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Bentley Systems acquires Acute3D for reality modeling

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Bentley Systems announced that it has acquired the French company Acute3D, provider of Smart3DCapture software for reality modeling.

Acute3D Smart3DCapture has five different editions, two of which are what the company refers to as “prosumer” editions; consumer customers and professionals working on small non-georeferenced projects can use these two editions to simply generate 3D models from photos.

Acute3D

Through reality modeling, photos from a variety of sources, including those from smartphones as well as high-resolution aerial imaging, can capture existing conditions that are then identified, processed and assigned points and texturized automatically into accurate representations of reality. The resulting high resolution, 3D mesh can be exported into GIS or CAD software. This is a standalone application for the desktop.

Bentley’s broad view of products dedicated to infrastructure is a good fit for Acute3D and helps both organizations extend their reach, as they are focused on the infrastructure lifecycle, from design through construction and into operations.

Acute3D is designing reality capture software for UAV operators who consume photos from various sources. “UAVs are capturing data with cameras for specific purposes,” said Dr. Jean-Philippe Pons of Acute3D. “They are used largely for land surveying for volume calculations features and reporting changes to the owners. The rest of the technology is the same whether you’re using it for UAVs or for mobile mapping.”

Acute3D already has amassed a number of customers and UAV manufacturers who are using their reality modeling Smart3DCapture.

Other areas in which Acute3D products are being used are on the site-to-city scale, for transportation, roads, mining, oil and gas. The beauty of the Smart3DCapture is that, with very little effort, customers can automatically generate from photos a 3D ‘reality mesh’ that is very accurate and detailed. These 3D ‘reality meshes’ can be exported into different software and can be used in the final data representations for contextual alignment for design modelingand construction modeling environments.

By beginning with existing conditions garnered from photos of the site, data capture can be achieved more simply and more affordably than from laser scanning.

Acute3D was co-founded in 2011 by researchers Dr. Jean-Philippe Pons and Dr. Renaud Keriven, who have led an accomplished team of researchers and developers, headquartered in Sophia Antipolis. In the beginning, Acute3D worked with an OEM in a cloud-based capacity that acquired over 6 million users of this solution; they focused on geospatial and became more involved in mobile mapping.

They decided to develop their own desktop application rather than remain with OEMs, because they wanted contact with the end users and wanted to be ready to react to the market. Smart3DCapture is the result of that decision.

Since the company was founded, Acute3D has attracted an impressive, expanding user base that includes Nokia, PASCO, and Saint-Gobain, and OEM licensees like Autodesk. Large-scale 3D city modeling is an area being explored by Acute3D with Internet giant Tencent where they are teaming up to design and build several mega-cities in China, from both aerial and street view photography. Acute3D applications also extend to gathering existing conditions capture for construction sites, manufacturing facilities, mining operations, pipelines, and oil and gas exploration.

Bentley Systems Founder and CTO Keith Bentley said, “The world-class Acute3D developers have already achieved two breakthroughs, which remove the barriers to the adoption of reality modeling. First, Acute3D has made it possible for anyone to sufficiently capture existing conditions with just a camera. Of equal importance is the value of the Acute3D result. Rather than a voluminous cloud of discrete points, Acute3D produces a 3D ‘reality mesh’ – intrinsically in the same geometric idiom as engineering models, readily aligning the real-world context.

“Just as Acute3D’s innovations have now brought reality modeling within reach of every infrastructure professional, we and our new colleagues are excited to be working together to incorporate Acute3D functionality throughout our platform and application portfolio, enhancing information mobility throughout infrastructure asset lifecycles.”

Acute3D Dr. Jean-Philippe Pons said, “When Renaud and I founded Acute3D, our vision was to make widely available, at industrial precision, what we now describe as reality modeling. With our team, we are very pleased to be joining Bentley to complete our reach. Together, we have already shared and embarked upon many new initiatives to incorporate reality modeling within design and construction modeling. Voila!

Special Coverage: Envisioning 3D Cities of the Future

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

First published in GISCafe Voice:

Cities worldwide are charged with the same challenge: that of creating or retrofitting sustainable, intelligent infrastructure. Cities need the best in design, geospatial, visualization and analytical tools to realize a viable and intelligent city design. 3D City design is architectural design times thousands, plus it must have the ability to be interwoven with other surrounding infrastructure and foster an urban conversation.

CyberCity 3D

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Keith Bentley keynote at YII 2014: “Innovation happens in waves…”

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

At Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure 2014 Conference in London in early November, Founder and CTO of Bentley Systems, Keith Bentley spoke on the topic of innovation.

"The ideas that start out to be the greatest start as small ideas." - Keith Bentley, Founder and CTO, Bentley Systems

“The ideas that start out to be the greatest start as small ideas.” – Keith Bentley, Founder and CTO, Bentley Systems

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Announcing Trimble Connect for collaboration across multiple markets

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

In an interview with AECCafe Voice, John Bacus, director of SketchUp product management at Trimble, discussed the new features of Trimble Connect, that offers a new way for designers, builders, owners and operators to collaborate, share and view project information. It is based on GTeam, the collaboration platform developed by Gehry Technologies.

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Bentley’s CONNECT Edition explained

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Bentley’s newly announced CONNECT Edition provides a very complex and deep common environment to extend across work groups and enterprises, without changing the basic file format of the products that users have an investment in already.

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Bhupinder Singh, senior vice president at Bentley Systems, gave a keynote Thursday, November 7th at the Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2014 event in which CONNECT Edition was explained to the audience.

