In a trend toward integration and connectivity of its products, Bentley Systems Inc. said on Nov. 1 that OpenRoads Designer CONNECT Edition soon will become available to its early-access users—succeeding its civil engineering design brands InRoads, GEOPAK, MX and Power Civil. The infrastructure software solutions provider announced the development at its Year in Infrastructure conference in London.

Bentley and Topcon Positioning Group also announced plans Nov. 2 to connect their cloud services platforms, allowing development of a seamless workflow between their respective products where reality-captured survey data will inform engineering design, then return to the site to control graders or other equipment and then send back in real-time as-built measurements of work put in place.

“Although the OpenRoads Designer product is brand new, its functionality already has been at the core of the model-based design of the previous, separate products,” said CEO Greg Bentley, announcing the news. In the OpenRoads suite “no data is lost,” he explains, from concept to detailed design—across multiple disciplines—and into construction with detailed inputs possible to construction equipment. The suite includes OpenRoads Navigator which runs on Windows, but also on iOS or Android devices, assuring the visibility of project status from the office to the field.

Dustin Parkman, Bentley vice president of civil and reality modeling, said that in OpenRoads Designer, things that are "being modeled are intelligent components for infrastructure.” It helps users understand the financial realities of different design options much earlier in the process and carry the decisions made at the early stages directly into design. He adds that the new product retains the ability to produce deliverables characteristic of each of the predecessor products but also includes enhancements and cloud services features designed to unite work in OpenRoads models with work in other, similarly connected tools.

With the value of global transport projects in development at $1 trillion for roads and $2.5 trillion for rail, according to Steve Cockerell, Bentley industry marketing director for road and rail, the company also is working on a rail sector rollout for 2017. Its OpenRail concept design tool is set to be released in the first quarter followed by a suite of integrated products for the rail sector by the end of next year.

In the Bentley-Topcon collaboration, each company agrees to bring to market cloud-based products that include the services of both, which can lead to new construction workflows. As a first step, Bentley and Topcon will connect customers across the two companies’ server platforms—ProjectWise CONNECT Edition and MAGNET Enterprise. Topcon will use Bentley’s Context Capture image processing to digest the data gathered by unmanned aerial systems. Ray O’Connor, President and CEO of Topcon, said he now amends the common wisdom, “what gets measured gets improved,” to say “what gets measured in real time gets improved in real time.”

The developments are part of a broad enhancement of Bentley’s products from their ability to exchange data with other Bentley products in a shared server environment, such as Bentley’s ProjectWise, to an ability to connect across Microsoft Azure servers and make equally seamless collaborative exchanges with project and asset data on the server platforms of others, such as Topcon and Bureau Veritas.

Bureau Veritas, which also presented at the conference, is a global testing, inspection and certification service that serves more than 400,000 companies. Bentley’s AssetWise Connect Edition—whose delivery also was announced on Nov. 1, sets AssetWise up for the real-time connection of asset data accumulated across the life cycle, from design through construction and operations, with products and processes in other non-Bentley systems, such as that of Bureau Veritas.