Bentley and Trimble collaborating over construction modelling, while Bentley ProjectWise CONNECT makes Bentley collaboration even more widely available.
On Friday afternoon, I blogged about Trimble’s new entry into the cloud-based BIM collaboration market, and it appears that one thing Trimble didn’t mention ahead of its biannual user conference in Las Vegas this week was an increasingly close relationship with Bentley Systems. Attending Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure 2014 (post) pre-conference press briefing in London today, I heard that the two companies have today publicly committed to supporting “construction modelling“.
Recognising that the building information modelling (BIM) needs of constructors are often different, but complementary, to those of designers, Bentley and Trimble are developing capabilities that support construction-specific modelling requirements including: temporary works, intelligent positioning, “splitting and sequencing,” detailing for fabrication, workface planning, construction work packaging, and support for distributed construction. Architects’ and engineers’ work is preserved and referenced, with construction modelling overlaid and as-built changes included (read Trimble’s news release here).
Bentley and Trimble are pooling resources for product development:
- sharing schemas across design and construction applications to ensure that constructible models maintain semantic fidelity;
- leveraging Bentley’s i-models for construction deliverables to and from the companies’ respective software and hardware, when used together in project delivery;
- joining forces to advance standards, and
- leveraging some common modelling software for virtual and physical alignment.
In a whirlwind of software briefings in London, I saw Bentley’s vice president, construction and field, Harry Vitelli briefly demonstrate information mobility between the two firms’ products – for example, engineers can create intelligent field data in Bentley Navigator, manage those point sets in Bentley’s ProjectWise, and securely deliver them to Trimble field solutions via Trimble Field Link, effectively connecting the the design office and positioning devices on-site. Vitelli says:
“Bentley’s ongoing collaboration with Trimble is delivering real-world solutions that will transform the design to construction workflow – for example, by enabling greatly enhanced information mobility through Bentley’s recently announced ProjectWise CONNECT Edition [see below] and Trimble’s recently announced Trimble Connect platform. Both of our companies share the belief that construction modeling will offer new levels of construction data visibility. We also share a commitment to the provision of advancements in design-to-construction workflows that bring new value to our users in the project delivery space.”
In late September, Bentley announced the availability of ProjectWise Essentials: “a cloud-based, instant-on design integration environment” for all projects that uses Microsoft’s Azure platform to deliver the service (launched last year). Described as “Software at your service” (as distinct from Software-as-a-Service), the environment provides immediate access to ProjectWise. Bentley has been highlighting how the platform – usually internally managed – is used by 81 of the ENR Top 100 design firms, and how these firms report 14% higher professional utilisation by using ProjectWise. Now ProjectWise is being extended to all firms, with Bentley managing the system or server administration that previously may have deterred smaller firms.
In London, Huw Roberts and Nicole Stephano described the new ProjectWise service as “a leap into the future”, helping connect dispersed teams, ensure data integrity, and enable role-based access (a bit hyped, perhaps, as several other Software-as-a-Service construction collaboration providers have been delivering such capabilities since the early 2000s). Where it does differ, maybe, is that the Bentley – and now Trimble – eco-system is now much more connected. Last year’s McGraw Hill Information Mobility report (post) highlighted many organisations’ concerns about information security, said Nicole, and had created a chasm between work in progress internally and deliverables exchange externally; “ProjectWise CONNECT brings these together,” she said, helping support BIM workflows across distributed teams.
Moreover, ProjectWise Essentials lets project teams interact with project information in views that directly relate to specific task requirements, without needing the authoring applications. These views include a spatial view for map-based navigation, a web view for online browser access, a permissions view for access control management, a dependency view for understanding and managing complex file relationships, and a component view to search across 2D and 3D content.
Another Bentley “Software at Your Service” is SITEOPS. Acquired in August and announced in September, SITEOPS is an impressive cloud-based optioneering toolset which allows engineers to rapidly explore and evaluate dozens of alternative approaches to site developments. In just minutes, Mike Detwiler (VP SITEOPS product development) demonstrated how conceptual site configuration can be rapidly assessed for layout, parking, grading and drainage options, providing cost-effective early stage inputs to projects.