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CAD Tech News (#97)

1 Nov, 2018 By: Cadalyst Staff


▶ Backed by a New Big Brother, Bricsys Eyes a Bigger Piece of the Pie

Bricsys's pursuit of DWG-based CAD users will get a boost from an acquisition by Hexagon.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

Bricsys has always been a small company with big ambitions. Now, after 16 years of going it alone, the Belgium-based developer of BricsCAD will have the resources to support more of those ambitions — including greater penetration into the U.S. CAD software market. Hexagon, the multinational corporation that purchased Intergraph in 2010, has added Bricsys to its fold, the two companies announced this week.

Although there's a substantial size discrepancy between the two (Hexagon boasts some 19,000 employees, while the Bricsys count is closer to 200), the larger company won't be swallowing up the smaller. Bricsys will continue operations as its own division within Hexagon PPM (formerly Intergraph's Process, Power, and Marine division), and CEO Erik de Keyser will stay at the helm. "I'm not going anywhere," he declared, addressing attendees of the Bricsys 2018 conference this week in London.

Rick Allen, president of CADWorx and Analysis Solutions in Hexagon PPM, dismissed the possibility that the fiercely independent Bricsys will have to change its way of doing things as a result of the acquisition. "I don't like to fix what's not broken," he said, observing that there's "very little difference in philosophy" between the two companies and their approach to serving customers.

Acquisition Motivations

Bricsys has long focused on profitability over growth and devoted the greatest portion of its budget to software development, so there was little left for such luxuries as sales and marketing teams. Therefore, in order to expand his company's reach and build wider customer awareness, "we had to take huge, huge steps," explained de Keyser — either sacrificing R&D to build out its own sales and marketing capabilities, or joining forces with a better-equipped entity. And after a year and a half of talks, that resource-rich organization was revealed to be Hexagon.

"We have a large sales and marketing team in the U.S.," Allen said, referring to a primary market where Bricsys currently has little visibility. "The footprint of Hexagon in the U.S. — that's quite substantial," de Keyser concurred. He anticipates a "boost" in that market as awareness grows thanks to Hexagon.

For Hexagon, the acquisition of Bricsys means that "we're going back to where our roots started from," said Allen. He explained that Intergraph was founded as M&S Computing in 1969, and in its collaborations with NASA on missile guidance systems, "M&S Computing invented CAD." Read more »

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's editor in chief.

▶ Drones Help Small Team Tackle Big Campus Digitization Project

Skand's application of Bentley Systems reality capture technology provides RMIT University with a new view of its building facades and roofs.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

At Bentley Systems' annual Year in Infrastructure conference, the infrastructure solutions developer honors its customers that have made innovative use of its software products in a variety of application areas. At this year's event, the award for Advancements in Reality Modeling went to Skand, a small Melbourne-based startup, for its digitization of the Brunswick campus of RMIT University.

Skand specializes in the inspection of building roofs and facades, using drones to collect visual or thermal information about their condition and heat output. Skand then creates a 3D model of each building and applies artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze the collected images and find defects. Users can access the results through a centralized, cloud-based viewing platform, and generate reports about the different types of defects, their relative importance, and specific location.

RMIT approached the company with the goal of creating a digital version of its campus. Skand cofounder Brett Chilton explained: "It was really important to [the university representatives] because we'd worked on a previous iteration of the project in a 2D orthophoto representation, and sitting down with them, they said … you wouldn't [believe] how many times we were able to use even the 2D orthophoto to share with contractors and people that wanted to get on their roofs and on their buildings, and how powerful it was for them to have that information without having to jump in a car or on a bus, on a train, to travel to the site to do site [reconnaissance] and actually view the campus."

At Bentley Systems Year in Infrastructure 2018, Brett Chilton explains how Skand creates 3D models of buildings from drone-collected imagery.
At Bentley Systems Year in Infrastructure 2018, Brett Chilton explains how Skand creates 3D models of buildings from drone-collected imagery.

Read more »

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's editor in chief.

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