It’s been a busy week on the PR and marketing front at Bentley Systems (at least that’s what my email inbox tells me, with eight emails yesterday alone). Of course, this flurry of announcements was predictable – it coincided with the annual BE Conference in Baltimore – but the event itself has also stimulated some conjecture about a possible tie-up between Bentley and arch-rival Autodesk.
On Wednesday, Randall Newton, at a Bentley press conference with CEO Greg Bentley, asked why Autodesk CEO Carl Bass had been pencilled in to participate – Randall apparently got an early draft of an agenda that was subsequently withdrawn. Afterwards, Bentley employees were all refusing to answer. Post-event speculation has ranged from Randall’s “Bentley and Autodesk are close to striking a deal on sharing file format technology” through to Ralph Grabowski’s Speculation: Autodesk to Buy Bentley Systems?
The BE Conference 2008, focused on BEst Practices for Sustaining Infrastructure, also saw the release of the Bentley Annual Report (among the highlights: “Almost 80 percent of the ENR Top 50 rely on ProjectWise collaboration services”), a new Bentley logo, a new corporate website and a new ‘professional networking’ site for Bentley user communities, featuring lots of web 2.0 features. From the press release:
Bentley’s new logo and the new Bentley.com homepage clearly reflect the company’s commitment to sustaining infrastructure – “from buildings to bridges, transit to utilities, clean energy to clean water.” The website features a new design, a new organization around Bentley’s solutions, products, learning, and subscription services, and provides integration with BE Communities, the professional networking site that empowers infrastructure professionals to work smarter, together.
BE Communities is the most complete resource center for architects, engineers, constructors, and other infrastructure practitioners, managers, and executives. The new website, which is currently in final beta, brings together infrastructure professionals from around the globe to connect, communicate, and gain knowledge by interfacing with their peers in solutions communities. Among the BE Communities’ tools are forums, personal blogs, a wiki, and a resource gallery to share documents, photos, videos, and other files. In addition, there’s a resume center where graduates can post their qualifications and advance their careers.