‘After PCs, cloud is an­other chance at the start­ing line’

Cloud tech of­fers a brand new way to ad­dress a wide spec­trum of things: Bent­ley Sys­tems


If the launch of per­sonal com­put­ers a few decades ago marked a thresh­old in tech­nol­ogy, cloud is “an­other chance at the start­ing line,” feels Keith Bent­ley, Chief Tech­nol­ogy Of­fi­cer, Bent­ley Sys­tems.

In a chat with Busi­nessLine at Bent­ley’s ‘Year in In­fra­struc­ture 2017’ in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence, he said while per­sonal com­put­ers en­hanced in­di­vid­ual pro­duc­tiv­ity, cloud is a new way to ad­dress many things. It cre­ates a vast op­por­tu­nity and is a “sec­ond once-in-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity,” he felt.

A dig­i­tal fu­ture

He was talk­ing in the back­drop of the con­fer­ence on dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion of in­fra­struc­ture and the cloud-based prod­ucts and ser­vices that en­able it. Over 1,500 par­tic­i­pants had gath­ered at the Ma­rina Bay Sands Con­ven­tion Cen­tre here for the three-day event or­gan­ised by Bent­ley — a soft­ware sys­tems provider for in­fra­struc­ture com­pa­nies — on the op­por­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges that dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion rep­re­sents for project de­liv­ery and as­set per­for­mance.

Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion, au­to­ma­tion, ma­chine learn­ing, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, cloud-based ser­vices…the terms flowed freely as se­nior ex­ec­u­tives from some of the largest in­fra­struc­ture prod­ucts and ser­vices com­pa­nies ad­dressed the gath­er­ing.

At a panel dis­cus­sion by Bent­ley’s al­liance part­ners, par­tic­i­pants got a per­spec­tive on the scale of dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and trans­for­ma­tion, in the way in­fra­struc­ture is de­signed, built and op­er­ated.

Ray O’Con­nor, CEO, Top­con Po­si­tion­ing

While per­sonal com­put­ers en­hanced in­di­vid­ual pro­duc­tiv­ity a few decades back, cloud is a new way to ad­dress var­i­ous things at the en­ter­prise level

Group, a com­pany that man­u­fac­tures po­si­tion­ing sen­sors, said the $10-tril­lion con­struc­tion sec­tor is tak­ing to au­to­ma­tion. Top­con makes about 4,000 kits for au­tomat­ing job sites; but for every two heavy equip­ment that are au­to­mated,

there are 98 more that are not. Au­to­ma­tion by large con­struc­tion com­pa­nies has so far been in the after-mar­ket, but the tip­ping point has been reached.

Since 1945, pro­duc­tiv­ity in agri­cul­ture has in­creased 1,500 per cent, in man­u­fac­tur­ing 750 per cent and in con­struc­tion just 6 per cent. Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion is key to fill­ing the pro­duc­tiv­ity gap, he said.

Huge in­vest­ments

Les­lie Sistla, Di­rec­tor, Global Al­liances Man­u­fac­tur­ing and Re­sources In­dus­try, Mi­crosoft, said the com­pany pro­vides a se­cure cloud plat­form that will help this trans­for­ma­tion. “It is truly time for au­to­ma­tion and data,” she added.

Huge in­vest­ments are go­ing into the se­cu­rity for a trusted cloud, she said.

Michael Sch­nei­der, Global Head and Gen­eral Man­ager, Siemens Power Tech­nolo­gies In­ter­na­tional, said the in­fra­struc­ture com­pany has had a long pres­ence in IT with a $4-bil­lion busi­ness in soft­ware and au­to­ma­tion. But now it is mov­ing for­ward with link­ing au­to­ma­tion with ap­pli­ca­tion soft­ware.

This writer is in Sin­ga­pore at the in­vi­ta­tion of Bent­ley Sys­tems.

Sky’s the limit

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