‘Asian governments are very open to adopting new technologies’

‘Asian governments are very open to adopting new technologies’

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John Taylor
John Taylor
Industry Solutions Director
(Government/Defence/GIS),
Bentley

Bentley sees a huge focus by countries in Asia Pacific on developing their infrastructure to drive the development of their economies and embracing new technology if it delivers a solution to a problem. John Taylor tells us about Bentley’s offerings and plans for this market

Kindly brief us about Bentley’s GIS-based engineering solutions for the Asian market.
As part of Bentley’s strategy of advancing GIS for infrastructure, Bentley offers a wide range of engineering design products that present engineers with geospatial functionality seamlessly within their workflows. There is no need to switch between a CAD design environment and a GIS; the geospatial functionality is simply built into the engineering application. Such applications include Bentley sisNET, Bentley Water, Bentley Wastewater, Bentley Electric, Bentley Gas, InRoads, GEOPAK, PowerCivil for Country, and all the products for communications service providers (including Bentley Fiber, Coax, and Inside Plant). All these products leverage the power of Bentley Map, which supplies the underlying GIS technology. And, because of that, they can work with almost any source of spatial information from Oracle Spatial, Microsoft SQL Spatial, Esri and more. These applications offer direct two-tier access to spatial data or three-tier access through Bentley Geospatial Server and the ProjectWise Connectors for Oracle and ArcGIS. These GIS-based engineering applications are complemented by Bentley’s ProjectWise, a system of collaboration servers and services for managing the engineering content, which can also be spatially enabled so that engineering content is indexed spatially and, hence, can be navigated and queried spatially. Bentley’s utility users, in particular, take advantage of this geospatial functionality.

Can you elaborate on the integration of Bentley Cadastre (which was a stand-alone product), with Bentley Map?
Bentley’s goal has been to make products easier for our users to deploy and with fewer separate products, release cycles can be accelerated and more new features put into the hands of Bentley’s users. All of the functionality of Bentley Cadastre can now be found in our Bentley Map stand-alone product, Bentley Map for MicroStation and Bentley Map Enterprise. With fewer products to maintain, Bentley can focus on taking more aggressive steps forward with core geospatial functionality such as map streaming, data management and querying, the processing of point clouds and more – all of which have recently been delivered in Bentley Map products.

Asia Pacific region is prone to natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding. How do Bentley’s solutions address this?
Bentley has an extensive solutions delivery and support network across the Asia Pacific region, which includes Bentley offices in China, India, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and New Zealand. These offices are complemented by an extensive partner network that also covers Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

In the event of natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding, we see our solutions and services being used in three key areas:

  • By government organisations to collect, manage and analyse data and then communicate the extent of the impact caused by these events;
  • By infrastructure professionals to assess damage and the work necessary to start the immediate recovery operations to support the affected communities;
  • By all levels of government, the private sector and the affected communities to design, plan and deliver long-term recovery and rebuilding activities and to minimise the impact of a similar event in the future.

Bentley has a broad range of geospatial solutions suited to supporting these communities that include products for GIS and mapping, water/wastewater and stormwater, buildings and campuses, road/rail and bridges, power generation and supply, communications and oil and gas.

What, according to you, are the potential vertical markets for Bentley in Asia?
As mentioned, Bentley is closely aligned to the government sector. However, as a primarily infrastructure-focussed organisation, we regard all verticals that design, build, or manage infrastructure as being core to our business. Areas that are demonstrating significant growth include government, mapping and land information, transportation infrastructure, energy and resources (power generation, utilities, oil and gas, mining, and water), as well as the building and land development markets.

How open are Asian governments to adopting new technologies?
Asian governments are very open to adopting new technologies. If you consider the extraordinary development of Internet and mobile technologies in these countries, you realise that the adoption of new technology is not the major hurdle; rather, it is how to ensure that new technology is embedded effectively to consistently deliver value, as well as to ensure that technology standards are aligned to Asian requirements. Some technologies are more readily adopted than others due to lower relative investment costs, but, broadly speaking, Asian governments will embrace new technology if it delivers a solution to a problem.

Government and defence are traditionally the biggest customers of geospatial technology. Apart from government and defence, where do you see huge business prospects in the Asian market? What are your plans to tap those markets?
Government and defense are correctly identified as major consumers of geospatial technology. This is reflected in Bentley’s own market position in the government sector. Governments own and manage a significant portion of a country’s infrastructure and the management of the associated spatial data and information is a key element in effective management. A quick look through the Bentley Infrastructure 500 ranking of top owners of infrastructure around the world bears this out.

However, as important as this market is to Bentley, it is not the only sector of interest in the Asian market. We pride ourselves on our commitment to sustaining the world’s infrastructure and the infrastructure professionals who design, build, operate, and maintain it. Across Asia, we see a huge focus by countries on developing their infrastructure, such as transportation, energy, oil and gas, and mining, to drive the development of their economies. Bentley’s geospatial solutions, complemented by our broader range of infrastructure delivery products and supported by our collaborative project information management, asset lifecycle information management and asset performance management solutions, are already regarded as key to successful and sustainable delivery and operation of these infrastructure assets.

Mature markets are moving towards cloud-based services. How do you see the trend in Asian markets? What are Bentley’s future plans for cloud-based services in Asian market?
Bentley has an active strategy to deploy more cloud-based services as needed. In the short-to-medium term, Bentley sees that there will be a hybrid environment in which users will deploy products on desktops and servers while also taking advantage of SaaS offers where appropriate. Bentley offers cloud-based services now, including ProjectWise Online and Bentley Transmittals – and there will be more services to come.

Nowadays, very often we see new applications based on augmented reality. Experts believe that this technology will be quite handy in building, construction and maintenance. What are Bentley’s plans to tap into augmented reality market in Asia?
Bentley foresees augmented reality playing a strong role in engineering software and is already working on advanced augmented reality projects, particularly in the Applied Research unit. For example, Bentley has developed a software prototype for subsurface utility engineering that displays a dynamic virtual excavation that one can interactively move, enlarge and rotate onto the road surface. Users of the prototype can see the underground utility assets in 3D, in their physical world context and therefore quickly see connections with physical objects such as drains, valve box covers and houses. Bentley expects that industry best practices can be greatly advanced with such augmented reality technology.

Recently, Bentley acquired Ivara Corporation, a provider of asset performance management software. It has also extended software license agreement with Siemens. How will Bentley’s collaboration with such software companies enhance its geospatial portfolio?
Bentley’s acquisition of Ivara Corporation will not directly impact its geospatial technology, but it will impact organisations such as utilities who are already heavy users of Bentley’s geospatial technology. It is Bentley’s goal to offer a spatially-enabled platform to support operations and maintenance workflows and Bentley’s asset lifecycle information management servers and services. This platform will also support linear referencing and act as a companion to ProjectWise Geospatial Management, which is used to manage engineering content generated in the design and construction phases of an asset’s lifecycle.