Bentley has been working for the fast- developing market of unified engineering and planning. MicroStation GeoGraphics is at the core of Bentley’s initiative towards coining of the term Geoengineering.
President,International Sales, Bentley Systems
- What is Bentley’s Geoengineering?
Bentley has been working for the fast- developing market of unified engineering and planning. MicroStation GeoGraphics is at the core of Bentley’s initiative towards coining of the term Geoengineering. Geoengineering constitutes two key segments of the industries that had been referred to as CAD and GIS. In addition, integration with ERP & SCM has further strengthened Bentley’s Geoengineering.
The company’s Geoengineering configuration allows its users to create comprehensive engineering models and share information within enterprises in a way, that was difficult with isolated segments of CAD & GIS.
The company’s faith in Geoengineering has been vindicated by Cambashi, a leading analyst specialising in IT. Cambashi, in its latest report, addresses the emerging market for Geoengineering. The report defines Geoengineering as combining roughly equal parts of “CAD and GIS” with “Earth Sciences, Photogrammetry and Civil Engineering and Core IT disciplines such as project management and database management.” )
“Companies that have been providing general CAD and GIS technologies are now beginning to focus their efforts on the specific requirements of this new market, providing applications that address the lifecycle of the project from planning through to operations,” Says Mike Evans, Cambashi president and CEO. “Integrated information flows are helping individuals and teams make decisions and deliver results quickly and at lower cost.”
- How will convergence of CAD/GIS benefit the industry?
The CAD/GIS convergence provides topology and networking capabilities, enhanced data capture tools, a hybrid raster-vector environment, and enough out-of-the-box functionality to get users up and running quickly. Equally important, Bentley provided a full-featured application development toolbox, with which it is attracting the best and brightest third party developers to supply applications, rivaling those of the most sophisticated traditional GIS packages.
- There is lot of curiosity over Bentley’s effort in capilatising the fusion of web technology with GeoEngineering Geoengineering.Comment.
“Bentley has recently launched “Viecon.com” to enhance the benefits of E/C/O. (Engineering Construction and Operation), and facilitate e-business in the construction industry. Viecon.com provides applications and tools that allow members of a project teams to communicate and collaborate more efficiently over the Internet. It is more much comprehensive than other offerings. Eventually, it will ultimately be synchronized with the “live” project data managed within ProjectWise, Bentley’s engineering back office information management system.
Viecon’s comprehensive nature permits for the intelligent transactions, such as queries of project data at component level. Viecon also facilitates information exchange throughout all phases of an E/C/O project, because it relies on commonly used Internet Standards-most, notably aecXML, –as the basis for direct machine to machine queries and communication, despite otherwise incompatible formats.
This technology is behind two major initiatives to enable project members in the E/C/O market
- Could you please explain Bentley’s core Geoengineering product, MicroStation GeoGraphics?
MicroStation GeoGraphics is an extension of MicroStation and the Geoengineering configuration of MicroStation/J. It is both an engineering application and a foundation for discipline-specific applications. MicroStation GeoGraphics is the choice of many of the world’s most sophisticated geoengineering organisations, because it includes extensive mapping and GIS capabilities. The product is a fully integrated CAD/GIS product with both raster and vector functionality. It is also the foundation of a wide range of Bentley’s products for all types of projects that fall under the Geoengineering umbrella.
- How does MicroStation/J incorporate Java? What is new in MicroStation/J?
“The “J” in MicroStation/J stands for Java. Bentley is the first vendor to integrate Java into an engineering software environment. MicroStation/J incorporates the Sun Java Virtual Machine which means that we have harnessed all of the benefits that Java brings in terms of connectivity, easy of customization and cost of software ownership. In addition we have made some extensions to Java designed for large-scale collaborative engineering such as persistent storage and transaction management.”. MicroStation/J is designed specifically to support large-scale engineering across a project web site or the Internet.
“MicroStation/J incorporates a number of key enhancement that takes it beyond previous editions of the product.. This includes web integration tools, digital signatures, photo realistic rendering and batch plotting tools.
MicroStation/J incorporates the Parasolid solid modeling kernel enabling users to perform very complex 3D modeling operations. Parasolid has been successfully applied in mechanical engineering products and Bentley is the first vendor to offer this kernel for architecture, engineering and construction. This ability enhances Geoengineering areas such as city planning and infrastructure engineering.
New users of MicroStation/J have the option to select an engineering configuration, which offers discipline specific functionality for Geoengineering, manufacturing engineering, and building engineering. Users in the GIS field would be able to select the Geoengineering configuration, which incorporates all of the functionality of MicroStation, as well as adding some additional benefits such as enhanced data cleanup tools, network typology and scale dependent feature display.”
