Bentley acquires E7

Bentley Systems has acquired E7, a Brisbane, Australia-based specialist in construction delivery software for heavy civil projects – formerly known as Envision (post).

Bentley logo 2017Bentley says the acquisition (announced on 25 February 2021 – no terms disclosed) will add to its project delivery capabilities to helps civil contractors meet schedule and budget requirements of infrastructure investment programmes. Specifically, it will extend the capabilities of Bentley’s digital construction management software, Synchro (acquired in June 2018 – post), to create what Bentley describes as a ‘comprehensive 4D construction digital twin solution’.

Envision-E7E7 is designed to help firms better utilise resources on site through mobile and web interfaces that transform manual, site-based tasks into digital workflows. It includes capabilities specifically designed for heavy civil construction, including daily diaries, unplanned event tracking, timesheets, dockets, daily costs, and quantity progress measurement. which enable managers to produce daily progress measurement reports.

E7 adds field resource management

Dustin Parkman - BentleyDustin Parkman, vice president, project delivery, Bentley Systems says:

“Visibility into field resource utilisation is key to project profitability. The addition of E7 to Bentley’s Synchro digital construction delivery solution complements our industry-leading 4D construction modelling with field-based resource management tools that are essential for heavy civil contractors. This new combination makes possible a truly comprehensive digital construction delivery solution for heavy civil contractors everywhere.”

Bentley Systems E7E7’s CEO Hugh Hofmeister and CTO Adrian Smith are joining Bentley as director of product management and director of product development, respectively. Hofmeister said:

“After more than 10 years of working, first as Envision and then as E7, to develop the leading field-based construction delivery solution for Australian and now global projects, Adrian and I and our colleagues are excited to be joining Bentley. There is already great alignment between E7 and Bentley’s SYNCHRO team. Our shared vision will accelerate the adoption of 4D construction digital twins that will significantly benefit our users in driving more profitable and predictable project outcomes.”

Extranet Evolution has tracked Envision/E7 since 2011 (read: Ennova and Envision). By 2016, the platform was supporting multiple parties across major projects, functioning as a data and reporting hub at the heart of a constellation of applications and web services (read: Envision expanding capabilities), and in 2019, the platform was being deployed on mega-projects outside Australia (Envision: building construction transparency).

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Atlas ICAS targets healthcare market

London, UK-based startup Atlas is targeting the healthcare construction market with an integrated design and project delivery SaaS platform, ICAS, supporting design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) approaches.

Co-founded by David and Maha Harper, London-based Atlas has developed an “integrated construction and architecture platform” (ICAS) that they believe can dramatically break down silos and improve productivity when it comes to delivering healthcare facilities. Funded to date by the founders, the startup is now seeking seed funding to help it support its first client projects.

David Harper - AtlasAtlas CEO David Harper, right, has 20 years’ experience in the healthcare construction industry as a construction project manager, having worked in building technologies for major hospitals in the UK (including Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital) and in Qatar (including the US$7. 9 billion Sidra Medical & Research Centre). Maha Harper, below right, Atlas’s COO, is a corporate lawyer with a strong background in corporate and real estate transactions. Both are convinced that the construction sector’s poor productivity and inability to deliver complex projects on budget and on programme (with the resulting legal disputes) can be overcome.

Breaking down silos

Maha Harper told Extranet Evolution that the company was inspired by work undertaken by the UN and the Gates Foundation in developing countries to deliver working hospitals and clinics. Maha Harper says:

Maha Harper - Atlas“One of the main issues holding the industry back is the so-called ‘silo effect’ – the linear nature of information being passed from silo to silo – plus the variety of different information formats involved.  While the industry has started to move more towards digital solutions, they are mostly ‘point solutions’ which, in effect, digitises those silos. This doesn’t, effectively enough, do away with the delays and cost inefficiencies.”

“We have talked to lots of healthcare customers and identified that we could potentially realise 20% efficiency savings by a targeted spend of 4% of the overall budget.”

She explained Atlas aimed to bridge the gaps between healthcare providers and the project delivery disciplinary silos (procurement, design, logistics), the point solutions they rely upon, and the disparate digital outputs these solutions create. Atlas, she said, was providing an integrated platform geared solely to the needs of the healthcare market, not just in developing economies but also in the US and Europe.


ICASA software-as-a-Service platform, ICAS starts by defining the customer’s needs, and then developing designs to meet those needs. Maha Harper says:

“You can develop the best tech in the world, but if you don’t really  understand the end-user’s needs and what they will actually adopt, then you’re just developing ‘great tech’ instead of a ‘must have’ solution for customers.”

