An integrated environment - The solution that Geo-Engineering requires

We have had to live a glorious moment at a point where different disciplines, processes, actors, trends and tools are converging towards the end user. The requirement in the field of Geo-engineering today is to have solutions with which the final object can be made and not only the parts; just as it always was, though -understand- that the conditions of standardization, connectivity and technological progress as seen today are not always taken advantage of.

Based on this, the latest alliances of the great suppliers of solutions for Geo-engineering have been to ensure a continuous flow from the conceptualization, through the acquisition of inputs in the field, modeling, design, construction and the disposition of this result in an operating environment that will give continuity to the object that has been built; be it a building, a bridge, an industrial plant or a protected area of ​​the forest. While internally all these objects are made up of files that carry their physical, electrical, legal, occupation or market life, it is true that these are only radiographs of a whole that finally interests an interested party.

As an example in this «Integrated Environment», the approach to which the evolution of CONNECT Edition solutions aspires is interesting, where the manufacturer has announced its blackout of existing applications between 2019 and 2021, going from multiple (quite a few) solutions to a few with which the large processes of this cycle. For this, it has materialized the value of the latest acquisitions, transferring it to the user with a solution that for now we have only been able to glimpse in the recent events in Singapore and London.

Although there are other providers of solutions for Geo-Engineering betting on this objective, in this analysis of the editor of this site we refer to Bentley Systems, whose CONNECT edition constitutes that combination of the lightweight trend of applications with web logic, with automatic updates with the simplicity of JavaScript (I-model.js) and the robustness of a desktop client that will remain Microstation. At this stage, with an open-source approach that we previously saw very biased; connected to integrated solutions for the main macroprocess professionals, who have not yet been given a name, and whom Geofumadas has been calling Geo-Engineering.

What is Bentley's bet

As a priority line, we have already said it, integral solutions. Looking to add value to users as a result of the investments made in the acquisition and development of recent tools -but of course, integrating the processes for the end user-. In a curious way, we no longer see solutions in the new CONNECT series that sound like terms like «Topography (Siteworks / geopack)», understood as a simple means to an end; since nobody makes a DTM to paint it pretty and hang it on the wall; all terrain modeling goes because it is expected to develop an infrastructure or urban / environmental development on it.

Then there is a complementary integration with the strategic partners of BentleySystems, such as Topcon at the end of the capture and rethinking of models in the field; Microsoft products that will potentiate Azure connectivity, adoption for work purposes -no entertainment- of augmented reality with disruptive solutions such as Holo-lens2 and something with the geolocation of Bing; Siemens that will go on the Internet from -all the rest- things and the massification of the digital twins prioritized in industrial engineering. Bentley will hardly be the modeller of the infrastructure life cycle -nothing less-.

Thus, the four solutions prioritized to evolve are:

Microstation Connect Edition

This will continue to be the generic modeling tool, with a cleaner interface, teaching associated with the use of the tools, and automatic updates without the need for re-installations. Also with a modeling approach, it will come with annotations based on object properties, easier reporting and less flat visualization. In terms of tools, greater parameterization of solids, intrinsic georeference and photo-realistic visualizations are expected. Finally, in terms of potential, an even more efficient management of larger files is sought, enhancing more 64 bits and interacting with the cloud.

With all this, it will still be the drawing table.  Which seeks to make the DGN more accessible with the API open and integrated to Hubs, on the I-model.js line. This is expected to mass the use of vertical solutions.

Because of the way Bentley software works, whose dgn file and development is stable over the long term, it will be interesting to see how loyal users gradually embrace evolved solutions. Of course, it will depend on the added values and the license re-conversion mechanisms that the company offers at the software as a service level. Although, it will not surprise us, that many will remain beyond the support time offered, from what we have seen to this day in the processes that we have personally implemented. This configuration applies to the generality of current applications where a timeline has been defined for the legacy tools of the SELECT series and open the way to the new series called CONNECT.

  • Legacy licenses prior to SELECT Series such as V8, XM and 2004 will no longer be supported.
  • The licenses of first versions of SELECT, we suppose 1 and 2, will have Support until July of 2019.
  • Licenses of recent versions of SELECT Series will be supported until January of 2021.
  • The licenses of the CONNECT series will not have support interruption.

OpenRoads Connect Edition

This will be the solution for road infrastructures, with intrinsic functionalities of topography, modeling, and under an object life cycle approach. Hence the reason that Bentley added value in recent acquisitions, as an example the company that dominates the labeling of roads in the United States; Let's just imagine a barcode that includes the characteristics of that asset associated with a design, construction, maintenance, expansion or demolition file.

An integrated environment is not solved by connecting data. That makes a computer tool good or bad. Process integration is necessary.

