Bentley's Be Connected Draws 9,000 Registrants — and Counting

30 Jul, 2009 By: Nancy Spurling Johnson

New online seminar series offers live and on-demand events for building and infrastructure professionals.

Last year, the Bentley Empowered (Be) event drew 2,000 customers to Baltimore, Maryland. Traditionally focused on software training, Bentley Systems took a broader approach for 2008, offering a conference lineup that addressed best practices for design, construction, and infrastructure professionals.

The new approach was successful, but the prospect of getting people to travel in the current economy got Bentley to rethink its event yet again for 2009. The result is BE Connected, an online seminar series that kicked off in late June. More than 9,000 customers have registered for events already, and Bentley wants to get the word out about the wealth of content available, including live and recorded events. Seminar content falls into three categories — building, structural engineering, and civil engineering and roads — and six new seminars are added to the lineup every week.

Scheduled live events address broad-ranging topics, from Sustaining the Value of Your Workforce through a Virtual Classroom to Optimizing Engineering for Communications Networks and even Project Complexities of Deep-Level Mine Shafts. Introductions to Bentley software solutions are offered as well, including Bentley Building Electrical Systems and An Introduction to Bentley Expert Designer Gas V8i today, July 30, and Bentley Factories Solution Overview on September 3.

"Be Connected has roughly the same amount and type of content [as did Be] — in some cases more choices and more depth," said Chris Barron, Bentley's vice-president, corporate marketing. Being at a conference in person often means attending one presentation of interest at the expense of another, but the on-demand nature of the online seminar series means customers can take in every event they wish. "On demand is working well for busy people," Barron said. "You can watch when the time is right."

A downloadable seminar guide is available to provide a learning path for attendees. "My Seminars" tracks each registrant's progress through the program and logs credits.

Participation in the series got off to a slow start but grew steadily and saw more than 750 downloads in the first three weeks, Barron said.

Bentley plans to launch 150 total seminars by the time the series wraps up in November, and the company is already considering a year-round program. The registration process is being refined, and podcasts are among the possible program enhancements, Barron said. "We're keeping that open."

The full conference schedule, resources, and registration are available through the Be Connected web site.

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