November 24, 2008
Bentley’s V8i Release Takes Center Stage
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

Bentley’s V8i Release Takes Center Stage

By Susan Smith

The way of Bentley software releases is as follows: the upcoming release is talked up at the spring BE Conference, with the actual product release to follow in Q3 or Q4 of that same year.

V8i, a significant software release which will span the entire Bentley product line, is no exception to that rule, being released incrementally over the next two months’ time. According to Greg Bentley, CEO of the company, the V8i portfolio culminates $1 billion of investment in research and development. Bentley is well positioned to take the current economic downturn with negligible debt and the ability to fund its investment internally.

Infrastructure and sustaining is the focus of this release as customers work toward sustainability in their designs. Bentley said that our society’s quality of life depends on the quality of our infrastructure, which has generated high returns in improved productivity throughout the economy. However, he pointed to the recent bridge collapse in Minneapolis as evidence of the lack of investment in infrastructure, and how the need to repair aging infrastructure and build new was a primary driver of the new software release. Another issue is the global shortfall in engineering resources in relation to infrastructure requirements.

The topic transitioned naturally to the digital infrastructure and using that to “reinvent the physical infrastructure” which has brought a “very high and continuing return on investment.”

The new V8i release of MicroStation introduces new levels of capabilities in the area of information modeling and interoperability, according to Bentley.

Bhupinder Singh, senior vice president, Bentley Software, said that V8i features dozens of products that fan a broad array of design disciplines, and workflow oriented features that integrate the work of contributing disciplines essential for sustaining the world’s infrastructure, from architecture, structural engineering, civil engineering, all the design disciplines extended to the asset lifecycle. V8i delivers the new ability to repurpose design data for use in operational systems and construction. “Enabling interoperability with enterprise software, business systems, with our integrated interoperability platform, V8i has a scope for design build and operate for the full
lifecycle of sustaining infrastructure,” said Singh.

How the V8i portfolio addresses the issues of aging infrastructure and lack of engineering resources are with its intraoperability and interoperability. Those two advantages are expected to “enable broader reuse of project and asset information generated during the design, construction, and operation of infrastructure, and enhance the ability of project teams to choose among multiple software offerings.” The intraoperability refers to information being moved “across and between” V8i products without loss of information. The interoperability promised refers to information being transmitted across distributed projects where users can choose from a wider array of Bentley products,
as well as integrate their work with the work of other practitioners using software based on DGN, PDF, DWG, ISO 15926, IFC, and other industry standards and related APIs.

Core V8i Capabilities

The improved integration between Bentley products alone will make the design process easier. Bentley has always tried to create new releases that minimize the disruption of upgrade and provide consistency. MicroStation V8i works seamlessly in environments with version 7, 2004 XM editions, and can read and write various versions of DWG. ProjectWise V8i fully supports and manages the XM version of Bentley applications, and it can be used in mixed environments all the way back to MicroStation J.

Intuitive design modeling is a feature that lets users transition from conceptual modeling and visualization to fully complete architectural and engineering models in a single environment. GenerativeComponents, an architectural design tool, is now a part of MicroStation V8i, which has surface, and push-pull modeling tools that enable teams to capture innovative thinking and transition from concept to completion. The parametric and associative modeling tools allow users to explore more design alternatives earlier in the process.

Part of the power of the design modeling capability comes from the new Luxology rendering engine incorporated in the MicroStation product and all MicroStation-based applications. The engine provides near-real-time rendering in the design application, improving the quality of rendered images and saving time.

Interactive dynamic views address the challenge of drawing coordination for complex models by supporting the workflows of distributed multidisciplinary teams all working on the same project. V8i actually helps users simplify the 3D model creation process by using what they call “display sets.” With this feature, V8i users can change the display of different parts of a 3D model in the same working view to visualize and resymbolize 2D and 3D designs interactively in real time. With local caching, users can transfer only what has changed in files, as opposed to entire files being moved between offices. Information can be easily moved from project to completion in the same
software involvement. Interactive dynamic views goes beyond solving the problem of coordination between 2D drawings and 3D models, but simplifies the 3D model creation process and lets it be scalable to much larger datasets in real world design scenarios.

Intrinsic geo-coordination is a feature inherent in all V8i projects that includes the real-world location of the infrastructure site, with the reference data already diversely available. Users can “synchronize and coordinate true and projected coordinate systems, use a single interpretation system for universal and industry-standard reference sources, and reduce the risks of errors on site.” This feature will improve the quality and reliability of information leveraged by other practitioners and then reduce errors arising from this data as they automatically distribute this information to the broader supply chain.

Project performance lets users work faster and collaborate more effectively, promising 10x performance gains through accelerated file transfer between locations. The delta file transfer capabilities in ProjectWise V8i allow teams to gain greater performance from their local and wide area networks by just moving the changes within the files rather than entire files. Bentley has also increased the functionality of the web clients including full read write capabilities to ProjectWise managed content through the Microsoft Office SharePoint portal. “Any project team member can quickly find project information storied in many different systems with a simple web browser
interface,” said Singh.

“One of our users who has been working with early versions of V8i is talking about a almost 50x improvement in network transport capabilities with our distributed file transfer. We’ve also done some compression techniques to make sure every packet goes between ProjectWise V8i and our client. Our users are expanding their use of ProjectWise, it’s getting into the supply chain with smaller companies, perhaps where their network infrastructure that isn’t completely reliable. We’ve done a lot of work to make sure the algorithms we use in terms of managing all the conflicts for reference files and documents get better,” said Singh.

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