Bentley’s V8i Release Takes Center Stage
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Bentley’s V8i Release Takes Center Stage

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Keith Bentley said, “One of the areas we’re focusing on in MicroStation V8i is extremely large files. In previous versions of MicroStation, there had been issues when a set of files became so large that they would exhaust every available space on your computer. In V8i we’ve changed the algorithm around. Another area in MicroStation that has tremendous improvement is our Luxology rendering engine. The time to complete a rendering has diminished “by many areas of magnitude.”

“The delta file transfer capability in ProjectWise V8i is the killer app that distributed enterprise for infrastructure have been waiting for,” said Greg Bentley. “Big files and the need to transfer big files is a big issue. In ProjectWise V8i only the incremental changes and work the person does will be transferred to the other participants. The rendering engine is almost fast enough for real time innovation so you can improve design decisions while you’re designing rather than having to import/export into other products for visualization.”

Singh added that V8i is global in scope, thus Bentley is localizing V8i products beyond language, by adding support for local codes, design codes delivering content and implementing local standards from many parts of the world. Despite its scope, he said V8i is very scalable and lists products for individual practitioners, it has integrated suites for workgroups and total solutions that scale to the needs of largest company, and delivers value to small and large firms globally.

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“Infrastructure software is all we do at Bentley,” stated Singh. Users are reacting to put greater value on designs that embrace the environment rather than intrude upon it, designs that minimize harmful emissions, with lower energy consumption are more efficient in the use of materials and sometimes incorporate designs that challenge our conventional notions of form.

Singh said that the results of the Bentley/Autodesk Interoperability Agreement announced this summer, will not be included in this release of V8i as the agreement occurred too late in the development cycle. The Agreement stated that Autodesk and Bentley will exchange software libraries, including Autodesk RealDWG, which Autodesk uses to read and write in their own products, “to improve the ability to read and write the companies' respective DWG and DGN formats in mixed environments with better accuracy.” As a result, Bentley will be able to work directly with the Autodesk code to read and write DWGs. In the other direction, Bentley has exchanged comparable DGN libraries with Autodesk. Beyond that, Singh said the two companies will be able to run each other’s object enablers by downloading an object enabled directory from each other’s websites to run each other’s applications with high level semantic understanding. Also, the Agreement allows the companies to work with one another’s APIs, which will further interoperability between the applications.

“We are shipping Revit interoperability with our Structural and MicroStation products that does just that,” said Singh. “We also have dedicated technical liaisons who can help users who work in mixed environments with interoperability.”

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Currently Bentley is working on embedding libraries. “We’ve been supporting DWG for a long time really well, so we have to make sure that as we transition from our own DWG support to the embedded libraries, that we don’t lose any functionality,” concluded Singh. “We expect the V8i scope to expand to the SELECT updates we’ll release over the next year. The first SELECT update we’ll release for MicroStation will include RealDWG from Autodesk.”

Bentley also announced a new financing program to accelerate adoption and return on investment in V8i during these times of economic uncertainty. Information on this (from the press release) is as follows:

For new licenses purchased during the balance of 2008 (at Bentley’s standard competitive pricing), fees may be paid in three annual installments. Also, to expedite realization of V8i’s benefits for infrastructure, during the balance of 2008, users of Bentley software who are not presently subscribers to the Bentley SELECT subscription program may join SELECT without needing to pay the back fees that would normally pertain for periods of non-coverage.

The products that are currently available in the new V8i Software Portfolio are listed here:
http://www.bentley.com/en-US/Promo/V8i/products.htm

Note: All V8i images are provided courtesy Henning Larsen Architects, and depict work the firm performed for the Massar Children’s Discovery Centre.

Top News of the Week

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) awarded its highest level of recognition, LEED Platinum certification, to the Conference Center at the newly re-opened TreePeople Center for Community Forestry. TreePeople, an environmental non-profit, has served the Los Angeles region for 35 years with the goal of "helping nature heal our cities." The state-of-the-art Conference Center provides a gathering place for local, national, and international leaders to create healthy, sustainable cities.

The Conference Center is the focal point for the Center for Community Forestry, a four-acre environmental educational campus located in L.A.'s Coldwater Canyon Park. Furthering TreePeople's mission to provide environmental and watershed education to the public, the Conference Center utilizes natural principles to minimize the building's need for imported heating, cooling, energy and water.

