CHANCES ARE GOOD AS AN AEC USER, you have heard of Bentley’s ProjectWise collaboration solution for the AEC market. That’s because ProjectWise is used by over 80 percent of the top 50 and over 70 percent of the top 250 design firms in the ENR (Engineering News-Record) composite rankings.
However, there is an even higher chance you have never used it yourself. That’s because the traditional version of ProjectWise descends from the pre-SaaS era of technology, and the more significant majority of architects and engineers in the AEC world work in small to medium-sized firms. Bentley Systems aims to fix that.
ProjectWise 365—For Smaller Firms
To address this issue, Bentley has created ProjectWise 365, an entirely SaaS (software as a service), web browser-based solution for AECO digital project delivery. However, specific market targets are not the only reason why ProjectWise 365 exists. It turns out enterprise-sized AE firms—who are ProjectWise users—are also utilizing the same cloud services included in the new ProjectWise 365 solution.
I would put up our workflows against anybody’s workflows in the industry.
“The nature of ProjectWise 365 is that it can scale from very small workgroups of four or five people up to large projects and enterprises,” says Victor Alvarez, Director of Marketing Programs, Bentley Systems. In fact, Robert DeFeo, ProjectWise 365, Product Manager, Bentley Systems, also noted that for enterprises using the traditional version of ProjectWise, they often use ProjectWise 365 for subcontractors, project owners, and other external stakeholders. That being the case, ProjectWise 365 is primarily targeted at small to medium engineering and design firms. And as a result of the pandemic, subscription fees are waived until September 30 to help AEC users adjust to remote work collaboration challenges.
ProjectWise 365—CDE Basics and What It Does
ProjectWise 365 enables a “common data environment” (CDE) for AECO customers and can provide a single-source of truth for building and infrastructure projects. Importantly, the cloud-based solution is accessible from any modern web browser on any OS. There is also a mobile field app that is used to manage and access data in ProjectWise 365; you can also use your iPad’s web browser (Safari) to access the cloud services through the web.
For design professionals, the field app for ProjectWise 365 works with cellular data connections and does not require a WiFi connection. “As long as the app is configured to use cellular data…” says DeFeo. “We are leveraging technology from our SYNCHRO construction mobile application, to enhance the ProjectWise 365 field app with the ability to download content, comment/markup in the field, even if disconnected and upload once reconnected.” In a nutshell, ProjectWise 365 is built around an anywhere, any-time, any-device development philosophy.
ProjectWise 365 has multi-user concurrent design review capabilities, and PDF compare functionality.
Out of the box (an expression for sure in a cloud app), ProjectWise 365 offers all project stakeholders a secure place to store, find, and share project information, including metadata like audit-trail information. Contractual exchanges like RFIs, submittals, and transmittals are all supported. And most important, ProjectWise 365 generates issues, handles issue assignment, resolution, and reporting. Contractors, for example, can create an RFI (request for information), assign it to an individual on an AE team, attach markup PDFs, and explanatory text information. The architect or engineer then gets notified through email produced from ProjectWise 365, or the software’s extensive dashboard user interfaces, many of which are customizable.
And speaking of “markup.” ProjectWise 365 has multi-user concurrent design review capabilities, and PDF compare functionality. “You can create an issue as part of the markup,” says DeFeo. “And we just released PDF Compare. With all of this integration with Microsoft Teams, and our ability to have a live session, we think this will allow users to substitute Bluebeam Studio with ProjectWise 365.”
DeFeo noted that most Bluebeam users primarily leverage their markup capabilities. “We feel that the primary use for Bluebeam is the live design review session, which can be substituted now with our PDF markup tools inside a ProjectWise 365 live session.”
Bentley and Microsoft have a partnership around ProjectWise 365, but DeFeo said that it is not exclusive. “Any live session where two different teams can have a PDF document up, and they can talk about it, review it live online … whatever collaboration service they want to use will work.” It means teams could use ZOOM or GoTo Meeting or something else, but Microsoft Teams has integrations that add levels of seamlessness.
next page: ProjectWise 365—3D and BIM Viewing