Atlas has been engaging with facility investors, healthcare owners, and operators (“Many have been discouraged by previous projects that ran late, over-budget”). The company’s ICAS solution is currently being deployed to help deliver a $100m 150-bed hospital in the Americas. Harper says the project brief was developed using artificial intelligence and generative design to create a detailed configuration of the building and its rooms and systems. This process (and the supporting data) can inform feasibility stage decisions. Then, with a clear view of the proposed design, Atlas could then engage with preferred suppliers and manufacturers to procure materials and products, aggregating them into the integrated model. As well as streamlining design and construction, the ICAS platform also provides an environment to configure devices, equipment, etc, to speed up commissioning and handover.

The ICAS platform does not replace existing design or scheduling tools such as Autodesk Revit or Oracle Primavera P6. “By bringing together project systems through APIs [application programming interfaces], ICAS can minimise the disconnects between different solutions. We are using a lot of the Oracle and Autodesk software stacks.” ICAS will also help deliver a graphical interface to healthcare and building operation systems, including a hospital user manual, HUM, to support operation and maintenance work, and an intelligent clinic operating system (ICOS) for long-term operational information (healthcare informatics is one area where data standardisation is particularly advanced).

To date, the Harpers have invested £460,000 into the Atlas business and are looking to raise £2.5m in seed funding to push the company forward. A chief technology officer is set to be appointed to help drive the company’s devops model.

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Bentley’s billion dollar buy: geoscience tech vendor Seequent

Bentley Systems is spending around US$1 billion to buy New Zealand-based geoscience modelling software provider, Seequent.

Bentley logo 2017Bentley Systems has announced an investor-backed deal led by Accel-KKR to acquire Seequent. The Christchurch, New Zealand-based business specialises in geological and geophysical modeling, geotechnical stability, and cloud services for geodata management, visibility, and collaboration. The deal involves US$900 million in cash, plus just over three million Bentley Class B shares.

Bentley says the Seequent acquisition will “deepen the potential of infrastructure digital twins to help understand and mitigate environmental risks, advancing resilience and sustainability.” Once the deal is completed, Seequent will operate as a stand-alone Bentley subsidiary. Seequent’s current chief operating officer Graham Grant will succeed the retiring CEO Shaun Maloney and report to Bentley’s chief product officer Nicholas Cumins.
Seequent logo

Seequent deal logic

Seequent has over 430 employees in 16 office locations, serving geologists, hydrogeologists, geophysicists, geotechnical engineers, and civil engineers in over 100 countries, plus the world’s top mining companies. Its established presence in mineral-intensive geographies such as South America and southern Africa is expected to accelerate Bentley’s overall opportunities in these regions with significant infrastructure requirements. In turn, Bentley’s established presence in China, and its mainstay reach across civil engineering sectors, is expected to accelerate Seequent’s expansion in new markets.

Seequent industry solutionsBentley says its current offerings enable digital twins to incorporate what’s constructed “near surface,” including foundations, drainage facilities, buried utilities, tunnels, and subsea structures. Now, the addition of Seequent will “make it possible for infrastructure digital twins to reach full subsurface depths, augmenting environmental resilience against flood, seismic, climate, and water security threats”.

Seequent had been planning an initial public offering (IPO) in 2021. Tom Barnds, co-managing partner at Accel-KKR and Seequent board member, said, “We had been looking forward to Seequent’s IPO this year, but we are so convinced of the logic of this combination that we are glad to anticipate instead becoming Bentley shareholders.”

Seequent software

Seequent first applied implicit modeling technology to geological science more than 15 years ago. It began using mathematical tools to derive and visualize 3D geological models from measured data and user interpretation. This advance caused a “leapfrogging” paradigm shift in understanding of the earth’s subsurface. Geoscientists and others are increasingly able to uncover and visualise valuable insights about environmental conditions and challenges.

Seequent - Leapfrog softwareSeequent’s products include Leapfrog, its leading product for 3D geological modeling and visualization, Geosoft for 3D earth modeling and geoscience data management, and GeoStudio for geotechnical slope stability and deformation modeling. Bentley’s complementary geotechnical engineering software portfolio, including PLAXIS, gINT, and OpenGround, will be integrated in due course to support open digital workflows from borehole and drillhole data to geological models and geotechnical analysis applications.

