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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 »

Media Day at Autodesk University 2011

November 28th, 2011 by Susan Smith

Today’s Media Day at Autodesk University at the Venetian in Las Vegas attracted 95 bloggers and journalists coming from 80 different countries. Also they expected 8,000 attendees to attend the event.

Chris Bradshaw, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, spoke on the topic, “Autodesk’s Evolving story,” in which he outlined the company’s history in relation to the changing technology.

He said revenues come from all three geographies – more than half the revenue comes from outside North America. Revenue breaks down to 28% from AEC, 24% from manufacturing, 10% from Media and Entertainment and 38% from PSEB.

He talked about how Autodesk was born during a disruptive time period of the mainframe shifting over to the personal computer. Yet today’s times are more disruptive, as the desktop internet went to a billion users. “With mobile devices we’re projecting 10s of billions of units,” said Bradshaw. “Many will have more than one of these things. I would guess many here have more than one mobile device, more than one accessing the cloud.” Which was proven with a show of hands in the room.

Steve Blum, senior vice president, Worldwide Sales & Services, spoke on “Customer Challenges.” He said that with the cloud you can leverage infinite computing and run a thousand different “what if” scenarios is 15 minutes and choose the best design option that meets your needs. The cloud and mobile are changing the way people get their jobs done.

Amar Hanspal, senior vice president, Platofrm Solutions and Emerging Solutions and Emerging Solutions, talked on “The Age of Empowerment.”

“Today we have to look at what do we do when everyone is connected, how do we reimagine this?” Hanspal pointed out that social media wouldn’t exist if everyone wasn’t connected. “The minute we use the cloud, people assume we’re using a vendor made cloud product. What we’re trying to do is use the cloud where it’s useful and adds to the cloud, not cloud for cloud’s sake.”

The cloud is good for Connectivity, Content, Infinite computing, and Design for everyone.

Brian Matthews talked about 3D printing and laser scanning, stating that 3D printing “will change the world.”

Additionally he listed six major technology disruptions:
Reality capture, cloud data, infinite computing, simulation, digital to analog.

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Bentley i-models description

November 21st, 2011 by Susan Smith

Bentley i-models are being used greatly by many of the finalists for the Be Inspired Awards. I thought it would be a good idea to do a refresh on Bentley i-models.

Bentley i-models are a container that can hold an entire 3D model, a revision history and where the information comes from, and can be exported to those who need to see this information or series of files. The author can embed access rights into the model, support digital signatures and take measurements or extract information from this information. It cannot be changed, but notes can be attached to it. It is a .dgn file, but it has the capability of bringing in other material such as Revit files using the previously released Revit plug-in. It honors all file formats and standards such as ISO 15926, IFCs, XML.

The i-model is not really another format, it’s another way to share information with team members or other stakeholders. Similar to a zip file, when you open it you can see its contents. It will be particularly useful for plant and process and other large-scope projects with multiple and diverse processes.

A big question is, how big is it? In comparison with a regular model file, perhaps a BIM file, the i-Model would be at a ratio of 10 to 1.

Point cloud data made usable

November 15th, 2011 by Susan Smith

At Bentley Be Inspired last week, one of the most profound announcements was that of the company’s acquisition of Pointools Ltd. in order to integrate point cloud processing into its entire product portfolio. Bentley plans to merge their code streams with those of Pointools to create a new fundamental data type. Up until now, Bentley has embedded the Pointools Vortex engine into MicroStation, but now they plan to incorporate point cloud processing in their ProjectWise and AssetWise platforms.

This signals an acknowledgement of the importance of Lidar data for various applications, not only for retrofit projects but also for planning and presentation value. The technology has been circling around the AEC industry for awhile but has been hampered until recently by the inability to efficiently get the large amounts of 3D data processed accurately. With great advancements in point cloud processing, it is now being integrated into mainstream CAD products like Bentley’s.

At Be Inspired, many of the winners and finalists were using 3D laser scanning in innovative ways in their projects, for example in the areas of multimedia, water and wastewater, and process manufacturing.

The Pointools/Bentley relationship is not the only evidence of this trend – Autodesk also has announced rather quietly the acquisition of technology assets and and hiring of individuals associated with the Alice Labs technology, according to Michael Oldenburg, manager, Corporate Communications, Autodesk.