Autodesk, Inc. and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) have announced the results of the 2008 Autodesk/AIA Green Index, an annual survey that measures how AIA members are practicing sustainable design, as well as their opinions about the green building movement. This year's index shows an increase in the implementation of sustainable design practices from architects and building owners. In addition, it shows that architects' clients have experienced a doubling in the market demand for green buildings over the past year as well as positive shifts in architects' attitudes toward their ability to impact climate change.

Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances

Autodesk, Inc. announced that it has completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Softimage - a developer of 3D technology for the film, television and games markets - for approximately $35 million. On October 23, 2008, Autodesk announced it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Softimage from Avid Technology, Inc.

SC&H Consulting - a member of SC&H Group, LLC - one of the fastest-growing CPA and management consulting firms in the nation, announced its relationship with Deltek, a leading provider of enterprise applications software for project-focused organizations. This partnership is a natural fit for both organizations that will be of great value for customers in the government contracting industry. SC&H will utilize its expertise in government contract accounting to implement Deltek's GCS Premier accounting system for clients.

VFA, Inc., provider of software and services for facilities capital planning and asset management, and Bricsnet, a provider of solutions for executive decision support and strategic planning in real estate, announced a strategic alliance designed to help clients improve operating efficiencies and long-term planning for their real estate portfolios. Together, VFA and Bricsnet offer organizations with large, complex real estate portfolios a comprehensive solution for facilities planning and management, with sophisticated decision support tools for enhanced financial intelligence.

Clarizen, a provider of on-demand, online project management software, announced its integration with Autodesk’s AutoCAD software. The partnership lets engineers and developers using AutoCAD software work directly with Clarizen’s SaaS project management solution to update and manage their projects directly without leaving their AutoCAD system.

Bamboo Solutions, a provider of products that enhance Microsoft SharePoint and TeamDirection, a provider of collaborative project solutions, announced an OEM agreement to expand their Microsoft-based project management offerings for SharePoint. Available today, TeamDirection is offering the Bamboo SharePoint Project Portfolio Dashboard Web Part as part of its IntelliGantt Add-in for Microsoft Project. This combined offering provides SharePoint customers who also use Microsoft Project 2007 Standard or Professional an intuitive and affordable project management solution for project managers, SharePoint users and project stakeholders. Utilizing robust client tools, team members can work in shared workspaces that are easily accessible and convenient while stakeholders can view clear and concise progress reports in a Portfolio Dashboard.

Announcements

Autodesk announced a sponsorship of PechaKucha Nights, to support the design community and encourage designers to share their ideas and projects. PechaKucha Night --"PechaKucha" is Japanese for the sound of conversation -- takes place in more than 150 cities around the world.

PechaKucha Night, devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham Architecture in Tokyo, was conceived in 2003 as a way for designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. Using the PechaKucha format, presenters display 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds, allowing six minutes and 40 seconds for each presentation. The format was conceived to allow maximum diversity and minimize long-winded, overly intellectual presentations.

Autodesk, Inc., announced that it is opening a 65,000 square-foot office building in Waltham, Mass., to serve as the new headquarters for its architecture, engineering & construction (AEC) division. Autodesk intends to seek Gold LEED Certification through the United States Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED for Core & Shell and Platinum LEED for Commercial Interior programs.

Autodesk has announced the sponsorship of AskNature.org, the world's first biomimicry database, featuring biology-inspired design strategies. Architects, designers and engineers can access and harness nature's billions of years of evolution through this free, online public-domain library, filled with some of nature's best strategies, organized by function and explained with illustrations and in language relevant to designers.

Avatech Solutions, Inc. announced that a growing number of customers are using its professional services to effectively and efficiently implement the technology necessary to design and construct greener buildings. Avatech’s expertise in the areas of building information modeling (BIM) and sustainable design is proving key to architecture and engineering firms that need to comply with the desires of clients and new government regulations.

