Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bentley Systems and MicroStation V8i - interview

Ed Mueller I had recently the chance to ask Bentley’s CMO, Ed Mueller (Bio) some questions about Bentley Systems and MicroStation V8i.

The release is named V8i. My first thought was that it was an incremental minor release compared to V8. Is that the case and what does “i” stand for?

That’s not the case. In fact, V8i is the most comprehensive software portfolio for infrastructure ever assembled in a single release.

V8i is not just another release of MicroStation, but of a wide range of applications encompassing products for all of the solution communities served by Bentley, including roads, bridges, rail and transit, campuses, factories, buildings, power generation, mining and metals, oil and gas, water and wastewater, electric and gas utilities, communications, and cadastre and land development.

The V8i portfolio leverages and extends core capabilities of its new interoperability platform to provide the breadth and depth of technology needed for fully integrated project delivery. Developed as a collective whole, the V8i software portfolio facilitates streamlined workflows among multiple disciplines and across project teams throughout the infrastructure lifecycle within 60 days of the announcement.

So, to answer your second question, the “i” in V8i stands for infrastructure. But it also stands for:

· Intuitive design modeling – Project teams can easily take designs from concept to completion in the same software environment. Conceptual tools make it easier to intuitively sculpt solids and surfaces. Generative tools make it easier to iterate through many design alternatives.

· Interactive dynamic views – V8i leapfrogs competing software. Users can work in 2D or 3D views and see both update dynamically. With interactive dynamic views, users can save time coordinating plan sets, improve the quality of deliverables, and simplify the 3D modeling experience.

· Intrinsic geo-coordination – V8i’s intrinsic geo-coordination lets users coordinate information spatially from many sources using common coordinate systems. Users can locate files spatially with real-world context in ProjectWise for content management or in Google Earth for visual review. This enables V8i users to save time coordinating data from various sources, improve information quality, and reduce the risk of errors on site caused by poorly coordinated data.

· Incredible project performance – With Delta File Transfer (DFT), V8i solves the “big file” problem that traditionally slows productivity across distributed project teams. Transferring only changes to files, DFT makes ProjectWise V8i the “killer app” for project team collaboration – with 10x performance gains being the norm for average file sizes.

· Interoperability platform– V8i software includes a core technology to persist, share, and visualize infrastructure asset data in a common way. This enables practitioners to reuse project and asset information throughout the infrastructure lifecycle. The benefits of this interoperability to practitioners include reduced data translation costs, reduced project rework, and the ability to create better-performing assets.

As you can see, the “i” in V8i is as multifaceted as the portfolio itself.

I have quite an Autodesk colored background and I think many of my readers do too. Can you give us some of the selling points for Bentley software, especially in light of the Autodesk agreement and the release of V8i?

Autodesk is a very large company that addresses the needs of a wide variety of markets, but Bentley is the global leader dedicated to providing comprehensive software solutions for sustaining infrastructure. That’s our single focus, and I think it shows.

Unlike Autodesk, Bentley has a common interoperability platform that enables both intraoperability among its own applications and interoperability with third-party products. Together, these two capabilities enable broader reuse of project and asset information generated during the design, construction, and operation of infrastructure, and enhance the ability of project teams to choose among multiple software offerings.

The intraoperability occurs across and between tightly coupled V8i products without loss of information. The interoperability occurs across necessarily distributed projects where participants can now increase their choice of software offerings from Bentley, loosely but usefully coupled with the work of other practitioners using software based on DGN, PDF, DWG, ISO 15926, IFC, and other industry standards and related APIs.

V8i’s interoperability platform enables Bentley applications to persist, share, and visualize infrastructure asset data in a common way, promoting collaborative workflows. The result is a project environment that combines flexibility, scalability, and robustness, and a portfolio that offers engineers, architects, GIS professionals, constructors, and owner-operators unprecedented choices across discipline-specific integrated software and services incorporated in Bentley solutions.

Bentley developed its interoperability platform in response to the unique requirements of infrastructure projects. Your readers can learn more about this innovative technology by reading Bentley Senior Vice President Buddy Cleveland’s white paper “Interoperability Platform” at ftp://ftp2.bentley.com/dist/collateral/Web/Platform/WP_Interop_Platform.pdf.

How will the partnership with Autodesk affect and benefit; first a company with only Autodesk products, second a company with a mix of Autodesk and Bentley products?

In both cases, the companies will be able to choose the application that best suits their workflows in particular projects. So, a company with only Autodesk products will be free to adopt Bentley applications. Also, the Autodesk-only company will be able to work with Bentley’s DGN files with absolute fidelity, expanding the number of projects it can bid for – once Autodesk has incorporated the Bentley libraries made available to it under the interoperability agreement.

The second company will have the same freedom to use Autodesk’s DWG format or Bentley’s DGN format with absolute fidelity, making its workflows smoother.

Both companies will benefit from the fact that neither Autodesk nor Bentley will have to spend time making best-guess approximations of the nature of the other company’s file format. The resources previously devoted to that can be devoted to improving the companies’ software for the benefit of all users.

With the global economic problems the world faces today and also the U.S. government’s and the Obama administration’s focus on improving buildings, bridges, tunnels, etc., how and where does Bentley fit into this?

With our mission to sustain infrastructure, we look to be right in the center of this focus, especially with the breadth and depth of our V8i solutions and products for the design, analysis, construction, and operation of roads, bridges, rail and transit systems, ports, campuses of all types including airports, factories, buildings, power generation facilities, mining and metals processing facilities, oil and gas plants, water and wastewater systems, electric and gas utilities, communications networks, and other infrastructure. Currently, investors are finding that putting their money in infrastructure is an investment in quality – something necessary and concrete (no pun intended), as opposed to the kind of financial constructions that put us where we are today.

Here’s one case in point: In North America, state departments of transportation (DOTs) are finding new and innovative ways to fund their projects, including public/private partnerships (PPPs). For example, in Florida, a contract recently was let to a global consortium led by a Spanish firm to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain an urban-renewal highway project for 35 years. The PPP is expected to accelerate the delivery of the benefits by 16 years and save $275 million in availability payments that were initially projected to total $2.07 billion.

Bentley’s leading presence in the transportation arena is well established. Transportation authorities and engineering consultants around the world depend on the Bentley road solution, which has repeatedly proven its value on projects with the most demanding requirements. In North America, these tools are the standard for 47 of the 50 U.S. state departments of transportation, the Federal Highway Administrator (FHWA), United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

So we look forward to enabling our users to take on the mounting challenge of sustaining infrastructure under the next administration, as well as under all future ones.

Thanks a lot for your for your time and answers to my questions!


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