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June 11, 2007
BE Conference 2007 – Platform and Applied Research
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on AECcafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each AEC Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the AEC industry, AEC product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by AECCafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

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Industry News

BE Conference 2007 – Platform and Applied Research

by Susan Smith

GenerativeComponents is an associative design system

Bentley’s BE Conference 2007 held in Los Angeles in May attracted over 2,000 attendees. Some new venues were held, one being the BE Executive Symposium, a panel moderated by SparPoint’s Bruce Jenkins. The four diverse presentations of the symposium were presented by Buddy Cleveland, senior vice president, Bentley Software, who spoke on the newly formed Applied Research Group at Bentley; Doug Eberhard, CIO of Parsons Brinckerhoff, who presented their approach to dealing with some issues facing infrastructure professionals with sustaining both physical and professional infrastructure; Sarah Slaughter, a doctor and profession at the MIT Sloan School, who talked about how
research can work with industry to explore and test theory that industry doesn’t have time to do. Jim Amerault, retired vice admiral with three stars spoke about his work for MELE Associates as COO, planning for smooth and coordinated response to natural disasters.

Bell South has been combining GIS and GPS technologies to be able to sustain their COMS infrastructure. After a major hurricane, there are many services to get back up and running as soon as possible. In many cases is people send a surveyor out to the site, looks at the site, the site perhaps wasn’t recognizable as the same place he visited the last time he was there, and he perhaps doesn’t have the information to tell him specifically what should be there. This can make it difficult for him to know which types of people and what kind of supplies need to be sent out there to fix it. Bell South has all their assets catalogued and located inside a geospatially managed
database. They drive down the road with their GPS and their GPS communicates with the GIS database. MELE Associates is exploring ways for the U.S. Navy to catalogue all their landbased assets.

BE Awards

An interesting case study was award winner Bechtel for their extension to an oil refinery in India. The original refinery built ten years ago is about the size of central London, and it will be doubled in size to extend its capacity. Using ProjectWise, they have shortened the length of time it will take to complete construction from 45 months to 36 months. They have also reduced the number of people working on the project but spread them between nine offices in five different countries. With ProjectWise on the project to connect all of the people with all the information across this distributed enterprise, they have identified measurable savings. “In just three months of
implementing ProjectWise it paid for itself,” reported Joe Croser, global marketing director, Platform Products, in a later interview. “We worked with an independent accounting firm called SmartGroup LLC, to assess what value Bechtel has got out of ProjectWise on this project. They measured ROI as being three months which is four times faster than the industry norm for enterprise content management systems. The ROI then accelerated, so after 12 months they were around about 11 times, 18 months into the project their ROI on ProjectWise is 19 times what it cost them.”

MicroStation Champions

For the MicroStation Champions Program, Bentley took four very experienced MicroStation users, and these users (“champions”) offered advice and answered questions in a “tips and tricks” presentation. “Tips and tricks” are always among the most popular presentations at the conference, and the presentation this year attracted a full house.

An email address was provided for additional audience questions and the audience was invited back on Thursday, when the most frequently asked questions were shared with everyone.


“Athens” is the codename to the next major release from Bentley. “It’s not just going to be MicroStation it’s going to be MicroStation, ProjectWise, and all our vertical applications as well – civil, building, plant etc.,” explained Croser. “As we presented and talked about Athens, we’re really talking about it in the context of four themes: conceptual design, dynamic views, distributed projects and geocoordination. Really those four themes, although they are development specific to Athens, are core to the business of our users on a daily basis. They’re themes that we address with our software. They are themes that we have
frequent discussions with our users about, hence why we are taking those four areas of work and putting additional effort into them as we develop toward the Athens release.”

The Conceptual Design tools are “SketchUp-like” in their ease of use, with new tools for sculpture modeling, directly manipulating surfaces and solids. Modeling in MicroStation is fairly agnostic when it comes to surfaces, solids and meshes, because MicroStation has the ability to use almost any geometric representation in the solid/surface/mesh lineup. Historically users have had to master different toolsets within MicroStation to be able to work with solids, surfaces and meshes. Conceptual design in Athens provides a single toolset that will enable you to manipulate any of those geometry types with a reduced number of tool options, which make it much easier to learn
and use, rather than picking up different tools to deal with your model.

Dynamic Views, discussed in
last week's GISWeekly, is a feature which allows you to render elements with a view either by element or region. You can model a building in 3D and you can slice plans, sections and elevations and look in any view at any time, automatically and dynamically seeing your drawing sheet layout as you would expect to see it for a 2D representation for a drawing. Yet it gives you a viewed life in the model and you can work in any view at any time.

