Yesterday marked the start of the 2014 edition of Bentley’s Year In Infrastructure conference. COO Malcolm Walter told us that he counted over 100 cranes while looking out the window at Bentley’s London offices –and I can see something like 20 from my hotel room window– so it’s clearly the place to hold a conference on all things building/civil/mining/plant/offshore.

4929822231_4451a30d6c_mMy day started early, as the plant/process/offshore jury revisited the finalist projects in our categories and got ready for the presentation sessions today. Once again, I’m so impressed with how seriously everyone takes this process: the entrants work so hard on their projects and on getting their submissions together. The juries try hard to understand the projects and what makes them unique and creative. Bentley shepherds us all along, trying to keep the process on track. Today, it all comes together as the finalists get one last chance to impress, then we hand over our decisions and wait for tomorrow night’s banquet. It’s a big deal to make it this far, and all finalists are to be congratulated.

Bentley also held a press/analyst briefing yesterday afternoon. You can track it as it happened by checking my Twitter feed (@monica_schnitge) or searching for the #YII2014 hashtag. Highlights included

  • a refresh of the Bentley product portfolio under the CONNECT Edition badge that’s a hybrid desktop/cloud/on-premise/mobile computing environment and a cleaner UI, while still supporting the MicroStation V8i DGN file format
  • tighter integration with Trimble for construction modeling –temporary works, sequencing, fabrication detailing, workface planning, construction work packaging and so on– to make the design to construction hand-off more efficient
  • integration of Bentley’s point-cloud technology with Siemens’ Tecnomatix for realistic simulation of industrial manufacturing plants
  • the introduction of MineCycle, new products to help the mining industry with mine planning. Not my area of expertise, but I had breakfast with some of the team today and learned that MineCycle Designer, Survey and Material Handling helps mining engineers figure out how to exploit the natural resource while taking into account all sorts of real and anticipated conditions. The way the product was developed is also interesting: Bentley worked with a syndicate of industry players to direct the project, giving them direct input into the what, how and when of the software’s definition

Lots more to come, but now I’m off to a lot of gnarly project presentations. Good luck to all!

Image courtesy of flickr user DJ Leekee /Lee Smith.