The mining industry, with its economic sensitivity and environmental responsibilities, was the first and fastest to adopt 3D earth modeling, superseding traditional 2D processes to speed and improve decision cycles. Seequent recognized the potential, for all major infrastructure engineering projects and assets to likewise “leapfrog” traditional 2D subsurface modeling and simulation processes. Leapfrog’s usage, often in conjunction with Bentley’s software offerings, has been growing consistently in civil infrastructure sectors.  Seequent is a leader in 3D modeling for geothermal energy sources, and its software and cloud services provide the important geosciences context for water resources simulations and environmental engineering.


Bentley CEO Greg Bentley said:

“We can be very confident about Seequent’s contribution to our shared future not only because of our product synergies, but because we recognize in Seequent’s trajectory an echo of the playbook that made Bentley Systems successful—except they have grown faster! They have made farsighted decisions to benefit the future at every stage: identifying and then laser-focusing on the 3D “vertical” opportunity in earth modeling, institutionalizing a subscription commercial model from the outset, directly populating the appropriate global markets, acquiring and consolidating the best software for adjacent disciplines, and bringing it all together with cloud services, ready for digital twins advancement together.”

Seequent CEO Shaun Maloneysaid:

“By ‘leapfrogging ahead’ with Bentley to align geosciences with infrastructure engineering through deeper digital twins, Seequent underscores our conviction that better understanding of the earth creates a better world for all. Users and accounts of Seequent, as a Bentley Company, can expect business as usual, with many product and commercial synergies eventually forthcoming.”

Bentley’s CFO David Hollister said:

“The transaction is expected to close in Q2, with the cash consideration settled via a combination of cash on hand and availability under our undrawn $850 million revolving credit facility. We expect Seequent to contribute in excess of $80 million to our ARR during this year. Seequent impressively has a historical and current organic revenue growth rate which, coupled with an operating margin profile similar to ours, makes Seequent accretive to our financial model.”

The Extranet Evolution perspective

This latest Bentley acquisition is a sizeable one, similar in magnitude to Autodesk’s recent acquisition of water engineering software provider Innovyze (February 2021 post). It is also the second major deal EE has tracked regarding a New Zealand-based engineering software business – just under a year ago, Germany’s thinkproject acquired highways asset management software developer RAMM (April 2020 post).

Seequent’s approach to data is also similar to Bentley’s. The latter is historically associated with powerful on-premise design tools, backed by a growing portfolio of online collaboration capabilities. In addition to Leapfrog, etc, Seequent has also developed a suite of cloud services. Seequent Central allows users to visualise, track, integrate, and manage their geoscience data via a centralised, auditable environment.

Update (23 June 2021) – On 17 June, Bentley announced the completion of its acquisition of Seequent Holdings Limited, for approximately $900 million in cash (for a debt free business and subject to final working capital adjustments) plus 3,141,342 BSY Class B shares.

Update (8 July 2021) –  Bentley Systems has announced that Seequent has acquired Danish company Aarhus GeoSoftware, a developer of geophysical software.

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Unity acquires AEC AR tech vendor VisualLive

Some consolidation in the AEC augmented reality sector as Autodesk collaborator Unity acquires US-based VisualLive.

Unity logoUnity, the world’s leading platform for creating and operating real-time 3D content, has announced (9 March 2021) the acquisition (value and terms not disclosed) of VisualLive, an Arizona, US-based technology company enabling the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry to reduce costs and increase efficiency by visualising and collaborating in augmented reality (AR).

VisualLive logoVisualLive’s technology is complementary to Unity Reflect, the immersive collaboration and development platform that connects people, project stages, and data across the digital building lifecycle. The deal expands Unity’s strategic growth in the AEC industry. Julien Faure, GM of Verticals at Unity, says:

“Unity’s real-time 3D platform transforms every stage of the AEC lifecycle. With Unity Reflect, AEC professionals can unlock building information modeling (BIM) data through immersive realtime experiences. Adding VisualLive to our portfolio better allows us to connect the field with the design office, bringing BIM data via augmented and mixed reality to drive better quality assurance and project tracking. This will fundamentally change how design reviews, construction planning, field inspections, and facilities management are conducted.”

VisualLive useUnity says the current process of job site walkthroughs for construction and facilities management is fraught with human errors, and the promise of reality capture (the process of replicating the physical world and putting it into virtual reality) is time-consuming and expensive. VisualLive ensures users can instantly inspect and validate designs to prevent costly mistakes.

VisualLive employees will join Unity from VisualLive’s headquarters in Scottsdale. Saeed Eslami, CEO and founder of VisualLive, says:

“We’re incredibly proud of the rapid growth and market adoption of VisualLive products by the AEC industry since our founding in 2017. VisualLive has excelled in creating a software solution that works on multiple devices to enable field workers to overlay CAD/BIM models onto the jobsite in AR within a few minutes to review the design, validate against the existing conditions, verify install completion, create reports, and collaborate with the rest of the team in real time. Together with Unity, we can expand the platform’s capabilities and scale globally.”