Distributed Projects relate to ProjectWise and additional enhancements. There are two major enhancements. 1) a continuation of previous work as it relates to integration with Microsoft Office SharePoint and with the Athens release. “We will be able to use the SharePoint web parts and we have to expose ProjectWise managed content through the SharePoint portal browser,” explained Croser. “We’ll be able to have full check in and check out and read/write capabilities within that environment. At the moment, when we display an exposed ProjectWise content through a SharePoint portal, we do it just for view only so people can access documents but they can’t
make changes to them and they can’t write back to ProjectWise. With Athens we’ll be able to write straight back to ProjectWise.”

2) Delta file transfer can be used if you have a big file of any kind such as Power Point, CAD, or image file, and you store it on a system somewhere centrally where people can get it. When you check it out and download it to your computer, you wait while the bulk of that file is moved across the network. You might make a small change to it and push it back, then you have to move the whole bulk back again because it’s a file. With Delta file transfer, it will do a check and see what’s changed and only move the part of the file that has been changed back to the file. “In performance testing we’ve conducted so far, it makes some large files 90 plus percent
faster to move around the network for sharing,” said Croser. “It’s really important now that many people are using ProjectWise.” Croser said that the ENR top 500 design firms list came out a week or two ago. From the 2006 list, 42 of 50 leaders in ENR 500 now use ProjectWise.

Geocoordination continues the work done with Google Earth last year and takes it to the next level, so it takes all existing ProjectWise geospatial management and all of the existing geospatial coordinate systems that are available in some of Bentley’s geospatial MicroStation applications and putting those as a core component into MicroStation and ProjectWise. Anybody designing anything can now work in true real world or state plane coordinates and coordinate their work around the world accurately to locate it on the world without any issue of using different coordinate systems and finding that files don’t come together in reference properly.

Applied Research Group

Buddy Cleveland presented a talk on the new Applied Research Group at Bentley. Bentley has always invested in research, so what is new about this group? Cleveland said that their research has been very much product focused, which makes it subject to product delivery deadlines and schedules, and thus within a short time horizon. Without an exclusive focus, said Cleveland, it’s nearly impossible for the company to distinguish research from product development, difficult to gauge the magnitude of our research investments on the one hand, much less the return on these investments on the other.

A project around the concept of Digital Pen & Paper, licensed from

The Applied Research Group, from a business point of view, is intended to help Bentley increase the visibility of its investments to make sure they are aligned with their business objectives and the customers’ business objectives.

Bentley’s mission is to look “beyond the next release of software, and to identify white space in solutions, determine where we can bring new technologies to you, in support of improving the world’s infrastructure.”

The mission will be executed on one project at a time, some will involve internally prototyped development, others will be joint projects with other organizations, technology providers or partners.

Examples of types of Applied Research projects:

1) Projects to implement new software that uses new capabilities in existing areas and provides capabilities in new areas. Bentley’s GenerativeComponents (GC) is an example of this type of project. GC is “an associative design system, giving designers and engineers new ways to efficiently explore alternative building forms without manually building the detail design model for each scenario,” according to its chief architect and spokesperson, director of Research & Senior Scientist at Bentley, Robert Aish. GC is also Bentley’s first true research project. Aish is now a colleague in Applied Research, and the first version of the software will be released soon.

2) Incorporating new technology into existing Bentley products, example: a project around the concept of Digital Pen & Paper. Licensed from
Anoto, this technology incorporates a special pen that accurately captures and stores marks made by that pen, and does it by way of special optics in the pen that can record where that pen is based on a microdot pattern embedded into the paper. This microdot pattern is unique over an extremely large area, roughly the size of Europe and Asia combined. “Our project is focused on validating and prototyping the integration of this technology into our project content management
and plotting capabilities,” said Cleveland. “If successful, this will enable users to use their standard paper plots to electronically record and manage their comments and as builts information as if they had been done on computer with an application like Bentley Redline.

Update on where Bentley is with the project to date: the idea is to open ProjectWise plot organizer, sign into ProjectWise, open plot set of project drawings, pick some plots to send, user will just say I want to enable Digital Paper. Once plots are generated user can use pen and pick up the paper and start writing with the pen. They don’t have to tell it which drawing they’re writing on, they can go to next sheet, they don’t have to tell it they’re going to another sheet. The paper itself looks a little gray with microdots. Once it’s done, the user can upload the pen marks into ProjectWise using Bluetooth, once loaded, log into ProjectWise, ProjectWise
knows automatically, has related the microdot pattern to the actual version, and plot number plotted, so when it opens the pen marks it knows what file was being marked up and creates a Bentley Redline file. The user can check the redline file and make any comments. Then the user can then check that into ProjectWise. Mark Smith is the principal researcher on this project.

3) Application of existing products in totally new areas. Current project: To prototype a general framework for geolocating remote sensing devices and providing capabilities for managing and accessing those devices using ProjectWise, alongside all the other content that ProjectWise manages. The devices could range from remote video, environmental sensors of all types. “The objective of this project is to bring together real time information from diverse types of sensors so you can see where they are, and understand how they fit within the context of the infrastructure asset, not just physically where they are, but in the context of design data, analysis data, documentation ,
software applications and emergency procedures,” said Cleveland.

