A&C TODAY INTERVIEW WITH ANNE-MARIE WALTERS

 Bentley Applications provides  Real-World context for Design,  Engineering, Construction and  Operations...

Anne-Marie Walters,
Bentley Systems Inc., Industry Marketing Director, Process and Resources

Over its history, Bentley Systems has greatly expanded the breadth and depth of the comprehensive software solutions for sustaining infrastructure that it provides to architects, engineers, geospatial professionals, constructors, and owner-operators. In the process, it has established a number of strong brands in software solutions for diverse industries. Brief us on its voyage and share some of the company’s milestones.

Our 2014 Annual Report, available in print and as an app, provides a 30-year historical timeline for Bentley. Introduced in 1986, our flagship platform MicroStation has been advanced into our ever-growing information modeling applications portfolio, serving and spanning all infrastructure disciplines in design modeling. ProjectWise, launched in 1998, completes the reach of collaboration services, as the common performance environment for comprehensive project delivery.. And in 2010 our AssetWise asset performance management (AssetWise APM) platform was initiated, which supports solutions to improve asset performance. With our recent acquisition of Amulet, we have extended asset performance management to asset performance modeling, enabling operational decision support with input from performance and maintenance history and condition sensors, applying predictive and prescriptive analytics to improve safety and throughput. In 1991, Bentley introduced a maintenance and support offering that would lay the groundwork for its innovative subscription-based business model. Bentley’s SELECT subscription enables our users to meet ever-changing project requirements in a highly flexible and cost-effective manner.

To advance its users beyond computer-aided design (CAD) and empower them to create intelligent infrastructure, Bentley began to add discipline-specific design modeling applications to its portfolio in 2000, including InRoads, GEOPAK, and MX for road, rail, and site design and AutoPLANT for process plant design. Today, Bentley’s application offerings encompass all infrastructure disciplines for the design modeling of virtually every infrastructure asset.

Bentley’s advancement into analytical modeling applications, which simulate a design model’s behavior under various physical conditions and enable optioneering, began in 2004. The next five years would bring to Bentley’s portfolio the Haestad products for hydrology and hydraulic design and analysis; RAM, STAAD, and ProSteel for structural engineering and analysis; RM Bridge for the design and structural analysis of bridges; and Hevacomp building energy analysis software. The acquisition in 2008 of ConstructSim for workface planning was our first major advancement into construction modeling, which overlays the design modeling with construction sequencing, craft assignments, and materials procurement status. With the release of ProjectWise Construction Work Package Server in 2014, Bentley’s offering extended to comprehensive work packaging, bringing unprecedented visibility into the path of construction.

The 2011 acquisition of Pointools software for processing and editing point clouds and the 2015 acquisition of Acute3D and its software that creates 3D representations from digital photography, set the stage for reality modeling. Now point clouds and Acute3D reality meshes can be directly referenced in Bentley applications, providing real-world context for design, engineering, construction and operations.

That brings us to our introduction in 2015 of the CONNECT Edition of our products, providing the first common environment for comprehensive project delivery. The common environment unifies work across the entire project ecosystem and over the full lifecycle of the project. The CONNECT Edition helps improve the performance of project delivery, provided increased visibility to reduce risk.

Could you please tell us what are the major industry segments that Bentley Systems has been catering in present scenario, and which industry has the maximum potential for you in the near future?

Bentley addresses the built environment across many industries. Our business is spread across our core focus areas of transportation, government, utilities, mining, industrial process (including oil and gas), manufacturing, and buildings.

What makes Bentley Systems different from other industrial software solution companies for industrial process, offshore, and natural resources industries?

Our primary differentiator is our common environment for comprehensive project delivery, which is established through Bentley’s CONNECT Edition. The CONNECT Edition provides a purposefully connected environment to improve the performance of infrastructure projects and assets from design through construction and operations. Leveraging the reach and computing power of the Microsoft Azure cloud, and supporting a hybrid environment that includes on-premise servers, desktop applications, and mobile apps, the CONNECT Edition completes the reach of information mobility for advancing infrastructure. We know of no other vendor that can provide such comprehensive and open information management supporting the lifecycle of an infrastructure asset from design through construction and into operations.