Engagement capabilities with stakeholders (people), data, and workflows are expected; automation of construction project file (budget and time scheduling). In terms of integration with the context, better adoption is expected in tasks such as inspection and asset management, which includes evaluation of existing conditions, modeling of as-built objects from data collected in the field in the form of realistic mesh surfaces. . Regarding interoperability, the bet is to go beyond the data model, towards the processes to be able to speak the same language with Revit (from Autodesk), Tekla (from Trimble), among others.

It is clear that many functionalities of this vertical solution will be mobile-oriented, at least for what ProjectWise / AssetWise supports behind, but they will have to talk to the desktop solution (Microstation). OpenRoads proposes to insist on the paradigm shift of segmentation between the surveyor, builder, designer and operator; being able to work on a real life model, with application of design changes in real time minimizing steps, forms and those gaps that we have experienced, those of us who have developed projects kilometers away from the office, with 36 degrees centigrade temperature and the stress of being out of date due to inclement weather.

Tremendous challenge, considering that bet that Bentley has called «Common Modeling Environment«, In which it is hoped that a road axis connecting two cities is a living object, that conceptualization as a business model matters for a private concession operator, but that its digital twins are files where there is a reality on the parcels adjacent to those that affect or restrict use as a road easement, which has a geometric design associated with traffic and speeds, as well as a physical configuration linked to a unit cost budget broken down into materials, labor, equipment and sub-contracts. It's part of the added value of integrating recent acquisitions like Synchro, AlWorx, and ContextCapture with AssetWise. A master data management logic that I want to see!

OpenBuildings Connect Edition

Here we will see the great effort to potentiate what AECOsim already does, as a complete solution for architects in that flow that allows conceptualization of volumes, spaces, functionalities, mobility; as well as for engineers in design aspects of plumbing, electricity, air conditioning systems, etc. Additionally, this design aims to include a successful integration with costs and programming for its execution (Synchro), including its modeling and monitoring for the delivery of the project, for Indoors management as an asset and its insertion into the real estate environment of the initial interested party in all this investment.

The proposed functionalities are based on the potentialization of the simplicity of CAD towards a BIM standardization, with the possibility of scaling from small designs to complex infrastructures. The offer of compliance with IFC and ISM standards is promising, which would be a great opportunity to synchronize people, data and projects in a disciplinary separation that facilitates easy operation, as was a well planned and organized project out there before the software came. . As in OpenRoads, OpenBuildings involves the subject of topography and environment modeling, being able to produce photorealistic results on surfaces from point clouds and continuous capture photogrammetric models.

In the best scenario, OpenBuildings seeks in a common environment, to be a solution that has the complexity of the detail as it is structured a porcelain tile with all its inputs, as well as the analysis of everything in aspects such as HVAC analysis (energy efficiency, ventilation, lighting, etc.)

STAAD.Pro Connect Edition

Separated from the solutions for the other branches of engineering, it is specifically STAAD for structural engineers. We are clear that this is from civil engineers whose interest goes beyond making residential buildings.

Valuable, that this version will come with more than 90 international codes and with functionalities to other infrastructure works that require structural design; it also offers integration in the flow that goes between physical design, analytical design and three-dimensional modeling; as OpenBuildings will include interoperability with Revit, Tekla and the workflows that includes the relation topographer - architect - civil engineer - mechanical / electrical engineer.

As a tangible result, it is expected to optimize the analysis times up to 200 times over the traditional processes, interesting because the structural design is hard to automate to make it a maquila, but it can be optimized by being connected to the interactions with the other disciplines and the possibility of managing large projects.


Finally, in these 5 priorities of the CONNECT series, there is the topic of Waters. It seems to us a totally successful bet, considering that modeling, design and construction cannot be separated from this phenomenon that, beyond being associated with natural disasters, entails an interest in the environmental issue and a resource of high value in the coming decades.

Here a greater integration with geospatial is expected, prioritized over BingMaps and BingRoads (from strategic partner Microsoft). The theme of water networks Bentley already does it well, at a functional level, although with limited visual capacity, where we would expect it to become more attractive; of course if they improve the reporting and immersion functionalities with the topographic environment / infrastructures it will be great.

In conclusion

It will be good to see him live this year in Singapore, where he will surely show projects that already have an advance in this logic that he hopes to boost CONNECT Edition in a transversal way. This seen for both obvious solutions and budget, modeling of the construction process, as for the modeling cities and Internet of things that although they are transversal, do not have a specific user -for the time being-. What is certain is that they can add a lot of value if they are placed in a visionary way in the value chain that goes from the management of the information to the management of the operation; referring to that chain that for technical users can be GIS - CAD - BIM - DigitalTwin - SmartCity but under a process lens is the Capture - Modeling - Design - Construction - Operation.

It will also be good to see the bet of the other competitors who have an overview. There will be time to talk about them.

Congratulations on this commitment to comprehensive solutions, which is the minimum that users expect in terms of Geo-Engineering; whose priority interests are simple in reducing times, reducing costs and traceability. Of course, this implies that the solutions allow connecting teams of people, workflows in the complete management of the project cycle.

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