Unity and Autodesk

Unity is used by top AEC companies to streamline real-world architecture, engineering, and construction workflows. Since announcing a collaboration with Autodesk in 2018, Unity has grown to support a suite of Autodesk products while also enabling Autodesk users to access real-time 3D experiences on a range of devices in AR and VR to bridge the gap between design and construction. Unity Reflect connects all project stakeholders, regardless of platform/device, model size, or geolocation to create real-time collaborative environments. This facilitates faster, more impactful decision-making throughout the entire building and infrastructure lifecycle.


VisualLive says it is the AEC industry’s leading platform offering easy-to-use and off-the-shelf augmented reality software on Microsoft HoloLens (HoloLive), and Android and iOS mobile devices (MobiLive) for design, engineering, and construction companies. Using VisualLive’s Autodesk Revit or Naviswork plugins or web uploader interface (with 70+ 3D file formats supported), users can push large BIM/CAD model files to mobile, tablet, or HoloLens headset as simple as one-click for augmented reality overlay on-site with no coding. VisualLive allows real-time 3D visualisation, collaboration, and field-to-office communication. VisualLive applications are currently being used in all stages of construction projects such as design review, coordination, constructability planning, fabrication QA/QC, install verification, field inspection, and facility management.

Update (16 March 2021)

Vectorworks partnership with Unreal Engine creates real-time rendering connection to Twinmotion

While on the subject of Unity, Vectorworks 2021 Service Pack 3 users now have a high-quality method for exporting their 3D BIM and design models to Twinmotion®, Unreal® Engine and other Epic Games products that support the Datasmith file format. Vectorworks has utilized the Datasmith SDK to ensure greater fidelity of the model export to these real-time rendering applications. Vectorworks director of product technology Dave Donley said:

“Our partnership with Unreal Engine is a dynamic solution to Vectorworks users allowing them to create real-time renderings of their model with open and advanced real-time 3D creation tools such as Unreal Editor and Twinmotion. It’s an amazing opportunity to bring this partnership to our users and we’re confident they will enjoy creating cutting-edge renderings and models.”

“Vectorworks’ new integrations with Twinmotion and Unreal Engine helps users go from creating models to deploying stunning real-time rendered scenes faster than ever before,” said Unreal Engine, Epic Games VP and General Manager Marc Petit.

Update (24 March 2021)

Global AR / VR / XR market to grow four-fold and hit $124.4B value by 2023

The global AR, VR, and mixed reality (MR) market is expected to continue growing and hit a $124.4bn value by 2023, a 305% increase in two years. Although VR technology use is rising in several markets, VR gaming and VR videos make up the largest use cases, with $20.8bn expected to be spent in 2023 on these areas alone.

In 2021, the global AR, VR, and MR market is expected to reach $30.7bn value, revealed the BCG survey. By the end of the next year, this figure is set to jump to $58.7bn. However, the following years are expected to witness even more impressive growth in the use of AR, VR, and MR technology. In 2023, the unified market is forecast to grow by another $65.7bn. By 2025, the market value is expected to surge to almost $300bn.

The IDC Worldwide Augmented and Virtual Reality Spending Guide revealed consumers lead in AR/VR technology spending. In 2020, consumers spent $6.3bn on AR/VR devices and solutions, more than all other segments combined. The distribution and services segment ranked second with $1.9bn in spending. Manufacturing and resources, public sector and infrastructure market followed with $1.6bn, $1.5bn and $380 million, respectively.

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Microsoft Mesh mixed reality opens Bentley collaboration

Mixed Reality, XR, is supported by Microsoft through its development of its Mesh platform, with wider adoption enabled via open standards, benefiting industry partners such as AEC tech provider Bentley Systems.

Two days before a call with Bentley Systems’ Greg Demchak, I watched Microsoft‘s online launch of its new Microsoft Mesh mixed reality platform (on 2 March 2021 – read Engadget news), accessing the Ignite Keynote using Microsoft’s AltSpaceVR desktop visualisation tool (strangely reminiscent in its use of avatars of the web-based Second Life environment).

Microsoft Mesh

Microsoft Mesh launchThe Microsoft Mesh launch was preceded by a video keynote from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadel, presented somewhat conventionally as a 2D video, but embedded in a virtual auditorium that also resembled an aquarium (a bit like being immersed within Finding Nemo.). After that, the event was largely run within Microsoft Mesh, which is hosted in the company’s Azure platform and enables people in multiple locations to deploy various devices to join and collaborate in a shared holographic space.

