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Interoperability is key

Design

The Bentley BE Seminar 2009 in New Delhi, focussed on ‘sustaining growth through innovation in infrastructure’. The event featured keynotes and presentations by Bentley executives, best practices presented by leaders in design and engineering, discipline-specific breakout sessions, and the introduction of Bentley’s V8i, the most comprehensive software portfolio for infrastructure. Niranjan Mudholkar spoke with Bentley’s Malcolm S Walter, COO & Sr VP and Christopher Liew, VP & territory executive (for Asia South) during the seminar.

Please tell our readers something about the V8i portfolio
Liew: V8i is the most comprehensive software portfolio for the infrastructure industry ever assembled in a single release. We understand that infrastructure projects are complex by nature and are affected by dynamic factors over their lifecycles.

Thus, no single application can be adequate or appropriate to address the diverse set of challenges an infrastructure asset presents across its various stages. That’s why we believe in delivering solutions for the entire lifecycle of the infrastructure asset encompassing the requirements of different professionals across various disciplines.

We believe that it is equally critical that our applications are designed to ‘intra-operate’ across our platform and portfolio, and support industry-leading ‘interoperability’ with other widely used software for architecture, engineering, construction, operations, and geospatial as well as with enterprise systems. It is with this philosophy that the V8i portfolio has been introduced.

The ‘i’ in V8i stands for interoperability. The V8i portfolio includes over 150 infrastructure software products and provides the breadth and depth of technology needed for the design, construction, and operations of high performance infrastructure. Among the various innovative core capabilities of V8i are intuitive design modelling, interactive dynamic views, intrinsic geo-coordination and incredible project performance.

What are the strategic advantages of using V8i?
Liew: The most important advantage is of course interoperability. However, V8i offers a host of other business benefits to user organisations. These include:

  • Infrastructure project improvements leading to lower total installed cost coupled with lower operating  expenses.
  • More efficient retrofits and modifications throughout the infrastructure’s lifecycle.
  • A competitive edge in the face of increased global competition.
  • Increased efficiency, safety and reliability of infrastructure and the services it provides.

Sustainability has been a key focus area for Bentley. Can you elaborate on this?
Liew: Sustainability is well entrenched in our business philosophy. We cater to the infrastructure industry and we firmly believe that infrastructure is the interface between people and our planet, and we recognise our responsibility in this context.

While our solutions have enabled infrastructure professionals and organisations to build some of the most enduring projects, we also play a vital role in both sustaining our society as well as in sustaining our environment.

Our proven applications enable engineers, architects, contractors, governments, institutions, utilities and owner-operators to design, build and operate more productively. These solutions also facilitate collaboration amongst infrastructure professionals across geographies so that they can deliver infrastructure projects that perform more sustainably.

Today, there are a number of critical global issues like CO2 emissions, climate change, the availability of clean water and sanitation, unsafe bridges, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, coastal flooding, hazardous waste, and depletion of non-renewable resources. We recognise that infrastructure and infrastructure professionals will play a fundamentally important role in successfully addressing them.

In the BE 2009 Seminar, you have focussed on few key sectors like roads & rail, oil & gas and water. Is there any reason for not choosing any other sector like airports, for example?
Walter: Actually, there are 13 sectors that Bentley has specific focus on. For this seminar here, we chose only three. There’s a lot that we haven’t talked about at this seminar and one of those things is airports. In fact, we do a lot of airports both in India as well as internationally.

Our products were used at the new Bangalore airport as well as on the expansion of the Mumbai airport. They were also used at the Beijing International Airport.

Continuing from the previous question, you obviously do have products for the power sector. There has been a lot of talk of nuclear power plants in India in the recent times. Are you anticipating anything with regards to nuclear projects in India where you could work?
Walter: Absolutely. It is a segment that we have a specific focus on. Within power generation is the nuclear segment and we have some very interesting capabilities in this field that could be very useful for the users. One of those is construction of nuclear plants. Perhaps, nowhere it is as important to understand construction sequencing down to the millimetres as it is in a nuclear facility. So the nuclear segment is certainly important to us.

It is interesting how things are developing around the world in this regard. There is a lot of talk in the US on this issue but no action. There are other parts of the world where commitments have started to be made. For example, in Japan. We have also been doing nuclear projects in other countries like Korea, France and China.

In fact, in India, we are working on a project for the Nuclear Power Corporation of India. We would also like to mention here that nuclear projects require a special coding and we are building most of the codes in our products.

How much do you spend on R&D?
We dedicate 20% of our revenue for R&D and we have been doing that for quite a while now. Twenty percent is a huge amount! Yes, it is quite a significant amount. Now, you need to understand that research is important to us but to be honest, we are more ‘D’ than ‘R’.

We have the applied research group that looks beyond the ‘next version’ of software to identify, investigate, and validate new technologies and application areas to help improve the world’s infrastructure.

For example, for the year 2008, the key areas for this applied research group’s efforts included computational design, distributed review and augmented reality, engineering optimisation, real-time assets and work packaging.

Christopher Liew, VP & territory executive, Asia South, Bentley Systems
In his role as the VP & territory executive for Asia South (South East Asia and South Asia), Christopher Liew is responsible for leading the sales organisation. With more than 23 years of sales and marketing experience in the IT industry, Liew is responsible for strategically augmenting Bentley’s regional business growth. Prior to his current appointment, he was the area GM, ASEAN, technology solutions sales where he was responsible for substantially boosting Oracle’s revenue and market share in solutions selling. Liew holds a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours majoring in Computer Science from the Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Malcolm S Walter, COO and Sr VP, Bentley Systems Inc.
Malcolm S Walter joined Bentley in 1999 and has served as COO and senior vice president since 2000. Walter has responsibility for Bentley’s global sales and marketing organisations. Prior to joining Bentley, He was CFO for R&B, Inc, a NASDAQ listed company and a worldwide distributor of automotive parts for aftermarket repair. Previously, Walter held positions in finance and operations with several technology companies. He is a CPA and has worked for Arthur Andersen for six years.

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