Up-close with Ted Lamboo, Senior Vice President, Bentley Systems, we find out how smart generation can leverage the key elements of intelligent infrastructure…
You have been associated with Bentley Systems for 20 years now; how has the journey been for you?
Last year, Bentley celebrated its 30th anniversary as a business dedicated to providing infrastructure engineering software solutions. Over the years, we have expanded our offerings from a single product to a comprehensive portfolio of products and services, changed the way in which we go to market (from an exclusive third-party distribution arrangement to primarily direct sales and some channel partners), bolstered our subscription-based business model through innovations that help our users meet ever-changing project requirements, and continued to provide our users — the professionals and organisations involved in the project delivery and operational performance of infrastructure assets — with a steady stream of BIM advancements. This year, Bentley is introducing the CONNECT Edition, which establishes a common environment for comprehensive project delivery. Representing our next generation of infrastructure engineering software, the CONNECT Edition provides a connected environment to improve the performance of infrastructure projects and assets from design through construction and operations. Leveraging the reach and computing power of the Microsoft Azure cloud, and supporting a hybrid environment that includes on-premise servers, desktop applications, and mobile apps, the CONNECT Edition completes the reach of information mobility for advancing infrastructure.
All in all, it has been a very exciting ride for all of us at Bentley Systems. And I am quite sure the next 30 years will bring new challenges and opportunities that will continue to shape our business.Advancing BIM for Hot Firm Advantage
Sustaining infrastructure has been crucial for Bentley. How is the infrastructure space evolving for Bentley?
Bentley initially focused on advancing its portfolio of interoperable, discipline-specific design modelling applications, and later analytical modelling applications, to empower its users to create intelligent, better-performing infrastructure. In parallel, it introduced and advanced ProjectWise for work sharing, collaboration, and engineering content management—enhancing information mobility across multiple engineering disciplines.
With the acquisition of ConstructSim for workface planning and introduction of ProjectWise Construction Work Package Server for comprehensive work packaging, Bentley enabled its users to take advantage of construction modelling and advanced information mobility from design into construction, which we refer to as project delivery. More recently, through our AssetWise offerings, we’ve expanded our integrated software platform to further encompass the operation of infrastructure assets, which we refer to as asset performance. Our acquisition of Amulet earlier this year extended asset performance management to asset performance modelling, enabling operational decision support with input from performance and maintenance history, as well as condition sensors. Amulet lets users apply predictive and prescriptive analytics to improve safety.
BIM is advancing the reach and benefits of digital engineering models from design into construction, and from project delivery into asset performance, is the best, if not the only, way to arrive at better performing infrastructure assets and better performing infrastructure projects
Apart from infrastructure, Bentley has a focus on other industries too. What are the highlights?
Actually, Bentley is fully dedicated to advancing infrastructure through comprehensive software solutions spanning the engineering disciplines, assets, and lifecycle processes. That infrastructure can be found in multiple industries and sectors, from oil and gas to chemical processing, mining and metals, water distribution and wastewater collection, electric power generation, offshore engineering, transportation, etc.
In the recent past, Bentley has been targeting a comprehensive delivery with BIM. Why are you focusing more on the BIM aspect?
Advancing BIM is not a new focus for Bentley. We have long recognised that BIM, which we define as advancing the reach and benefits of digital engineering models from design into construction, and from project delivery into asset performance, is the best, if not the only, way to arrive at better performing infrastructure assets and better performing infrastructure projects. Our cumulative BIM advancements over the past 30 years began with a steadily increasing depth of information modelling (specifically design modelling and analytical modelling) on one axis, and increasing breadth of information mobility on the other. What is recent are our BIM advancements in asset performance modelling via our AssetWise offerings. These advancements enable BIM to have a direct impact on asset performance, benefiting owner-operators.
Governments around the world, such as the UK, the Netherlands, Singapore, and Dubai, are in the process of mandating BIM processes and deliverables for publicly funded infrastructure projects to improve project cost effectiveness and improve the performance of the assets built. Bentley is working closely with a number of these government organisations, including the UK, to help them achieve their goals.
One of the potential markets in the geospatial industry is smart cities. How is Bentley gearing up to capture this kind of an opportunity?
BIM and the creation of smart cities go hand in hand. As a result, Bentley’s many years devoted to BIM advancements have resulted in significant contributions to smart city design, construction, and operations. Take, for example, our Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) product that we launched last year. Built on Bentley’s OpenRoads, SUE provides for the integrated engineering management of underground utility networks for water, storm water, gas, and electric services. It brings together data from multiple sources and geo-coordinates it for 3D modelling, interactive inspection, and utility conflict detection and clash resolution. By providing powerful software tools and rich content to quickly generate highfidelity, intelligent 3D feature-based models of the buried construction zone, SUE mitigates the risks of building in utility-congested, “call-before-you-dig” underground environments.
Another recent example is Bentley’s new Acute3D software for reality modelling. Acute3D automates the generation of 3D representations from digital photographs and is becoming a standard for city-scale mapping. It has already been chosen by mapping and surveying professionals to generate high resolution photorealistic 3D models of Paris, Tokyo, Melbourne, and Stockholm, to cite a few examples.
We have been focused on emerging markets for quite some time. For example, I led the Asia-Pacific market for Bentley back in 1998, and we have upgraded the unit of our emerging market groups and have also created a separate unit for it. The trend in the emerging markets is to invest in transportation, particularly in larger cities. They are all in need of more power generation plants and oil refineries to provide electricity for their homes and businesses, and fuel for their cars. But the difference is that they do not have the quality of captured digital information that developed markets do. The rate of growth in emerging economies is indeed higher than that of the developed world. China, in particular, builds more electrical infrastructure each year than does the rest of the world. Obviously, the regions that are experiencing exploding growth have an urgency to develop infrastructure, and we believe our comprehensive portfolio of software for sustaining infrastructure can help them meet this challenge.