According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), buildings are the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, but in a new poll conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Autodesk, Inc. only 4 percent of U.S. Adults were aware of this fact. Autodesk, a leader of design innovation software and technologies, is one of more than 1,000 companies coming together in Boston at the 2008 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo to raise awareness about this important issue and present solutions to help the building industry decrease carbon emissions.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative invites public comment on a new report that offers the most comprehensive set of voluntary, national guidelines ever developed for sustainable landscapes. Titled Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks Draft 2008, it provides more than 50 prerequisites and credit options that cover everything from initial site selection design to construction and maintenance. The report is available for comment and download, with a public comment period open until Jan. 20, 2009.

Financials

Avatech Solutions, Inc. announced financial results for its fiscal first quarter ended September 30, 2008.
For the first quarter of fiscal 2009 the Company reported revenues of $10.8 million, compared to $12.4 million in the prior-year quarter. Selling, general & administrative (SG&A) expenses decreased to $4.4 million in the three months ended September 30, 2008, compared to $4.6 million, in the same period of the prior fiscal year.
See press release

People

Quantapoint announced that John Wilson has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of Quantapoint. The selection was made by Quantapoint’s board of directors and by Eric Hoffman, the previous CEO, and is part of Quantapoint’s strategic growth initiative. Wilson succeeds Hoffman, who will remain as Founder, and will focus full-time on the ongoing development of Quantapoint’s innovative and award-winning laser scanning technology and services.

The Open Design Alliance (ODA) announces three organizations joining the ODA as new Founding Members: Carlson Software, Inc., INFRASOFT, and Nanosoft Limited.


New Products

Adapx announced the general availability of Capturx Forms for Excel. Only Capturx enables non-technical teams to create forms in Excel, print them on ordinary paper, and have the handwritten data automatically converted back into the original Excel fields using digital pens. Capturx Forms for Excel can speed up a range of paper-based workflows, including order entry, inspections, service requests, audits, change orders, punch lists, asset reports, and more. Teams get immediate access to digital data without the extra cost or time required to send, scan, or re-type data by hand.

Trimble and Vico Software, Inc. announced the workflow integration of the Vico 5D Virtual Construction(TM) Suite and Trimble construction layout solutions. Now, contractors can create Building Information Models (BIM) in Vico's Virtual Construction software, export the data directly to the Trimble field layout solution and use the highly accurate data to lay out and construct complex buildings and structures.

Google SketchUp Pro 7 has been released, featuring capabilities for creating, modifying and sharing models. All the intuitive modeling, visualization and collaboration features of SketchUp 7, plus exporters for a long list of 2D and 3D vector file formats are included in this release. Also, users can generate tabular reports based on the entities in your models.Features include, LayOut 2 to link models to multi-page 2d presentation documents; Dynamic Components for making smarter models with custom behaviors and attributes, and Style Builder to create custom, sketchy-edge display styles for SketchUp.

Informative Graphics Corporation (IGC), a leader in content visualization, collaboration and redaction technology, announced the release of Brava! Desktop 2.2 and Brava Enterprise 6.1. This release is part of the newly updated Brava Suite of products, which includes the free Brava Reader, Brava Desktop and Brava Enterprise.
Brava Desktop is a simple, cost-effective viewer that runs on the Windows desktop or in Internet Explorer. It can view, print, markup and redact PDF, TIFF, Microsoft XPS and Office, CAD drawings and more. It can also publish files to PDF, TIFF, DWF or secure Content Sealed Format (CSF), which includes our unique Visual Rights technology to control whether the file can be printed, copied or measured and allow users to set an expiration date for the rendition.

Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) released two new suites of integrated sustainable analysis tools – the Architectural Suite and the Architectural Suite Plus. These two new offerings provide architects with early-stage environmental design assistance in a variety of categories, including energy consumption, carbon emissions, LEED Daylighting, solar shading and artificial lighting, enabling them to perform customized analysis for each project.

Elysium Inc., a global provider of design data exchange software, announced the release of CADfeature 8.2.1, their feature-based tool for capturing design intent and remastering design features from one computer-aided design (CAD) system to another. The latest release includes a capability for 2D drawing translation that supports view associativity with the target 3D model, and a tool that translates existing metadata for CAD files.

VizUp 3.1.8 is now available with the following features: The Cadac Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner developing Organice, a SharePoint based engineering document management solution, announces the release of the Organice Solution Accelerator. The Organice Solution Accelerator helps companies to accelerate their SharePoint deployment and to enhance their document management solution with valuable additional functionality.

