During a keynote address at the A/E/C Systems Conference in Anaheim, California, Buddy Cleveland, senior vice president and general manager of Bentley Software, explained how the upcoming update of MicroStation V8, (V8.1, scheduled for availability later this year), will incorporate support for digital signatures and digital rights.
The technology was first demonstrated during Bentley’s annual user conference held this past May in Atlantic City. The demonstration showed how the same digital ID used to sign email can be used to securely sign AEC content held in a DGN file. The demonstration then revealed how digital IDs could further be used to designate individuals or organizations as exclusive recipients of securely protected DGN files. Digital signatures and digital rights are complimentary technologies that both use digital IDs, and can be used together or independently.
Digital signatures and digital rights for DGN files are significant advances to overcome two obstacles that otherwise impede true electronic processes for bid submittals, project deliverables, design collaboration and other electronic workflows: authenticity and security. A digitally signed document is the electronic equivalent of a “signed and sealed” paper document. One or more digital signatures representing individuals or organizations can be stored inside a DGN file and therefore become inseparable from the content to which they pertain. The signatures can even be placed as visible “indelible marks” on a drawing, map, or model. From that point forward, the identity of the signer and the validity of the content can be readily and reliably checked by anyone.
Protected DGN files can only be accessed by authorized recipients, and MicroStation enforces the specific access rights levels (view, edit, export, or print) granted by the author for that recipient. Further, access rights can have an expiration date so that access can be granted for only a limited purpose. This means that organizations no longer need be worried about unauthorized copying of the valuable information they distribute externally, since all copies contain the identical rights as the original.
Bentley intends to work closely with government and regulatory agencies throughout the world to establish formal acceptance of DGN files with digital signatures as legal documents of record.