Microsoft’s Hololens 2, smartphones, third-party VR headsets, and AltspaceVR are all supported, and the company plans to extend Mesh to support Microsoft Teams and its Dynamics 365 application in due course.

After Nadella’s contribution, Microsoft’s Alex Kipman welcomed people to the presentation and encouraged attendees to interact with the space – we could even choose the fish we wanted to see swimming around the event. As might be expected from a mainstream technology vendor heavily invested in the consumer market, there was some focus on how Mesh might be used to provide consumer applications (Pokémon Go for Hololens 2, for example), but there were also practical examples of business use cases.

This is supported through the OpenXR standard, helping industry to standardise around common functions and inputs such as hand- and eye-tracking, while also helping to support numerous XR devices from numerous manufacturers simultaneously. Mesh’s open-source approach also accelerates development of enterprise-strength features such as secure sign in and privacy compliance. Mesh also provides a cross-platform developer software development kit (SDK) enabling developers to create apps targeting their choice of platform and devices – whether AR, VR, PCs, or phones. Today it supports Unity alongside native C++ and C#, but in the coming months, Mesh will also have support for Unreal (see previous 3D Repo post), Babylon, and React Native (read Microsoft’s technical overview).

Bentley Systems and Microsoft Mesh

Bentley logo 2017The Ignite event included a segment about using Microsoft Mesh to share visualisations of infrastructure (in this case bridges) captured using Bentley Systems’ ContextCapture, and other tools, plus Hololens 2 devices.

Bentley Synchro XR and Hololens 2Bentley has long featured strategic inputs from Microsoft at its annual Year in Infrastructure events. In 2013, for example, it announced its Connect strategy to extend project and asset information mobility through the Windows Azure cloud (Bentley embraces cloud still further with Microsoft Azure). Just over two years ago, in February 2019, Bentley (and Trimble) featured in Microsoft’s launch of Hololens 2 in Barcelona (Bentley and Trimble launch new Hololens 2 products), by which time integration between Bentley and Microsoft had also extended to extensive integration between Bentley and the Microsoft Office 365 suite of solutions (October 2018 post), with Bentley’s SaaS SME collaboration offering now marketed as ProjectWise 365.

Greg Demchak, who joined Bentley following its June 2018 acquisition of Synchro, says Mesh enables the easy sharing of Azure real-time rendered 3D imagery for mixed reality interaction – for example, between clients and designers. In the US, Bentley has been working with Minnesota’s Department of Transport and Collins Engineers to improve inspection workflows by bringing detailed field-captured close-up imagery into the office – in the words of one project team member: “to bring the bridge into the office to do the inspection”:

An Extranet Evolution landmark

This is the 2,000th post on Extranet Evolution, a blog started in September 2005, and taking its name from the subtitle of my book on construction collaboration technologies published that year.

Before a change of hosting platform in 2012, I gave occasional updates on readership (here’s 2012’s). Since the start of 2013, the blog has received over 600,000 views, averaging some 6,400 view per calendar month (77,000 per annum). Many thanks to the many readers and others who have contributed to its content over the past 15 years. – Paul Wilkinson

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3D Repo develops Unreal Engine-based 3D platform

London-based 3D Repo has been backed by the Unreal Engine developer Epic Games to create a data delivery platform that allows users to share massive 3D engineering models online.

3D-Repo-Logo-BlueGaming and enterprise technologies are converging to create new ways to deliver and visualise data. UK-based 3D Repo, for example, recently announced that US-based video game and software developer Epic Games (developer of the Unreal Engine used to power popular video-games such as Fortnite) had provided an ‘Epic MegaGrant‘ to the London-based business which it will use to build a new data delivery platform for the architecture, engineering and construction, AEC, industry.

The Epic MegaGrants programme, launched in 2019, is a US$100 million scheme devised by Epic Games to service and assist game developers, enterprise professionals, media and entertainment creators, students, educators and tool developers doing outstanding work with Unreal Engine or enhancing open-source capabilities for the 3D graphics community.

3D Repo: scalable 3D data delivery platform

Harnessing the power of Unreal Engine’s advanced real-time technology, 3D Repo says it has created an infinitely scalable 3D rendering and data delivery platform that allows AEC users to share and view massive and complex 3D engineering models online. CEO Jozef Dobos says:

Jozef Dobos“Over the past two years we’ve seen a gradual shift from BIM to Digital Twins, with more and more clients requesting high visual fidelity for both engineering and client presentation purposes, and the ability to explore vast 3D scenes in real-time.