WinEstimator, Inc., a global leader in the development of project cost estimating software, announced the release of WinEst Version 11. This significant upgrade of WinEst cost estimating software provides a number of new features designed to further support the adoption of WinEst in the Energy, Public Utilities, and Manufacturing market segments.

Around the Web

Meridian, Horizontal partner up to integrate BIM, project management by kkessinger, Construction Software blog,November 17th, 2008 -

Back in September, Meridian Systems, a project management solutions provider, and Horizontal LLC, known for building information modeling (BIM) services, announced a joint partnership to integrate both platforms.

By combining BIM with construction project management tools, all groups within a project, from the architect to the subcontractors, have access to information like never before, both companies said.

Events

 

The Big 5 just got bigger!
Date: November 23 - 27, 2008
Place: Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre
Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai , United Arab Emirates

And better! There's a huge variety of new events and exciting initiatives this year at the biggest construction show in the Middle East. The Big 5 Technical Conference, The Big 5 GAIA Awards are designed to advance high-performance, green building solutions and technologies in the region.

Introduction to ArchiCAD 12 - Accelerating the Design Experience
Date: November 25, 2008
Place: USA

This informative and free seminar is developed expressly for those new to ArchiCAD.

Discover ArchiCAD 12. This live seminar introduces the basic concepts and tools of ArchiCAD. Learn how to work in a Virtual Building™ environment and how to use ArchiCAD's 2-D and 3-D tools

Concrete Canada
Date: December 3 - 5, 2008
Place: Metro Toronto Convention Centre
South Building, Canada

Concrete Canada is a construction trade exposition and conference held on
December 3-5, 2008 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building.  This Show will facilitate and accelerate the exchange of ideas, best practices, and product knowledge with a combination of educational seminars and exposition for this vital industry.

Ecobuild Fall and AEC-ST Fall
Date: December 8 - 11, 2008
Place: Washington Convention Center
Washington, DC USA

Ecobuild Fall and AEC-ST Fall is an annual event that goes beyond green to cover the breadth of green building, sustainable design, renewable energy, environmental planning processes and information collaboration strategies for commercial, industrial, institutional and residential construction. Attendees include the federal government, design and construction decision-makers from the public sector and private practice, AEC professionals, owners, developers, and facility managers - the entire project team in one place, at one time.

buildingSMART™ alliance National Conference
Date: December 8, 2008
Place: Washington Convention Center
Washington, DC USA
The buildingSMART alliance™ National Conference brings together leaders within the building industry who understand and share a vision - to work cooperatively and assist you in your journey toward implementing Building Information Modeling (BIM).

FEDCon®
Date: December 9, 2008
Place: Washington Convention Center
Washington, DC USA

The FEDCon one day conference brings together high-level officials from Federal agencies heavily involved in the design and construction of Federal facilities.

The 23rd Annual Construction SuperConference
Date: December 10 - 12, 2008
Place: The Palace Hotel 2 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94105 USA

The Construction SuperConference, now in its 23rd year, is recognized as the preeminent legal construction conference. With the guidance of the Advisory Board and the expertise and feedback from past participants and long-time supporters of the conference, the program will provide insight into some of the most complex legal and business issues facing the construction industry. 

FEDspec®
Date: December 10, 2008
Place: Washington Convention Center
Washington, DC USA

FEDspec® is the only national conference dedicated to the preparation of written documents on construction projects for Federal agencies. Topics cover: 

  • The latest developments in guide specs and specialty guide specs
  • Updates on green specifications
  • New tools, formats, manufacturer's specs, and vendor services
Affordable BIM for Small Firms - ArchiCAD Start Edition
Date: December 11, 2008
Place: USA

This Webinar demonstrates how small practices can use the Start Edition's building information modeling (BIM) technology to develop their concepts, compete for business more effectively and boost business efficiency.

The ArchiCAD Start Edition is an amazing combination of the latest technology at a sensationally low price!

Introduction to ArchiCAD 12 - Accelerating the Design Experience
Date: December 16, 2008
Place: USA

This informative and free seminar is developed expressly for those new to ArchiCAD.

Discover ArchiCAD 12. This live seminar introduces the basic concepts and tools of ArchiCAD. Learn how to work in a Virtual Building™ environment and how to use ArchiCAD's 2-D and 3-D tools.