Bentley Systems offers subscription software

Bentley Systems, which makes geographic information system software, announced the availability of subscription licensing. Company executives said such licensing is to administer, more affordable and provides access to a greater variety of mapping and engineering programs than traditional licensing models.

Under the new program, municipal officials would pay a fixed annual fee ' ranging from 10 cents to $1 person ' based on a city's population. For example, a North American city with a population of 25,000 would be charged $1 per person and a $25,000 annual subscription fee. A larger city of 4.5 million would pay 10 cents per person and a $450,000 yearly fee. Fees would be different in each region of the country.

A single subscription would give municipalities access to unlimited software programs immediately and free them from slow procurement cycles, said Richard Zambuni, global marketing director for Bentley's geospatial division, in a telephone briefing April 13.

Zambuni said the Municipal License Subscription program could lower administrative costs for local governments because they would receive a single invoice once a year to pay for the GIS software. 'Customers don't have to worry about various user-seat or concurrent pricing,' he said.

The company launched the new program this week, but about 15 municipalities worldwide already use the subscription software, including the cities of Edmonton, Canada, and Helsinki, Finland. Another new customer, Kotka, Finland, has saved $60,000, and city officials said they think can save more, Zambuni said.

Company representatives are talking with about 20 other municipalities in North America, focusing particularly on local governments that still use paper maps.

Styli Camateros, vice president of Bentley's geospatial division, said the new licensing model covers a variety of GIS and engineering software. For an addition fee, users can get a training component, too.

For example, if a small municipality pays $25,000 a year for a software subscription, then it would pay 30 percent of that fee ' or $7,500 ' to get the Enterprise Training Subscription. The company offers on-site, hands-on training, online training programs and a combination of the two in which an instructor provides remote training.

Offering software on a subscription basis makes sense for local governments that have diverse information in their GIS systems, Camateros said. With diverse responsibilities for highways and roads, waste water management and other critical instructure, municipalities manage many projects and rely on a variety of expertise and types of GIS software, he said.

Camateros said many municipalities are using 3-D models now that such technology is becoming more affordable. Cities are interested in open standards and systems interoperability, he added.

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