Senior Vice President,
Bentley is emerging to be one the largest enterprise solution providers globally that serves the wide gamut of the civil, building, plant and geospatial markets. The growth of Bentley over the last 20 years from its six member staff to thousands of professionals today, with 75 offices in 38 countries is phenomenal. Styli Camateros and Bhupinder Singh discusses candidly with GIS Development about the future of the geospatial industry in an exclusive interview.
Question: Bentley is emerging to be one of the largest enterprise solution providers globally that serves the wide gamut of the civil, building, plant and geospatial markets. Something on how these verticals evolved, especially the Geospatial vertical?
Styli: Bentley started off as technology providers and have evolved into a total solution provider for the geospatial, architecture, engineering and civil (AEC) markets. Bentley has put forth its focused verticals to address each of these markets with its four key verticals of Civil, Building, Plant and Geospatial. Some three years back the clear formation and consolidation of the Bentley verticals happened. All verticals of Bentley formed are purely customer focused and the idea is to provide the latest and most complete solutions on one platform. The Bentley Geospatial division caters specifically to the mapping, spatial analysis and map-based requirements of each and every customer base. The requirement of map-based decision-making has emerged and is a growing to become a basic need and hence Bentley Geospatial is a response to this.
Question: What are the key marketing and product development strategies of Bentley for Asia and India?
Styli: Asia is a very important market for any provider including Bentley. While population growth rates are declining in most of the other parts of the world, Asia is witnessing a continuous growth rate. The needs of this vast population base shall keep rising and it shall be increasingly challenging to cater to the needs and complexities of this vast population base. Infrastructure and engineering projects shall increase. In view of such fundamental needs, Bentley sees the region as significant and a large potential market. Bentley has expanded its offices in the region with a renewed focus for Asia. Bentley now has an office in Beijing, China, called Bentley Asia. This office is headed by Jean Baptiste Monnier, Vice President, Bentley Asia.
The Bentley Asia Operating unit, being in the fastest growing part of the world, is divided into four units: Greater China, comprising Hong Kong, China and Taiwan; Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, the Philippines and other islands; North Asia, Japan and Korea; South Asia including India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. With these geographically strategic locations, Bentley is working closely with government and industry to reach out and provide the best in accurate mapping, design, geospatial and AEC solutions.
Question: How do you perceive the geospatial market of Asia and Pacific with respect to other regions?
Bhupinder: Bentley Asia is fully focused for the Asian region and the setting up of this regional focus by Bentley speaks to the crucial strategic shift of focus towards this area. With regard to differences of the Asia-Pacific market in comparison to others, the biggest difference lies in the Building and Civil markets. The plant and geospatial markets have similarities across the world owing to common requirements such as the critical accuracy and complex modeling based need for such projects. It is the building and civil segments where differences in approach to project execution exists. There are more notable unique needs; however our product development strategies are designed to meet them across the regions. Even in plant and geospatial, there are differences in project approach compared with other regions in the world. For example, the inclination towards large investment in geospatial data generation and its long term usage is still emerging in most sectors here. Fortunately, Bentley’s product offerings are designed to support current approaches and provide a long-term growth path.
Question: What are the key initiatives of Bentley Geospatial in maturing the GIS market of Asia through training, demonstrations and educational activities?
Bhupinder: Bentley recently had its highly successful BE Conference in Baltimore. Bentley has a long commitment and understanding of training as the key to technology enablement and growth. Bringing the world-renowned Bentley Institute to Asia and India is a major step. Bentley is in the process of collaborating with the right institutes and departments for training, education, research and development.
Question: India and most developing nations have huge requirements for large-scale mapping and infrastructure development. How does Bentley plan to tap this segment?
Styli: The edge of Bentley today is its 3D capabilities and visualization techniques. Analysis of complex problems of engineering and development planning in the spatial and 3D perspective cannot be simpler or better than in Bentley platforms. This is how the significance of Bentley shall evolve in the infrastructure and large scale-mapping segment of India and many more countries. Another important advantage with Bentley is that in addition to supporting our own open and documented format, DGN, Bentley also supports DWG, DXF, PDF, and now U3D. Bentley geospatial solutions are unique in their ability to integrate AEC and geospatial capabilities. Our connectors for Oracle and ArcGIS allow users to take advantage of existing geospatial databases and work hand-in-hand with our ProjectWise Geospatial Management server to create a spatially enabled managed environment for all types of information – maps, drawings, designs, analyses results, and models. All these are relevant to the developing economy, whatever the application area might be. Bentley is here to solve most if not all, AEC and geospatial issues.
Question: What are the key focus directions of Bentley in the days to come?
Bhupinder: Bentley shall always have a customer-focused strategy. However, we believe that we are better equipped for tomorrow for three main reasons. First, we have partnered with the right people and technology trends. Bentley’s deep association with Oracle and its 10g version shall be an advantage in the coming days. We recognize and formally acknowledge the potential of Oracle 10g, especially those of Oracle Spatial. Second, Bentley shall continue to develop its edge in 3D, which is the face of tomorrow in any market segment of AEC or Geospatial. Third, we shall work toward a continuous single platform for all of our products, so that any user finds all the possible concerns addressed and handled at one point.
Question: Please share some of the key case studies for the Bentley Geospatial division?
Styli: Many of our finest case studies are highlighted in our yearly BE Award program. This year there were 46 projects nominated in seven Geospatial categories and I’m pleased to say several were from Asia, including the BE Award winner in the category Geospatial Modeling. Japan Conservation Engineer’s Landslide GIS project used our 3D modeling and visualization capabilities to prevent landslides and control erosion. Their Landslide GIS stores and manages 3D surface and sub-surface data, facilitating landslide analysis, simulation of sliding movements, and arrangement of prevention works. The system manages records of landslide prevention and control works, both as drawings and construction pictures, which can be searched by type of prevention works and by year.
Question: The ProjectWise V8 XM Edition and the MicroStation V8 XM Edition was unveiled. A few words on the implication of these products for the geospatial industry?
Bhupinder: The XM products offer plenty in the way of innovation and in particular, for the geospatial market, there new stunning visualization and capabilities in ProjectWise that have allowed us to spatially index the features in the managed environment. The latter opens up a myriad of opportunities in geospatial and design applications which we are taking advantage of in our Bentley’s geospatial products and solutions.