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Bentley buys in to drone technology future

US software giant Bentley Systems has acquired a French technology firm in a bid to exploit the growing use of drones on construction projects., NCE can reveal.

Bentley last week announced that it had bought Acute3D, whose software Smart3DCapture can automate the generation of high-resolution three-dimensional 3D models from digital photos taken with any camera, whether highly specialised or built in to a Smart Phone.

This software can build a 3D model with as little as 10 photographs, but higher precision models can be produced if more photos are available.

Bentley believes a boom in use of unmanned aerial devices (UADs), known as drones, for site surveying could allow a step change in the way infrastructure assets are monitored during construction and operation.

“You can fast forward to when every engineering project will have a UAD operator on site,” said Bentley chief executive Greg Bentley. “Up to now Acute3D has mainly worked on city-scale mapping using images from aircraft. But all of us can see how UADs are going to make this applicable to site-scale.”

It takes an average of two hours produce a model using photographs. Bentley sees the technology becoming a simple and effective way to measure projects and monitor assets.

“We are thinking of this as an inspection tool, not a survey tool,” added Bentley. “If something doesn’t look right, you can snap off a few pictures, build [a model] and compare it to the [engineering] model.”

The speed and ease with which the 3D model can be built up is the big advance on traditional methods such as laser scanning, according to Bentley.

Acute3D’s technology creates a geo-referenced mesh that can be directly compared to an engineering model created using design software.

“This makes reality modelling available to every civil engineer on every project - continuously,” said Bentley. “

Bentley’s intention is to integrate the Smart3DCapture software into its core products, and to make it available to users to try out for free.

“We want civil engineers to create their own models, so they can see how quick and easy it is and say ‘I want this on my project’,” said Bentley.

The Acute3D acquisition follows Bentley Systems’ acquisition last month of UK operational analytics firm C3global.

C3global’s Amulet software is used to improve the operational efficiency of infrastructure assets by making use of what is known as “big data”.

In Australia, Amulet has been used by South Australian Water to improve the operational efficiency of water distribution systems by tapping into data from Australia’s Met Office and energy providers.

By running algorithms the software predicts when and where demand for water will be greatest as well as the optimum time to pump it round the system to minimise energy costs.

Bentley will integrate Amulet into its AssetWise software.

“Our acquisition of Amulet enables another cumulative building information modelling (BIM) advancement - taking BIM beyond design modelling, beyond construction modelling and reality modelling - and into asset performance modelling,” said Bentley.

“With AssetWise, we already provide comprehensive solutions for reliability-centred maintenance and risk-based inspection. By configuring Amulet’s operational analytics with our engineering analysis portfolio, optioneering can be extended through asset performance modelling for just-in-time operational decisions, which can now predictively consider, beyond engineering, the relevant environmental and economic context.”

AssetWise Amulet is designed to integrate and analyse “big data” generated by a wide range of external applications and systems. The data can include photos, video, log books, Microsoft Excel files, scanned notes, witnessed events and more.

Once data has been captured and aggregated, the software applies the users’ business models and knowledge to enable people to make informed decisions.

 

Bentley goes into predicitve software

Bentley Systems’ Acute3D acquisition follows hotly on from acquisition last month of UK operational analytics firm C3global.

C3global’s Amulet software is used to improve operational efficiency of infrastructure assets by making use of what is widely known as “Big Data”. For example, in Australia Amulet has been used by South Australian Water to improve the operational efficiency of water distribution systems by tapping in to data from Australia’s Met Office and energy providers. By running algorithms the software predicts when and where the demand for water will be greatest and the optimum time to pump it round the system to minimise energy costs.

Bentley will integrate Amulet into its AssetWise software.

Said Bentley: “Our acquisition of Amulet enables another cumulative BIM advancement – taking BIM beyond design modelling, beyond construction modelling and reality modelling – and into asset performance modelling.

“With AssetWise we already provide comprehensive solutions for reliability-centred maintenance and risk-based inspection. By configuring Amulet’s operational analytics with our engineering analysis portfolio, optioneering can be extended through asset performance modelling for just-in-time operational decisions, which can now predictively consider, beyond engineering, the relevant environmental and economic context.”

Bentley said AssetWise Amulet bridges the gap between information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT), enabling advanced analytics to be an integral part of all aspects of the business process.

AssetWise Amulet is designed to integrate and analyse “big data” generated by a wide range of external applications and systems. The data can be structured or unstructured and include systems data, photos, video, log books, Microsoft Excel files, event failures, scanned notes, witnessed events, and more.

Once data from the IT and OT systems has been captured and aggregated, the software applies the users’ business rules, models, and knowledge to provide an improved view and understanding of operational performance for decision support.

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