- One of GeoGraphics’ disappointing features is its limited ability to change projections. There’s a “warping” function that allows spatial data to be manipulated by providing control point coordinates in both spaces. It’s rare for users to know the value of a Universal Transverse Mercator coordinate based on a state plane or geographic coordinate, and there are many instances in which common points can’t be found. Comment.
The latest version of MicroStation GeoGraphics now offers the full capabilities of MicroStation GeoCoordinator, with full projection and map transformation capabilities, and offering a library for virtually all of the known projection systems available. This is available at no extra charge to all of the MicroStation GeoGraphics users under Bentley SELECT maintenance contract.
- How do you see Geoengineering coming together with Java based systems.?
“Java was originally designed as an operating system to be embedded in devices such as copiers and printers. The idea is that these devices can exchange information with each other and that you can upload a device with new software over a network rather then having to change a chip. Several vendors are now working on hardware with embedded Java and there are even special Java chips.
I can see a lot of applications of Java in mobile devices for Geoengineering. The key is to bring more intelligence into the devices itself, so they can perform functions such as error checking, data display and data communication without the need to connect to a notebook computer. I can also imagine embedded Java devices that control electrical switches, valves or traffic lights. When your Geoengineering software supports Java, you can extend its use from analysis and planning into real time operation of engineered assets. For example, if you click on an icon of a light switch your Geoengineering software can actually turn the real device on or off. Since both the real device and its digital representation share the same operating environment they can be tightly integrated.”
- Can you explain how Bentley has come to establish itself as an independent industry player, considering that its origins were with Intergraph?
Intergraph relinquished marketing responsibility for MicroStation to Bentley in 1994. Since then Bentley is moving swiftly and decisively to establish itself as a major, independent player in the industry. Bentley began strengthening its presence in specific segments through partners whom it calls “Strategic Affiliates.”. These affiliates In are experts in each market space who have the expertise to see market trends and needs, and feed information back to Bentley development, helping Bentley prepare for ever-more industry-specific applications layers.
Today, Bentley’s business groups encompass the wide markets of Geoengineering and ModelEngineering, which includes architecture, plant design and operation, mechanical design and much more. Bentley is moving beyond desktop CAD, focusing on building the software to enable large-sale projects, which every Geoengineering project is, to handle its information more effectively.
Geoengineering projects are complex, time-critical, and very often today involve worldwide coordination of large teams. With sufficiently robust technology, the Internet is ideal for making communications and collaboration more effective. Bentley is taking a lead role in leveraging the Internet and incorporating it into the life-cycle of the geoengineering project.
The launch of Bentley’s new Internet initiative, Viecon, is just the beginning of integrating communications, collaboration and commerce. Viecon includes three elements: VIECON.com, a project extranet hosting service; VIECON Licensing, which provides licensing of Bentley technologies over the Internet on a by-person, by-project and by-month basis; and VIECON Platforms, a local version of the software for organizations who wish to create their own “private networks.”
Bentley also played a key role in the automation of communications, when it initiated the aecXML initiative, now being advanced by the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI). aecXML is an extension of today’s software platforms and databases.
Bentley is focusing on laying the groundwork for the world’s technology in the next decade and beyond.
- What are your plans for this region?
Bentley’s India operation, which covers the South Asian region, was started in 1996. However for many years it remained a small “liaison operation”. In 1999 we looked at the market and realized that a lot had happened and it was time for Bentley to seriously invest in this market.
Since then we have been working towards growing our operations at an aggressive pace. We are now twelve people strong, with two offices one at Mumbai & the other at Delhi. Out of these twelve people a significant amount are in technical support where we heard from our customers that they needed our presence.
We have also rationalized our Microstation Value Added channel to make them more competitive, competent and technically able.
Already this investment is paying off in terms of renewed customer commitment to our technology subscription program called “Select” . Almost 70% of our customers in India are now on this program. Customers are also showing a keen interest in some of our enterprise technology, we are slowly moving beyond being a “Microstation box company”, to being able to provide Enterprise wide solutions for Geoengineering and other infrastructure areas.
We hope to see this investment directly translate to significant growth in revenues in 2001.
Some of our plans for the region for the future include-
- Aggressively using local software resources for development of core software. In fact we are already working with several Indian companies on developing Bentley Software. We hope to pursue this more aggressively through our Indian operations in the future.
- We want to develop India into a resource center and center of competence for Geoengineering. This will initially focus on opportunities in South Asia and later expand to do projects in Asia Pacific.
- And of course we hope to be able to transition the Indian operations to a full-blown Bentley subsidiary in the near future. I think this will further cement our ties with our customers, VARs and well-wishers.