Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bentley LEARN 2014

Just got back from the Bentley Learn 2014 Architecture and Plant conference held in Charlotte, NC.  I'm happy to report that it was an excellent conference.  The venue was great for the size of the event, the sessions (at least the ones I went to) were informative and interesting.   The food and refreshments at the meals and breaks were fantastic.  Never underestimate the importance of food, snacks and drinks at a conference.  They can make or break an event.

Not sure how many people attended the conference I would estimate approximately 120 or so.  Which was less than I expected but made for a cozy event.  It is interesting to go to events that are a bit outside of your general area of work.  I deal with the civil side (roads and bridges) of the Bentley universe.  This conference focused on the Architectural and Plant (A&P) design world.  The core products of the Bentley product line MicroStation, Projectwise, cross all disciplines.  But products like AECOSim, AutoPlant and Generative Components are unique to the A&P world.

The Civil world is behind the A&P world in using BIM and 3D design tools.  But is ahead of it in technologies such as point clouds, stereo imaging and DTMs.  One thing I found interesting was that Generative Components came up in half of the sessions I attended.  I heard more about it here than I had at two Smart Geometry conferences I've attended over the past few years.  It may be that Bentley has finally discovered what a powerful product they have and now after years are finally trying to get the word out.  We will see.

One other item of note was Bentley is finally trying to use social media. Unfortunately, the MicroStation world has not embraced social media like users of other products.  It is a start though and I hope they continue to make use of the technology.  Social media can enhance the conference experience for product users (even if you aren't there in person).  If you would like to check out the twitter feed of from the conference the hashtag was #bentley14.

One other thing I noticed at this conference was the age of the average attendee.  It was not the youngest group I've ever hung out with.  I'm 54 and maybe at the high side of the scale but not by much.  May explain why things like social media, 3d and collaboration tools have not taken off as fast as one would think.  Just and observation.