“Our new digital twin streaming solution is a major breakthrough that will enable AEC professionals to collaborate remotely using very large and complex 3D models across the web. 3D Repo is delighted to receive the Epic MegaGrant to help push the boundaries and improve efficiency and quality of construction in the UK.”

D rendering and data delivery platform that allows AEC users to share and view massive and complex 3D engineering models onlineVia open APIs, the 3D Repo version control cloud connects with Unreal Engine, where pre-optimised assets are dynamically loaded directly into a running game, giving users the ability to log-in via their 3D Repo credentials and seamlessly retrieve any of their assets on the fly.

This is made possible through a persistent storage layer rather than parsing and baking assets into a new game executable each time an asset revision is created.

Ken Pimentel, AEC industry management at Epic Games, said:

“The new 3D Repo data delivery platform for Unreal Engine enables remote collaboration using very large and complex 3D models through the power of Unreal’s real-time technology. AEC professionals are running into a wall trying to visualise large-scale projects using existing solutions, and this effort shows what’s truly possible when innovative teams collaborate for a mutual goal.”

The integration library is now freely available for download at

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Dalux updates free BIM viewer

Dalux logoThe free BIM viewer offered by Danish SaaS construction technology developer Dalux has been upgraded to allow commenting to support collaboration.

Dalux, the Copenhagen, Denmark-based mobile and Software-as-a-Service construction technology provider, has upgraded the free desktop building information model (BIM) viewer tool that it first launched in 2016.

Torben Dalgaard - CEO of DaluxDalux CEO Torben Dalgaard (right, who co-founded the business with his brother Bent Dalgaard, Dalux’s CTO) says that use of the original Windows-based BIM viewer has extended to over 100,000 projects globally, with users in 147 countries. The product has remained free (allowing use on up to three concurrent projects per company) since 2016, and has been gradually improved. It has also stimulated many users to explore and adopt other Dalux tools: the document management solution Dalux Box, mobile application Dalux Field, and the facilities management solution Dalux FM.

The strategy appears to be successful. When Extranet Evolution first met Dalux in late 2017 (read: Dalux targets BIM collaboration), the business was 40-strong and had just made its first UK-based appointments. At an online launch on 24 February 2021, Torben Dalgaard said the business now has 165 employees, 18 offices and is growing at 60% per annum.

Dalux BIM Viewer+ now enables commenting

Dalux BIM Viewer+The upgraded Dalux BIM viewer is now more than just a viewer. It now enables users to make comments upon model views, capturing them using the BIM Collaboration Format, BCF. Once downloaded, the new desktop application is faster, and has a simple, intuitive interface. This makes it easy to navigate for, say, non-users of BIM authoring tools such as Autodesk’s Revit. When an issue or query is identified, the user simply presses a button to capture the model view and then adds details: the name of the recipient of the notification, a title for the notification, and a response deadline.

As notifications are created, recipients will be notified by email. The application allows them to specify whether they want notifications sent within 15 minutes of their creation, or if they should be bundled up so that the recipient gets just one notification per day. There is also the option to turn off email notifications altogether. Dalux BIM Viewer+ allows users to see all the BCFs they have created, and, if they wish, they can be sorted and grouped by project or named users.

Product roadmap

Dalux also offers a Revit plug-in that enables viewing of comments within the relevant Revit models. Plug-ins for ArchiCAD and for NavisWorks are in production, and will be followed by a BCF Live Connector for Solibri and a Tekla plug-in.

The desktop BIM viewer allows users to see all the BCFs created, and, if they wish, they can be sorted and grouped by project or named users. As well as markups to 3D BIM models, users can also add markups or comments to 2D drawings or documents. However, the new commenting feature won’t be added to the Dalux Field mobile application – at least, not yet. The Dalux team said the current product roadmap is mainly focused on extending BIM Viewer+.

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Autodesk spends US$1 billion on Innovyze

Autodesk completes its most expensive acquisition yet to buy US-based water industry software specialist, Innovyze.

autodesk logoEclipsing the US$875 million invested in Plangrid in 2018 (post), Autodesk has today announced a US$1 billion deal to acquire Portland, Oregon-based Innovyze, a global leader in water infrastructure software. Autodesk says the acquisition positions it as a technology leader in end-to-end water infrastructure solutions from design to operations, and accelerates Autodesk’s digital twin strategy.

