Bentley Systems Incorporated launched its "You Deserve Better" upgrade program and website for AutoCAD users facing forced retirement of their software by Autodesk.

The upgrade program, in response to Bentley's survey of more than 2,500 AutoCAD users, gives these users what they requested, plus a great deal more. The program includes:

  • MicroStation-based product functionality that meets or exceeds that of comparable AutoCAD offerings, including bonus features not found in AutoCAD products and a wider range of product and application choices
  • An open and universal solution compared to the AutoCAD offerings, including native support of DWG and DGN in all products, read and write support of DWG back to R11, and support of Adobe PDF
  • Upgrade pricing that meets or beats the Autodesk retirement pricing, including free viewers for DWG and DGN, multiple price points, and an estimated savings of 25 percent to 36 percent or more for design teams upgrading from AutoCAD 2000/i
  • An ongoing company policy against retiring file formats or user licenses, in contrast to the regular retirement practices of Autodesk
  • Special services and compatible functionality designed to make the upgrade fast and easy

The program's product offerings are based on four Bentley products, in descending price:

  • MicroStation: the comprehensive 2D/3D design/engineering system that is the preferred choice of most U.S. DOTs, plant EPC firms, and the world's top design firms. It natively reads and writes DWG and DGN.
  • MicroStation PowerDraft: a midrange production drafting product, fully compatible with MicroStation. It natively reads and writes DWG and DGN.
  • MicroStation Redline: a low-cost viewing, printing, and redlining product for DGN/DWG-based drawings, models, or maps.
  • Bentley View: a free viewing and printing product for DWG/DGN-based drawings, models, or maps.

These products feature technology that meets or exceeds that found in AutoCAD offerings. Bonus features, not found in AutoCAD products, include support of both DWG and DGN, creation of Adobe PDFs for all project deliverables, change management, integrated surface/mesh/solid modeling, and customization for the drafting product.

Ironically, MicroStation supports the full history of DWG better than AutoCAD does. It reads and writes more versions of DWG than any supported AutoCAD product - back to R11 and everything in between. With the PDF feature, users can package and deliver an entire architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) project - including DWG and DGN drawings, specifications, and Microsoft Office files - into a single, interactive PDF document at the touch of a button.

Also in the bonus category, all of the above products and features are based on the single development platform of MicroStation, which allows users to maintain a single representation of their data and customizations. Autodesk products are now split across three development platforms: AutoCAD, Revit, and Inventor. This split forces organizations to maintain multiple representations of data and customizations if they own Autodesk products from different platforms - a move that Autodesk is encouraging for many.

A Wide Range of Vertical Choices
For users who require vertical applications or functionality, the upgrade program includes:

  • Power products: low-cost, stand-alone products based on MicroStation PowerDraft technology. These products include PowerCivil for land development and site modeling, PowerSurvey for survey data management, and PowerMap for production mapping.
  • MicroStation Extensions: four vertical extensions, included at no extra charge in MicroStation, for the civil, geospatial, plant, and building vertical markets. They include 2D civil drafting tools in civil, customizable mapping and analysis in geospatial, P&ID capabilities in plant, and 3D modeling in building.
  • Bentley applications: a comprehensive portfolio of applications for the civil, geospatial, plant, and building vertical markets. The functionality includes, for instance, automated drawing production and structural engineering tools in building; spec-driven pipe routing/placement, intelligent P&ID, and automatic annotation/dimensioning of 3D models for deliverables in plant; the industry-leading GEOPAK, InRoads, and MX product lines in civil, and a full line of water applications in geospatial.

Source: Bentley, Dec. 6, 2004