The example of the floor plan of building 1 of the Exton campus was given, including icons for security cameras which are registered in ProjectWise and are geolocated on the floor plan. If the user would like to open that camera using the interface, he/she can use the mouse and drag the camera around to look around the room.

“We’ve implemented this prototype within the standard project XM with the geospatial extension version of ProjectWise, and we’re now in the process of extending this prototype to encompass a much broader range of devices,” Cleveland said. “Simply by registering and locating real time devices within ProjectWise, we can extend the scope of the content managed by ProjectWise to include the real time conditions of an infrastructure asset and really transform it into a real time asset.”


Autodesk, Inc. announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire NavisWorks, a privately-held company based in Sheffield, England that provides software for 3D coordination, collaboration and sequencing in design and construction for approximately $25 million in USD cash, subject to a working capital adjustment. The acquisition underscores Autodesk’s commitment to help its customers derive the greatest possible value from the information created during all phases of the design process.

Deltek, a provider of enterprise applications software for project-focused organizations, announced that it has acquired WST Pacific (WSTP), its longtime earned value management (EVM) partner, to add additional EVM skilled development, services and support resources.

Co-founded by Mike Boulton and Tony Scuteri in 1991, WSTP is Deltek's Australia-based partner and has provided development services for the company's Cobra, Open Plan, WelcomHome and WelcomPortfolio products. WSTP has had a long relationship with Deltek and with Welcom, which Deltek acquired in March 2006. Also in 2006, Deltek acquired CS Solutions, Inc. (C/SSI), the world's principal producer of Business Intelligence tools for the EVM marketplace.


Research and Markets
has announced the addition of Frost & Sullivan's new report: North American Intelligent Buildings Market - A Snapshot to their offering.

The research service titled North American Intelligent Buildings Market - A Snapshot provides an overview of the intelligent buildings market, the benefits of intelligent buildings, the key market forces, current trends in the market and an overview of some leading market participants.

For more information visit the


Autodesk, Inc. announced that, following the completion of its voluntary review of the Company's stock option grant practices and related accounting issues, it has filed its fiscal 2007 financial statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The review covered the period from January 1988 through August 2006 and resulted in aggregate pre-tax, non-cash charges of $34.8 million over the entire period. On a GAAP basis, diluted earnings per share for fiscal 2007 were $1.19, and restated diluted earnings per share for fiscal years 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003 were $1.35, $0.90, $0.50 and $0.12, respectively. See size="2">
press release


Deltek, a leading provider of enterprise applications software for project-focused organizations, has named Warren Brown, a veteran of The Boeing Company, Iridium Satellite, and most recently vice president of marketing for iDirect Technologies, as the company's new vice president of strategic communications.

McGraw-Hill Construction (MHC), part of The McGraw-Hill Companies, announced the appointment of William J. Paolillo as vice president, Sales. In this position, Paolillo will lead MHC's Contractors & Services (C&S) sales channel. His responsibilities include increasing adoption of, and satisfaction with, MHC's products; optimizing existing general contractor and subcontractor sales channels and developing new ones; and extending C&S's reach within the $4.6 trillion global construction community.

Synergis Engineering Design Solutions (EDS), a division of Synergis Technologies, Inc., announced that Jim Law, Synergis solutions engineer was honored for the second consecutive year with an Autodesk(R) Authorized Training Center (ATC(R)) Performance Award for his role as an outstanding regional instructor. Law, who has been teaching others how to maximize their Autodesk architectural applications for over 13 years, was evaluated against his peer group of computer-aided design (CAD) instructors across the Northeast using criteria which included student evaluations, Autodesk's performance standards, and his commitment to excellence in training.

New Products

Matrox Graphics Inc. announced the release of the Matrox PowerDesk-SE 2.04 display driver featuring a new Joined graphics card mode and improved widescreen resolution support. The enhancements in this driver provide more control for displaying information across multiple screens—a critical requirement for professionals in industries such as financial trading, energy management, train dispatch, and process control.

Synergis Software, the independent software development division of Synergis Technologies, Inc., announced the availability of Adept Explorer™, a thin, web-based client designed for people who need to review or consume engineering and business-related information stored in Adept document management. Adept Explorer complements Adept’s full-featured desktop client, offering a simplified interface and allowing users to find, view, print, redline, assign and copy documents based on their permissions in Adept.

AVEVA , the leading provider of plant and marine design and engineering lifecycle solutions, launched AVEVA Marine at the AVEVA Marine Users' Meeting in Busan, Korea.

AVEVA Marine is a portfolio of integrated design and production products combined with open and flexible lifecycle management solutions.