Announcing the deal alongside Colby Manwaring, Innovyze’s CEO, Amy Bunszel (Autodesk’s executive vice president, AEC design solutions) said it also constituted Autodesk’s “first big push into the operations market.” Digital Twins got mentioned a few times during the press conference – two days after Autodesk launched the public beta of its Tandem Digital Twin Platform (see also November 2020 post: Bentley and Autodesk push ‘Digital Twin’ initiatives).


Innovyze logoFor 35 years, 240-strong Innovyze has been developing software for the water industry and now has approximately 3,000 customers worldwide, including water and sewerage utilities, river and flood protection authorities professional services businesses and industrial water consumers. Its UK customers include Anglian Water (also an Autodesk customer), Thames Water, the Environment Agency, and engineering services businesses such as AECOM, Arup, Atkins, Jacobs and Stantec (all also Autodesk customers).

Innovyze Info360Innovyze’s modelling, simulation, and predictive analysis solutions enable more cost-effective and sustainably designed water distribution networks, water collection systems, water and wastewater treatment plants, and flood protection systems. These solutions include the December 2020-launched Info360: “a new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform,, which enables water and wastewater utilities to monitor, analyze, and optimize their operations using the power and convenience of the cloud” (and which has a product name also echoing Autodesk’s own BIM 360).

Autodesk says: “Combining Innovyze’s portfolio with the power of Autodesk’s design and analysis solutions, including Autodesk Civil 3D, Autodesk InfraWorks, and the Autodesk Construction Cloud, offers civil engineers, water utility companies and water experts the ability to better respond to issues and to improve planning.”

Autodesk Innovyze portfolio

Bunzl talked about the nine trillion gallons of water lost each year worldwide due to prolonged leaks and pipe breaks:

“But we cannot manage or fix what we cannot see. Innovyze’s portfolio of operational analytics, distribution modeling, and asset management solutions provides the insight needed to identify this and other potential problems before they become a crisis.”

Colby Manwaring said:

Colby Manwaring, Innovyze CEO“For thirty-five years Innovyze has been a hidden part of the daily lives of millions of people around the world, helping to deliver fresh, clean water, managing sewage and flooding in our communities, and turning wastewater into safe water. Similarly, if you look at the built world around us, Autodesk’s design DNA is found in just about every structure you see above ground and below, so it makes strategic sense to bring together our complementary organizations critical to much of the world’s population. We look forward to completing the acquisition and getting to work, together.”

Update (31 March 2021) – The deal was confirmed closed on 31 March 2021. Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost said: “This is a software acquisition, but also a clear statement of Autodesk’s corporate commitment to improve our planet.”

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Combining BIM 360 and Plangrid, new Autodesk Build launched

Autodesk combines the best of its BIM 360 and Plangrid applications to launch a unified AEC project and field management solution, Autodesk Build.
Autodesk Construction Cloud

Autodesk Build, the US software giant’s new project and field management solution (and now part of the Autodesk Construction Cloud launched in November 2019 – post) is now generally available, following through on its 2020 Autodesk University intention to reshape its Cloud offering (November 2020 post). Autodesk says Build provides construction teams with a single solution for project management, quality, safety, cost and close-out by connecting data, workflows and teams in one highly-configurable environment, unifiying features from BIM 360 and PlanGrid and adding new capabilities.

The mobile-oriented Plangrid was acquired by Autodesk in November 2018 (post), building information modelling (BIM) capabilities via a Plangrid integration with Revit were added six months later (post), and in June 2019 Jim Lynch, today Construction Solutions Senior Vice President and General Manager, confirmed that Plangrid and BIM 360 “will start to merge and will become one sometime in the future“ (post). Less than two years later, that ‘sometime’ appears to be now – though EE understands Autodesk will continue supporting both programs and has no plans to force users to switch to Autodesk Build.

Autodesk US main contractor customer Ted Jennings, senior VDC manager of Barton Malow Holdings, says:

“Our teams need the right technology to achieve outstanding results. By bringing together the best of BIM 360 and PlanGrid and adding even more project management firepower, Autodesk Build is both a simple and robust solution. Connecting our teams and data across projects allows us to supercharge our work with more streamlined document, safety and cost management, and deliver on our quality standards.”

