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Bentley International user conference

Ayon Tarafdar
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Having the right technology might be important, but not as important as having the right combination of skill sets to address and deliver…” Greg Bentley, CEO, Bentley Systems Inc, indicated manifestly as he initiated his opening keynote speech to a huge hall of close to a 1,900 gathering. His speech presented the need and quest to empower enterprises systematically, for improving our own world and addressing its issues. A case of moving towards being ‘BE’ – ‘Bentley Empowered’. The BE Conference – Bentley’s premier annual professional training and conference event – this year included more than 400 training courses and technology updates, keynote presentations by Bentley executives and project presentations by Bentley users. The conference took place at the majestic Walt Disney Dolphin and Swan Resort, Orlando, Florida, USA from May 23 to 27, 2004.

Empowering Competitiveness
The event spanned over five days. May 24 saw the opening and welcome ceremony. Tony Flynn, Chief Marketing Officer, Bentley opened the floor with a precise speech that talked of building systems: “Systems are not merely business, but the foundation of basic needs, health, education and knowledge base of societies”.

Bentley CEO Greg Bentley spoke at length on ‘Cycles of Opportunity’. He mentioned that one of the aims of Bentley today is to ’empower competitiveness’. He talked about the 4 main divisions of Bentley Systems –

  • Bentley Buildings
  • Bentley Civil
  • Bentley Geospatial
  • Bentley Plant

For Bentley’s investors and users, he presented its financial performance in the last year. He talked about Architecture (A), civil design, construction (C) and engineering (E) as the prime tools of development. He spoke about AEC as an entity and stressed on treating it as a scientific block. He said that ‘standards and training’ form the most important issues in this industry. “Empowerment is not about owning the right tools but about knowing and having the right skill sets,” he pointed out. He also mentioned about the new ETS (Enterprise Training Subscription) programme by Bentley Institute.

After this, Col. Gregg Martin, Commander, 130th Engineer Brigade, USA, made a speech on his experience of the recent Iraq war. His emphasis was on re-construction, re-habilitation, renovation and re-installation in post-war Iraq. He brought forth the role of geospatial sciences, communication tools and the need for their integration in times of emergency.

Technology Keynote
May 25 had a Technology Keynote session in the morning. Bhupinder Singh, Vice President (Platform Products), Bentley, presented technical updates of Bentley products. He mentioned about Microstation V8 and its 4 extensions individually –

  • Geographics
  • Schematics
  • Triforma
  • CivilPak

He also gave an elaborate description of the relationship between PDF and Bentley products. Keith Bentley, Director and Chief Technical Officer, Bentley, traced the past 20 years of Bentley since 1984. He compared the evolution and growth of the IT and geospatial industry in the last two decades and discussed Bentley’s role in it. He then compared the growth and evolution of Microstation for the same period. As per Keith Bentley, the ‘DNA’ of Bentley over the years has been:

  • Long Term Relationships
  • Single platform
  • Continuous Incremental Improvement

These three have been the key to Bentley’s success where every customer gets a single platform to address all his AEC issues – a platform that grows and becomes (incremental), and a platform that keeps in track the future and hence is a long term investment. Alton B Cleveland, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Bentley Software, made a precise speech reaffirming what users and investors can expect from Bentley.