressed by the AECOsim suite of products is engineering performance. “We have a lot of LEED certified buildings but do not get engineering performance,” said Singh. With AECOsim this unmet need to be able to work together and simulate behavior and deliver improvement can be addressed. AECOsim Energy Simulator is immediately available and incorporates specifications as well as EnergyPlus engine. It can predict performance that the building can actually deliver based on actual building systems specifications.
  5. A relationship with Microsoft for the Microsoft Azure Platform partner program will make it possible for Bentley to bring a range of Azure-based cloud services to AECO worldwide. One of the key offerings on Azure will be Bentley Transmittal Services, which will allow the tracking and delivery of transmittals through a dashboard portal.
  6. Structural Synchronizer for iPad Workflow for the iPad available at iTunes for free at the end of the month – users can export out a very intelligent model to the iPad and see all bracing, beams, concrete and click on the model to pull in more information. Anything that might be needed in an AEC setting onsite such as section type, placement point, even complex elements- turn on layers can be viewed on the new app. The Structural Synchronizer View iWare app is meant to enhance mobility for the users of Integrated Structural Modeling ISM technology. Users of this new app will be able to interact with structural models anywhere on the iPad and IPhone and it is free. IWare is provided through plug ins and apps including the Structural Syncrhonizer and Structural Dashboard as well as Structural Synchronizer View.
  7. More Apps for the iPad
    ProjectWise Explorer and Bentley Navigator are two new apps for the iPad and iPhone.  All metadata in ProjectWise was available for search, and now you can download packages in connected and disconnected modes, “all you need is a ProjectWise passport.” This is all made possible with the server. Bentley Navigator for the iPad allows you to view, navigate, query and markup models. The iWare website is for free apps on the Windows operating system.

Bhupinder Singh, senior vice president, said that MicroStation Descartes V8i allows you to use point clouds in workflows, do draping and snapping, and it is easy to take point cloud data and create road profiles or transmission lines. Point clouds can be tagged with metadata, and Descartes can reclassify them and correct them. For retrofitting you can isolate, then remove and combine vector based data.

A new “killer app” service offered in ProjectWise is ProjectWise Data Transfer that helps with transferring big data. Point clouds are data intensive and you can stream just the bits that are being viewed while not sacrificing any performance. This makes point clouds accessible and usable in every day workflows.

Delivered with the latest version of AssetWise is the ability to extract i-models and deliver them into AssetWise. This connection service allows you to add asset management, and do complete configuration management. AssetWise was introduced last year, and is being applauded for its abilities to address management for many different industries from many perspectives.

The 3D Physical World

Greg Bentley said that “The real world is a 3D physical world.” He brought up the equation of “GIS mapping + geospatial modeling + semantic simulation”. Semantic is the study of meaning. This must has some connection with the semantic web-- a manmade woven web of data that allows machines to understand the meaning of information on the web. Applying this to 3D cities, Bentley suggests the semantic city.

“The semantic city could be semantically connected together and would emphasize components and models and understand people’s behaviors,” said Bentley. “IBM would call it a smart city, if we would visualize it this way then there are networks in a semantic city.”

Montreal is an example of a semantic city model which is maintained in Oracle Spatial 3D.

Also brought into the discussion was Microsoft Kinect, a motion sensing input device that allows controls using gestures and spoken commands. 

Information mobility offers opportunities to make a 3D model a semantic model and there is an opportunity for i-models to control that information mobility. “Information modeling might be what we do, but information mobility may be why we do, as to the context of our projects, and for every project it would include site conditions, weather, terrain, and continuity in design, and point clouds,” said Bentley.

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