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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Recap of Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2013 Conference

November 7th, 2013 by Susan Smith

Bentley’s annual Year in Infrastructure event is a showcase for the company’s Be Inspired award winners in various industry categories, as well as an opportunity for the company to demonstrate some of its new directions and product releases. Some of the big topics this year were the introduction of Bentley’s Cloud Services added to the platform, the SaaS Project Sharing Services, the potential of a health information model, the new Innovation page where users can view and comment on new research and development.

One BlackFriars Road, London, Ian Simpson Architects

During the conference, several interesting keynotes were held, on topics such as the Olympic Games Delivery Authority by Sir John Armitt, Chairman, and the UK’s Crossrail project, by Peter Hansford, Chief Construction Advisor to the UK Government.The fact that London is the site of so much infrastructure now makes it an ideal location to hold this conference and to view new infrastructure projects. A number of big building projects are also in the works, £18 billion of private money spent on infrastructure since privatization. Malcolm Walter, Bentley COO, noted that there are more cranes in London now than in Beijing. He mentioned that the countries with the most Bentley award nominations this year are India, U.S., Australia and China.The Olympic Games were held in London last year, which set a benchmark for what could be delivered in tight times and on budget.

The Cloud

Bentley’s “Information Mobility” allows flexibility between products and connects to the cloud.  Bhupinder Singh, senior vice president of Bentley, said that they are connecting through Cloud Services, not “moving” to the cloud, and it’s about “faster start up, easier collaboration, more efficient execution, and best practice/knowledge management.” “What would it mean to take Cloud Services and add it to the platform?” asks Singh. “It’s a server available all the time, and it allows us to have great visibility across what we’re doing.”


Through Bentley’s new MANAGEservices and SELECTservices users can keep up with innovations, and SELECTserver has been migrated into Microsoft Azure, so that it can reflect back data on how users are using the tools, and provides additional analytical tools.

Adding to this SaaS model is Project Sharing Services, that connects the project integration server to Bentley CONNECT that in turn, connects to other servers being used by the customer. This way data can all reside in one place and provide cross referencing and analytical tools. With “federated information access,” both spatial and multiple data sources are fed through one app. Bentley CONNECT will reach all field devices and apps, within projects, for enterprises across projects, and for performance dashboards.


Bentley also recounted the interest in the company’s new mobile apps, including Field Supervisor App, Navigator App, that move operations from the site trailer to the field. I-Models, Bentley’s containers for deliverables for information mobility, have been optimized for mobile devices. eB Information Manager tracks changes among information elements that are found in i-models. A new product is Construction Work Package Server (includes ConstructSim) which will help with tracking before a design is completed.


The Bentley Innovations Portfolio is a new page where “Bentley colleague teams, including research projects, development of software prototypes to demonstrate innovative new capabilities, and specific innovations within current Bentley software products.” What you will find here is some interesting research on augmented reality, putting data in the context of the physical world, ubiquitous sensing, artificial neural networks, among other reseach options. Some of the projects noted on the page are Bridge Health Modeling, Damage Detection of Civil Structure Systems, High Performance Cloud Computing, and Finite Element Model Calibration. This appears similar to the Autodesk Labs offering that has been popular at Autodesk for some years, but Innovation demonstrates Bentley has some very specific project objectives in mind.

One of the temporary pavilions erected for the Olympic Games 2012.

Olympic Deliver Authority Keynote

On Wednesday morning, a keynote featuring Sir John Armitt, chairman, National Express & Former Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, London 2012 was presented about the London 2012 Olympic Games. Armitt talked about the importance of this honor – how every four years the Olympic Committee chooses a city to host the winter and likewise, the summer games. For London, they had a £9.3 billion budget for everything. The Olympic Board team consisted of three companies and everyone was incentivized by the same target: getting the project done on time and on budget. The dual challenge they had was: what do we need to do for the Games, and what do we need to do for the next 50 years?

Many cities have not been able to recover adequately from the expense of hosting the Olympics, and caused the cities great financial hardship. A lot of thought was put into siting and developing either impermanent structures or structures that could be adapted to other uses after the Games.

The site selected for the Olympic Park was in a poorer area of London, the East End, and was heavily contaminated. These are some of the figures for restoration and redevelopment:

  • 75p on every £ spent on long term regeneration of the area
  • 50% of construction materials delivered to the Olympic Park by rail or water
  • 90% demolition materials from the site reclaimed for re-use or recycling
  • 100% timber from sustainable sources
  • 40% potable water reduction
  • £900 million spent to relocate all businesses and travelers who were living in the park.
  • £500-600 million invested in transport around Olympic Park.

Success Factors included:

  • Cross-party political support
  • A fixed deadline
  • Early attention to governance structures
  • A sensible budget
  • Clear client leadership
  • Rigorous approach to program control and change management
  • Strong assurance and risk management

Crossrail, Peter Hansford, Chief Construction Advisor to the UK Government

Peter Hansford has been in the position of chief construction advisor for the UK government since December 2012. He has been executive director, infrastructure, at the Strategic Rail Authority and a non-executive board director of Crossrail.

Crossrail, London’s ambitious rail project that will run 100 km through the city scheduled to open late 2018, and has an estimated budget of £14.8bn, has had an asset registry from the beginning of the project, and is now getting as-built 3D models from its contractors. This is the first time a project linking between 3D models and collaborative Building Information Modeling (BIM) was used. Hybrid modeling, the combination of virtual and physical worlds through point clouds, using products by Bentley Descartes, is also being used by Network Rail, bringing together point clouds, 3D modeling and BIM to view a safe representation. With hybrid modeling large terabytes of data can be combined blending raster and vector, and clash detection can be done through point clouds and vector data. Optioneering was discussed as a way to generate more scenarios, with SiteOps Optimization Technology, a company Bentley is the primary investor in, providing a simulation environment where you can upload your site characteristics and it works out of your site. They can substantiate an average of $15,000 savings per acre.

More AECCafe Voice coverage can be seen here:

Bentley Year in Infrastructure Kicks Off in London

Bringing Buildings and Infrastructure Together

The Bentley Be Inspired Award winners can be viewed at

Be Inspired Award Winners 2013

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Categories: AEC, architecture, Bentley Systems, BIM, building information modeling, Cloud, construction, engineering, infrastructure, integrated project delivery, mobile, plant design, site planning, terrain

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