Singh began by saying that Bentley’s platform approach is to extend it to include your desktops, servers and handheld devices.

“When you have suites, there is still a disconnect,” said Singh. “A goal was to improve information mobility with CONNECT Edition. When you begin you connect to a project, everyone connects to a project profile, then there is a project playbook, and personal playlist – an individual set of apps for the user.” This is similar to the playlist you get with your Apple iTunes music list.

The benefits are: reducing time it takes to get project started, to get supply chains on board, and the data you have becomes increasingly more valuable.
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SITEOPS civil engineering solution acquired by Bentley Systems

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Mike Detwiler, Bentley vice president and Rachel Rogers, Bentley director Civil, Geospatial, and Hydraulics & Hydrology, spoke with AECCafe Voice this week about the Bentley acquisition of North Carolina-based BLUERIDGE Analytics, provider of SITEOPS civil engineering cloud software, in August 2014.

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Hikvision integrates with BIM

Monday, October 20th, 2014

The ability to integrate video surveillance into building information modeling adds a new very important dimension to the design of buildings.Vince Lupe, director of Business Development, Hikvision USA (pronounced “HikeVision”), discussed the way Hikvision’s cameras and video surveillance systems are made an integral part of all architectural design, by being considered in the Building Information Model from the early design phase.

AECCafe Voice: How are Hikvision’s cameras considered CAD elements?

Vince Lupe: System layout and camera field of view are accurately viewed at the earliest stages of the design process, improving device placement, decreasing incompatibility issues, and boosting efficiency overall. In this way, video surveillance is transformed from an afterthought to an architectural cornerstone – a trend that is especially suited for Hikvision’s user-friendly and highly scalable products.

Hikvision’s award-winning array of video surveillance solutions, including bullet, dome, box, turret, PTZ, and fisheye cameras, as well as rackmount and standalone DVRs and NVRs, are all available options. With functionality and usability as Hikvision trademarks, the BIM counterparts to the real-life technology follow suit.

AECCafe Voice: Who are your customers?

Vince Lupe:

  • Security consultants, architects and engineering firms, security specifiers
  • End-user customers, building owners, property managers
  • Security dealer/integrators/installers
  • Security distribution channels

AECCafe Voice: Do users utilize Hikvision content in Autodesk Seek or can it go directly into Autodesk Revit?

Vince Lupe: They can access the content in Seek for use in Revit.

AECCafe Voice: Is the content in the cloud?

Vince Lupe: Not yet.  It will be part of our AE portal for easy download and accessibility for our customers.

AECCafe Voice:Can you suggest a sample workflow including Hikvision?

Vince Lupe: An architect, engineer, or security system designer can download Hikvision camera models directly into their BIM model to see exactly where a camera will be placed, what the scene will look like through the camera lens, and what its blind spots might be, allowing for adjustments to be made in terms of the physical construction of the structure, or in terms of the types of cameras and where they will be placed. The BIM model can even be dropped into a three dimensional area of the neighborhood where the building will be located, in order to get a glimpse of what the fields of view of any exterior cameras would be. Important details such as product features, model numbers, and physical characteristics are included in the models for a quick reference to designers and can be changed with a click of the mouse. One of the most important elements of such a streamlined workflow is that it allows for a true collaborative process from the very earliest stages. Electrical wiring, lighting, location of building entrances, and other design elements can be taken into consideration to create the most efficient and effective video surveillance system.

AECCafe Voice:Is the federal government interested in this product or using it currently?

Vince Lupe: We’re thrilled at the prospect that the federal government will be able to incorporate Hikvision into their BIM models, and we’re eager to hear of the success stories from that market.

HP announces split into two different companies

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Hewlett-Packard Co said it would split into two listed companies, separating its computer and printer businesses from its corporate hardware and services operations, thereby eliminating another 5,000 jobs that would be part of its “turnaround plan.” The company currently has over 300,000 employees.

The 75-year-old company has been trying to keep pace with the new era of mobile and online computing. HP has no plans to try to go into the consumer mobile devices market. Shares were up 4.4 percent at $36.78 in Monday’s late morning trading.

Chief Executive Meg Whitman told Reuters the newly created HP Inc would mostly stick to its mainstay products– PCs and printers, while exploring related markets such as 3D printing.

Shareholders will own a stake in both businesses through a tax-free transaction next year, said HP. The two businesses each contributes about half of HP’s revenue and profit.

HP’s revenues have increased over the past few years so that they are splitting the company at a time when they have a position of strength. The idea behind the sale is that HP will be able to focus on the more profitable side of its business.

“Shareholders will now be able to invest in the respective asset groups without the fear of cross-subsidies and inefficiencies that invariably plague large business conglomerates,” Ralph Whitworth, former HP chairman and founder of Relational Investors LLC, said in a statement.

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Vico Office R5 brings integrated BIM workflow to construction management

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Marcel Broekmaat, market manager, Project Controls at Trimble Buildings, talked about Trimble’s Vico Office R5 that offers integrated BIM workflow for construction management.

vico-office-integrated-construction-management

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Panzura offers cross-site collaboration with global locking file systems

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Barry Phillips, the CMO of Panzura talked with AECCafe Voice about Panzura’s Global File System and subsequent involvement in the AEC industry, providing cross-site collaboration with their global locking file systems. Moving from CAD to BIM in a single office is not a problem, according to Phillips, but when you try to have project teams spread across distributed offices it doesn’t work. “There have been lots of attempts to solve this problem,” said Phillips. Collaboration is what drives the need for cloud storage.

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