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Conference Recap: Sustaining Infrastructure

July 24, 2008
Annual Bentley BE Conference aims to support and advance organizations that respond to our world’s structural foundation.

More than 2,000 attendees representing 50 nations were present at BE Conference 2008 in Baltimore May 28-30.


Event: BE Conference 2008
HOST: Bentley Systems Incorporated, www.bentley.com
Location: Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore
Dates: May 28-30, 2008
Number of Attendees: 2,000
Future Dates and Location: May 11-13, 2009, Charlotte, N.C.

This year’s theme for Bentley’s annual conference matches the company’s new thrust: BEst Practices for Sustaining Infrastructure. Bentley’s motivation is to respond to the sustainability imperatives of the world’s infrastructure, the structural foundation of civilization.

Bentley’s CEO, Greg Bentley, kicked off the conference with his keynote address that included details of BE 2008’s offerings as well as highlights of what the company had achieved in the previous year. Most notably, in spite of a tough economy, Bentley continues to grow. According to Bentley, its annual revenues have increased an average of 14 percent over the last 15 years, and in 2007, Bentley recorded 16 percent growth over 2006 surpassing $450 million in annual revenue for the first time. He also proudly noted that information technology market research firm Daratech reported Bentley as the second largest provider of software based on global revenue in both the worldwide geospatial and AECO (architecture, engineering, construction and operations) markets.

Later on day one, Buddy Cleveland, Bentley’s senior vice president of Applied Research, delivered a Sustaining Infrastructure Keynote. “Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising needs of future generations,” he said, defining the new corporate theme. He further defined infrastructure as simply the “interface between people and the planet.”

In support of Bentley’s carbon-reducing goal, CEO Greg Bentley encouraged attendees to visit the new BE Communities site to expand professional networking and to propagate organic innovations.

While the term “sustainability” is often used interchangeably with “green,” Bentley announced a goal of reducing its corporate carbon footprint by 15 percent from 2007 to 2009 measured on a per employee basis. To achieve this goal, corporate travel will be reduced and virtual meetings will replace face-to-face meetings when possible. Expanding that goal to the entire Bentley community of users, Bentley announced BE Communities (communities.Bentley.com) as an integral component of the newly revamped Bentley.com Web site. Greg Bentley encouraged attendees to visit the new BE Communities site to “continue and expand our professional networking … to propagate, in real-time, organic innovations in IT-enabled workflows for infrastructure.”

Key product announcements at the conference included: Bentley Map, Bentley Cadastre and Bentley Geospatial Server. Ton De Vries, a Bentley Solutions executive, described Bentley Map as “a fully featured GIS containing all the precise editing and graphical capabilities of MicroStation created to address the unique and challenging issues in mapping, plan design as well as building and operating infrastructure.” Bentley Map provides the GIS foundation for several industry-specific products, including Bentley Cadastre, Bentley Electric, Bentley Water and Bentley Gas. Bentley Cadastre supports any type of parcel management workflow, and Bentley Geospatial Server extends ProjectWise capabilities and provides enterprise access to spatial or nonspatial heterogeneous engineering documentation through a spatially enabled interface.

More than 2,000 attendees representing 50 nations were present at BE Conference 2008, and a reported 179 industry leaders presented sustaining infrastructure success stories. Additionally, a record 253 BE Awards of Excellence project nominations were received. The BE Awards of Excellence honor the work of Bentley users who are improving and sustaining the world’s infrastructure.

The exhibit hall at the show was anchored by eight Bentley Solution Communities where users were invited to communicate freely with Bentley’s staff of solution experts to learn about new products, peruse the galleries of BE Awards of Excellence-nominated projects and network with fellow users. Twenty-three technology partners exhibited their latest products and services.

Jim Van Rens, vice president of 3D laser scanning provider Riegl USA, said he believed this year’s conference was the strongest ever. “Attendees are showing greater interest in new solutions to infrastructure applications--more specifically the role of 3D scanning in infrastructure,” he said, adding, “Attendees were noticeably appreciative of the knowledge level of their peers as ideas and solutions flowed freely in the aisles and open areas of the exhibit hall.”


Special reporting by Publisher Dan Murfey.