The announcement of what Autodesk plans to do with this new acquisition is most likely being saved for Autodesk University, to be held December 28 in Las Vegas.

Another company that has just acquired 3D laser point cloud software is AVEVA, with its recent acquisition of LFM Software. This addition to the AVEVA portfolio offers a comprehensive range of technologies exploiting the power of 3D laser surveying. This technology is said to allow users to import 3D data from various 3D laser scanning formats and export them to plant design systems.

On the path of point cloud processing is ClearEdge 3D, a company that has developed algorithms to identify and extract pipes, walls, structures and other complex building and plant features from point clouds. Their Automated Feature Extraction algorithms are designed to reduce modeling time and eliminate a lot of the manual production associated with 3D models.

This is a topic we will be hearing more about in the near future.

Be Inspired 2011 Press Conference

November 8th, 2011 by Susan Smith

A press conference held at the Be Inspired Leadership Conference in Amsterdam yesterday provided an opportunity to showcase upcoming announcements from Bentley Systems. The Leadership Conference drew finalists from 42 countries this year, according to CEO Greg Bentley.

Notable is the fact that Bentley achieved its initial public rating and has regained revenue momentum after the downturn. Bentley said that Autodesk is ahead of Bentley but not out of reach, and that since the downturn, Bentley has regained revenue faster than Autodesk.

Bentley also pointed out that they have a collaborative relationship with Autodesk, shipping in every Bentley product are libraries to read and write their formats. ProjectWise collaboration systems equally support Autodesk products, and there is an i-model plug in for Autodesk products, as well as the fact that Autodesk includes capability to read/write Bentley products as well.
In spite of the obvious advantage of Autodesk the competitor, Bentley claims his company leads the world in software for road and rail, generative design, construction simulation, 3D City GIS, infrastructure asset operations and maintenance.
The 2011 Bentley Infrastructure 500, an elite status added last year, now represent $14.1 trillion value in infrastructure. Bentley has 48 partners now worldwide.
Looking at a “Utilization index,” the industry areas building and plant took the biggest hit but have come back, according to Bentley. The Americas dipped in revenue in 2011 but are coming out of it. Europe, the Middle East and Africa also are doing okay. Asia never had much downturn.
Bentley made a number of announcements including the following:
1) The announcement that Bentley’s i-models which are containers for open infrastructure information exchange will now be able to deliver AECO information mobility in PDF workflows – this accomplished via agreements with Adobe Systems and Bluebeam Software.
2) Bentley acquired Pointools Ltd. In order to integrate point cloud processing into its entire product portfolio. Bentley plans to merge their code streams with those of Pointools to create a new fundamental data type. Up until now, Bentley has embedded the Pointools Vortex engine into MicroStation, but now they plan to incorporate point cloud processing in ProjectWise and AssetWise platforms.
3) Bentley acquired FormSys to expand their SACS offerings which extends their influence in the offshore market. SACS is an integrated finite element structural analysis suite of programs.
4) Bentley made available commercially their new AECOsim Energy Simulator software and in early Q1 2012 the new AECOsim Building Designer Software will be available.
5) A relationship with Microsoft for the Microsoft Azure Platform partner program will make it possible for Bentley to bring a range of Azure-based cloud services to AECO worldwide. One of the key offerings on Azure will be Bentley Transmittal Services, which will allow the tracking and delivery of transmittals through a dashboard portal.
6) Structural Synchronizer for iPad Workflow for the iPad available at iTunes for free at the end of the month – users can export out a very intelligent model to the iPad and see all bracing, beams, concrete and click on the model to pull in more information. Anything that might be needed in an AEC setting onsite such as section type, placement point, even complex elements can be added, layers turned on and off, and viewed in the new app.

Be Inspired Bentley Thought Leadership Conference starts Monday in Amsterdam

November 4th, 2011 by Susan Smith

On Saturday, I fly to Amsterdam to attend the Be Inspired Bentley Thought Leadership Conference held at the Hotel Okura.

Read the rest of Be Inspired Bentley Thought Leadership Conference starts Monday in Amsterdam

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