Autodesk Build

Autodesk BuildA free 30-day trial is available. According to Autodesk, the Autodesk Build product enables architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) teams to:

  • Manage projects more efficiently – Teams can configure workflows within Autodesk Build so those who need access to information such as RFIs, submittals, meeting minutes and daily reports can do so at any stage of a project. With the relevant workflow data instantly at their fingertips, project managers can readily analyse activities and make data-driven decisions to keep projects on track. Information from all project workflows is immediately connected in Autodesk Docs, the common data environment (CDE), to simplify overall project management.
  • Maximise cross-team collaboration – Autodesk Build facilitates real-time collaboration between the field and office, enabling teams to manage project quality from their desktops, laptops and smart mobile devices, and keep everyone engaged in jobsite safety. The PlanGrid Build app, purpose-built for mobile field collaboration and included in Autodesk Build, empowers the field to stay connected to the latest quality planning, punchlist and issue management, as well as perform quality assurance and quality control tasks. Field and office teams can also manage safety planning, training, observations and inspections from the Autodesk Build platform to keep sites productive and safe.
  • Digitise and centralise document management – Autodesk Build consolidates document management and provides a single source of truth to ensure all team members across the construction project lifecycle can access the correct information they need when they need it, regardless of whether they’re in the office or field. Document control, versioning and approval capabilities that support 2D sheets, 3D models and easy-to-share markups help keep everyone on the same page to minimise miscommunications and avoidable mistakes that can lead to rework.
  • Streamline cost management – A configurable and connected cost management module in Autodesk Build helps teams keep track of any budget changes from one main location. Teams can manage budget creation and contract administration, change orders, cost forecasts and payment applications alongside a real-time view of project health to make informed decisions and mitigate risks to project costs.

In the Construction Cloud

As part of Autodesk Construction Cloud, a subscription to Autodesk Build costs from £46 per calendar month (based on a small team sharing 550 sheets per month – see pricing). It includes and is reinforced by:

  • Autodesk Docs – A centralized document management solution that underpins Autodesk Build’s CDE, providing users with seamless navigation and integrated workflows to create a single source of truth across the project lifecycle.
  • Insights – Analytics capabilities that support the ability to collect, interpret and export project data; encompasses Construction IQ artificial intelligence to identify and mitigate risk.
  • Administration – Project setup tools including centralized user management and permissioning capabilities, templates and single-sign-on.

Autodesk has also made announcements around its cloud collaboration solutions for architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) design teams: Autodesk Docs is now also included in the AEC Collection, BIM 360 Design is now Autodesk BIM Collaborate Pro and Autodesk BIM Collaborate is now available globally.

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US-based SmartPM continues to grow

US-based schedule analytics business, SmartPM, continues to grow, “despite the challenges the pandemic has presented in the marketplace”.

SmartPM logoSome six years ago (January 2015 post), in a brief technology round-up, Extranet Evolution mentioned a US start-up, SmartPM Technologies. Today, the Atlanta, GA-based schedule analytics business says it is continuing to grow, “despite the challenges the pandemic has presented in the marketplace”.

The company says it closed another round of seed funding (US$785K) in record time at the end of 2020, and saw its greatest gains in new customers in December 2020, tripling its sales revenue. Additionally, the company plans to hire a number of new employees throughout 2021. Michael Pink, founder and CEO, says:

“We are thrilled at the growth we have achieved this year and grateful to the many clients who put their trust in SmartPM, as we increased our customer base by 250%. We also couldn’t be where we are without our investors and are positioned for a continuation of rapid growth in 2021.”

SmartPM serves businesses mainly in the US construction industry including general contractors, owners and owne-2019, r’s representatives, developer/builders, government entities, and some prominent insurance and consulting firms.

SmartPM product

SmartPMLaunched in mid-2019, the business’s SmartPM product is said to be “the only cloud-based, schedule analytics software solution designed specifically for the construction industry. It is a first-of-its-kind, full-service project analytics system that extracts information from native schedule files [Primavera P6 and MS Project] and converts it into meaningful insights, which ultimately minimizes risk of cost exposure related to delays and overruns. SmartPM was designed by industry experts with one mission in mind: to provide stakeholders with the tools necessary to effectively control costs and schedules, and to keep projects off the path toward disputes.”

(EE covered some other project controls platforms in November 2018, following a Glimpse of the Future event in London. Incidentally, another ‘Glimpse’ is scheduled for 11 February 2021register here.)

Pricing-wise, the basic dashboard analytics SmartPM product costs US$69 per calendar month per project (paid annually); the more richly featured Premium product costs US$167pcm, and ‘Extremium’ is priced at US$250pcm.

Procore logoLike 3D Repo (previous post), SmartPM is also integrated with the Procore project management platform, providing stakeholders with seamless access to SmartPM’s Project Oversight, Schedule Monitoring, and Forensic Delay Analysis capabilities directly from within the Procore system.

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