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

R Balaji Singapore | Updated on January 09, 2018

Sky’s the limit While personal computers enhanced individual productivity a few decades back, cloud is a new way to address various things at the enterprise level   -  Horoscope/

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 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 more than 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.

Published on October 12, 2017

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