Autodesk, Inc. announced that Autodesk Showcase 2008 software products are now shipping and available for purchase through Autodesk authorized resellers and direct sales teams worldwide. The latest release of Autodesk Showcase represents a new benchmark in enterprise visualization, dramatically improving the efficiency, reliability and cost effectiveness of the design review process.

GTX® Corporation
, the leader in providing Intelligent Paper to CAD Solutions® in raster editing and conversion software and intelligent digital imaging solutions, announced the new release of its popular GTXRaster CAD® Series for the released AutoCAD® 2008.

The new VariCAD 2007 2.01 enhancements include completely new tools for 3D shells, 3D pipelines and 3D wires, a substantially improved 3D editing function allowing more complex editing, significantly improved STEP file import, new 3D checking functions, an extended tutorial and quick demonstration with new Flash examples, etc. To evaluate the latest version of VariCAD, download a free 30-day trial version.

ProSoft, nationally known for industry leading MicroStation®, InRoads®, and AutoCAD® courseware, has announced the release of the new Revit Architecture 2008 Fundamentals Exercise Workbook.

Adobe Systems Incorporated
announced the immediate availability of Adobe(r) Acrobat(r) 3D Version 8 software, a major upgrade to the desktop application for driving document-based 3D design collaboration and CAD data interoperability capabilities to virtually anyone inside manufacturing organizations and across the global supply chain.

Revit Architecture 2008 Fundamentals Exercise Workbook - Provides a detailed introduction to Revit Architecture 2008 design software (formerly Revit Building). Readers will use a realistic workflow to design and model a complete office building, offering an understanding of how Revit Architecture can assist in designing architectural projects. Appropriate as a self-training tool or for a 3-day instructor-led training class. Spiral bound. 900 pages. Exercise dataset CD included.

CollabNet, the primary sponsor of the Subversion(TM) open source project and leading provider of collaborative software development solutions, and Sun Microsystems announced the availability of the world's first Virtualized Development Platform (VDP) for distributed software development. Powered by CollabNet CUBiT, the ground-breaking virtualization solution for managing and provisioning distributed development, build and test environments, the VDP uses the Sun Blade(TM) 6000 modular system to help development organizations centralize their development operations infrastructure, increase build and test quality, and reduce the cost of their infrastructure by up to 50%. This
combined solution is available for on-site deployment at a client's location, or on-demand offered within CollabNet's world-class SaaS offerings.

Upcoming Events

Date: June 10 - 14, 2007

Place: Hilton London Metropole

London, United Kingdom
BE, which stands for “Bentley Empowered,” represents the achievements of Bentley users, how Bentley can help them reach their goals, and the common vision and causes Bentley and users share.

Date: June 11 - 12, 2007
Place: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
This conference examines new capital infrastructure plans, science building designs, construction details, and the facility operations and management models for Canada’s fast-growing, leading-edge research and science teaching agenda. Here you’ll get the advanced concepts, details, and costs (capital and operating) for cost-effective, flexible, long-lived science buildings housing science teaching, medical research, imaging, animal programs, biocontainment, and vibrant non-lab interaction “where science really gets done.”

Date: June 20 - 22, 2007
Place: Baltimore, MD USA
Debuting at The CSI Show in Baltimore, the Product Education Lab will provide exhibiting companies an additional opportunity to ensure key attendees and buyers see the new, exciting and industry-changing products they have to offer.

Date: June 25 - 29, 2007
Place: Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa

Honolulu, HI USA
Welcome to the 2007 International CAD Conference and Exhibition.The conference is aimed at CAD researchers, educators, developers, vendors, and the business community dealing with CAD technology and its financial issues. The exhibition is open to all CAD businesses including software houses, hardware manufacturers, vendors, e-businesses, educators, publishers and sectors from various government agencies. CAD'07 has tutorial presentations, parallel paper sessions, product demonstrations, and several forms of exhibits.

Date: June 26 - 28, 2007
Place: San Jose, CA USA
We periodically organize a 2- and a 3-day "Piping Design and Analysis" seminar in San Jose, Calif., which includes theoretical and practical training on piping design, stress analysis (statics, dynamics), piping code compliance issues and CAEPIPE usage. The class will be taught by our engineering manager (Instructors), who has a doctoral degree in Mechanical Engrg., and has over 25 years experience in the field including shells, nuclear containments and plant design, and an ASME/B31 code committee member (former chairman of B31 Technical Design Committee, see profile) with over 40 years experience.

Date: June 27 - 28, 2007
Place: W Hotel

Set Your Sights on Success with Enterprise Visualization

AutoVue Customer Cimm’posium 2007 is Cimmetry System’s first User & Partner Conference, and is a great opportunity to network with market leaders in major industries who have used enterprise visualization to enhance product development performance, achieve faster time-to-market, and meet corporate demands for profitable growth.


You can find the full AECCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.