Industry Infrastructure

Partnership set to extend company’s rail capabilities

At the recent Bentley Illuminate symposium held in Sydney, global leaders in the infrastructure sector convened to discuss critical themes reshaping the landscape of infrastructure engineering. Representatives from key Bentley partners shared insights into the software company’s pivotal role in driving industry success, including Steven Coyle, national digital lead – Mobility at Arcadis.

Rail Express spoke with Coyle and Mike Campbell, chief product officer at Bentley, to find out how the partnership between the two organisations has enabled engineering consultants Arcadis to take project delivery to the next level.

Engineering consultants Arcadis and software company Bentley have enjoyed a strong partnership fostering growth for each through collaboration. The companies have grown from a transactional relationship to one that is truly collaborative in which each organisation is encouraging the other to grow.

“Bentley is our most critical ecosystem partner within Arcadis for delivering linear infrastructure projects,” Coyle said.

“We have a very strong connection with our customer success manager through Bentley. At Arcadis, we are quite open, sharing our must-win projects and overall strategy.

“Through our mature relationship with Bentley, we are scaling beyond what we would normally see for Design and Engineering, and moving strategically into Technical Advisory and Asset Management.”

Coyle explained that an important part of the collaboration is the global nature of the partnership.

“We have global expertise, and I want to connect that expertise to our Australian operations,” he said.

Arcadis has been working on a number of exciting projects including Melbourne Metro, Sydney Metro, Metronet and the Midland Station.

The organisation has been utilising the SYNCHRO application with Bentley’s platform to create a virtual model of the project to better visualise and anticipate outcomes.

“With SYNCHRO, we know that we have excellent SYNCHRO capability in the US, and they use our Global Excellence Centre (GEC) in India, where we have many users and subject matter expertise. How can we better coordinate that effort rather than establishing this in Australia from scratch,” Coyle said.

Campbell explained that the goal for Bentley is creating software that users care about.

“In terms of the challenge of how we work together, I think gone are the days when you would buy software, receive a CD, and that was it,” he said.

“We have a co-dependency now, both commercially and technically. It’s certainly different today than it was 10 years ago, and it needs to continue to progress. Challenges are valuable because they push us to reach the next level, and as a company, we must continue to respond to them.

“From where I sit within Bentley, it’s recognised that intimacy, understanding, and engagement between us and businesses like Arcadis is the way forward.”

Improving infrastructure with technology

Coyle explained that Arcadis is placing a strong emphasis on integrating Bentley’s OpenRail software into its ecosystem.

“We’ve been utilising iTwin Capture within ProjectWise, recognising the paramount importance of data access for all of our people, facilitated by the iTwin Platform,” he said.

“What sets iTwin apart from other applications is its capability for geometry checks, a feature we’ve successfully implemented in road and highway infrastructure applications.

“Our next objective with our rail team, particularly following our recent win of a significant rail project in New South Wales, is to extend this capability to our rail projects.

“For this project, which is soon to be announced, we’ve developed an ecosystem centred around Bentley’s OpenRail ConceptStation, supplemented by data from optioneering software.”

Coyle explained that the programs are being used for both digital equivalents of real-world environments and for inspection and maintenance preparations.

“We’re mainly using it for asset inspections on the operational side,” he said.

“This is because we’re combining that with another ecosystem partner that I know Bentley works with, Niricson.

“We’re integrating their thermal and acoustic testing capabilities with the imagery data from iTwin Capture. For early-stage concept designs, we absolutely capture data and put it into iTwin Capture.”

Coyle said that the shift towards performing design checks, specifically geometry checks, marks an evolution for the organisation.

“Previously, rail engineers would extract data from OpenRail, and utilise their own specific software for geometry checks,” he said.

“Now, with OpenRoads and OpenRail, all necessary data is integrated, streamlining the design checking process and enhancing efficiency. We consistently assess alternative applications, comparing their capabilities to iTwin. Increasingly, we find iTwin capable of fulfilling our needs.

“After 18 years of working with Bentley, one aspect that stands out to me now more than ever is its roadmap. We have a clearer vision of what lies ahead, or at least the possibilities, and that’s truly exciting.”

Coyle celebrated the Bentley Illuminate event, saying the industry has not had an event like this for close to nine years.

“From my perspective, and I think from a Bentley perspective, considering all of the challenges spoken about by industry leaders at this event, particularly the demand on infrastructure professionals, there’s a lot of work to be done,” he said.

“That communication, that transparency, that alignment and that shared vision of where we’re going is so important to me.

“I think Arcadis and Bentley have a great partnership today, but it needs to be an outstanding partnership as we move forward. We need to continue to stay engaged, and Bentley is reconfiguring itself to be better at that.”

Coyle touched on an example, of how in the past each company had two separate field facing teams: a set of account managers dealing with commercial activities and a team managing user success and adoption.

“We recently brought those teams together so that we can do a better job of supporting our users,” he said.

“We’ve committed to making our support experience, a strength. Today, I would say our support experience is good, but it could be better. So, strengthening this is a corporate priority. It’s all about customer intimacy, account user intimacy, and driving better alignment.”