The common environment comprises a common modeling environment providing individuals in multi-discipline project teams with the fit-for-purpose tools they need to do their work; a common performance environment empowering teams to extend beyond design integration to comprehensive project delivery; and a common data environment that ensures the integrity of project information over the project lifecycle and across an accumulating portfolio of projects by leveraging the same DGN file format for V8i and the CONNECT Edition.

Bentley Systems is synonymous with comprehensive software solutions for sustaining infrastructure specifically for process manufacturing industries. Could you please highlight industrial process software solutions outline?

Our applications for the process industry include the following primary capability areas:

  • Multi-discipline plant design and engineering covering piping and pipe-stress analysis, equipment and press vessel design and analysis, structural, electrical, raceway and cable, HVAC, civil/site work, and building design and analysis. Our offerings in these areas include OpenPlant, AutoPIPE, AutoPIPE Vessel, STAAD, SACS, Promise, Bentley Raceway and Cable Management, AECOsim, Descartes, and SITEOPS. Some examples and their capabilities encompass:
  • Reality modelling including point clouds (from laser scans) & digital photogrammetry for capturing existing asset information. Our offerings here include ContextCapture (Acute3D) and Pointools.
  • Comprehensive project delivery, including engineering content management and construction work-face planning. These are provided by our ProjectWise collaboration software and services.
  • Asset lifecycle information management (ALIM), which is supported by our AssetWise ECM offering.
  • A reliability-centred approach to operations and maintenance, which is supported by our AssetWise APM offering.
  • Predictive and prescriptive analytics, which is provided by our AssetWise Amulet offering.

Any breakthrough software solutions for process manufacturing industries that made a transformational change?

There are three areas in which our software is delivering to our users a step change in performance. The first is OpenPlant, which is the emerging pacesetter for plant design. Based on the ISO 15926 industry data standard and using Bentley’s common modeling environment, OpenPlant is overcoming the interoperability challenges that organizations face when using different systems for their role in the project. OpenPlant enables design teams to collaborate in real time to deliver projects faster and enable a smoother handover to construction and operations. The Russian 2015 Be Inspired Awards entry in the Innovation in Process Manufacturing category is an excellent example. It entails constructing a new plant for the production of methylchlorosilane, a raw material used in the production of silicone. Among the products used on the project were OpenPLANT, ProjectWise, Bentley Raceway and Cable Management, AutoPLANT, Bentley Navigator, Promise, and ProStructures.

The second area is Bentley’s engineering content management solution common to ProjectWise and AssetWise, coupled with our APM solution. Users of our ECM technology have a modern, database platform to make significant performance improvements rather than simply keeping records and maintaining compliance.

The third area is in operational analytics. Our Amulet software is transforming how companies operate their assets, bringing data together from across the business and using external factors to optimize such things as chemical usage for corrosion and energy usage based on weather patterns.

Internet of Things (IoT) and Connected Enterprise technologies adoption are essential for increasing safety of the plant, people, and assets. How can industry strengthen modern technologies through Bentley Systems’ industrial software solutions for plant, people, assets, and the future of industrial process, offshore, and natural resources industries?

As I mentioned earlier, our solutions bring together information from many sources including IoT technologies to enable engineers to work more effectively together to design plants that are safer to build and operate. Our AssetWise platform turns data into actionable information for safer and more efficient maintenance and operations. For example, the latest version of AssetWise APM – an all-in-one analysis and information management software platform – has specific new functionality to support safety reviews. AssetWise APM V7.3 meets the demanding requirements of reliability, integrity, safety, and maintenance managers and engineers in industries ranging from oil and gas, petrochemical, and mining and metals to power generation and other utilities. For more information about AssetWise APM V7.3, your readers can access the press release announcement. Bentley’s acquisition of Amulet extends asset performance management to asset performance modeling, enabling operational decision support with input from performance and maintenance history and condition sensors (crucial components of the IoT), applying predictive and prescriptive analytics to improve safety and throughput.

How did you utilize the ARC Advisory Group’s India forum as a platform to increase the company’s product visibility in the Indian market and generate leads?

Bentley has always been known in India as a leader in solutions for infrastructure design and engineering, but we are less known in this region for our solutions for asset lifecycle information management and asset performance management. At ARC’s India Forum we highlighted these capabilities and made a case for the use of one of our newest capabilities, asset performance modeling, which I mentioned earlier. Through the forum, we were able to raise awareness of these solutions and cited case studies to prove their successful application today around the globe, as well as elaborate on the many benefits they are affording users.

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