2020 Esri Partner Conference

A Conference in the time of Coronavirus

Insight by Michael Krome /

Reflections on the 2020 Esri Partner Conference

Reminders to think of preventing the spread of the virus were everywhere

How quickly the world changes!  Whilst the risk of Coronavirus has been expanding across the world, when I boarded my flight on Friday morning, I never expected to have an email waiting for me when I landed in the USA, advising that the Esri Developer Summit had been cancelled and the Esri Partner Conference scaled back. 

What to do – do I stay? or book an immediate return flight home?

Fortunately, I decided to stay and attend what turned out to be a fantastic few days at the Esri Partner Conference in Palm Springs.  Although the mood was undeniably more sombre than in previous years (nothing like that moment when you go to shake hands before realising it’s supposed to be an elbow bump or backslap instead!) the lower numbers meant more free-flowing discussion in sessions and easier access to key Esri personnel. In addition to the presentations, I met with our product partner con terra, as well as other Esri Partners doing amazing things around the world. 

Here’s what I took away from the event on where the Esri product stack is going and what to watch out for in the coming months:

ArcGIS Indoors

ArcGIS Indoors is a complete indoor mapping system for smart building management. Through an extended version of ArcGIS Pro, native web and mobile applications, and an indoor information model, ArcGIS Indoors provides a common operating picture for executives, workplace services personnel, and other employees and visitors to understand, manage, and use their workplace environment.

I see this new technology, which integrates seamlessly with any number of Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS), as being particularly useful in mapping internal routes within and between buildings that are part of a larger precinct, such as universities or airports. When combined with application linking to integrate workflows with other systems such as Works Management some interesting and practical applications for common asset management processes emerge.

The pricing model for ArcGIS Indoors is quite different to existing Esri technology. As it is a containerised kit that includes server and desktop product, licensing is based on a price per square foot of mapped floorspace.

Although still a version 1.0 release, it’s an exciting tool that addresses the question of how best to get from Point A to Point B within a building to find people and locations.

BIM & GIS Integration

Closely coupled with the ArcGIS Indoors solution, BIM is a topic on everyone’s radar at the moment. There are some very exciting solutions being developed to support BIM integration with GIS, including:

  • Web to Web integration;
  • BIM360 – GIS integration; and
  • more integrations with non-AutoDesk solutions, such as IFC – GIS.

Utility Network

Last time I attended the Esri Partner Conference, I was particularly impressed with the vision and direction established for Esri’s Utility Network and flagged it as a solution to watch for the introduction of new functionality that would better support our asset intensive clients.

This year, I am pleased to report that seven organisations have now gone live with the Utility Network around the world, with a further 29 organisations currently in the transition phase.

Effectively managing data is a challenge that so many organisations frequently struggle with. The Utility Network data model aligns with Advanced Distribution Management Systems (ADMS) requirements as a modern control would expect. The recently released V10.8 Enterprise / Pro 2.5 now also supports File Geodatabase Utility Network models, which will support the migration from Geometric network and offers more functionality for running design scenarios.

Feedback from other Esri Partners who have implemented the Utility Network indicates that its true value over the traditional Geometric Network lies in the high-fidelity detail, which truly represents a digital twin to the operational assets.  This level of detail opens up new functionality not previously seen before.

Schneider Electric ArcFM

Core functionality is being developed and expanded into the ArcGIS Pro version of the ArcFM solution, through four key product offerings:

  • ArcFM Designer XI  – Solution for Designers
  • ArcFM Mobile XI  – Solution for Constructors
  • ArcFM Editor XI  – Solution for GIS Professional
  • ArcFM GDBM XI – Geodatabase Manager

Schneider Electric executives confirmed with me that ArcFM version 10.6.1.x will continue to be supported with no end of life date set at this stage.

Cloud Native

Esri is moving from ‘Cloud Ready / Cloud Optimised’ to ‘Cloud Native’ with the expansion of their technology to function on the cloud-based Kubernetes operating system.

Originally designed by Google, Kubernetes is an open-source container-orchestration system for automating application deployment, scaling, and management maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

ArcGIS Server is currently under development to support all three operating systems – Windows, Linux, and Kubernetes – with the cloud native platform due for release in Q1 2021. This is a good development for organisations looking to support distributed applications. Administrators can expect better security, dynamic scaling, streamlined installation and easier maintenance for cloud deployments.

The first product to be released on the Kubernetes platform is ArcGIS Analytics for IoT. This online platform will consume real-time IoT data feeds providing situational awareness and retrospective analysis of location data to:

  • Monitor critical assets;
  • Unlock spatial insights; and
  • Trigger alerts.

What to tackle first? Time to get started on ArcGIS Pro Migration

The one key barrier to entry for all the above technologies is the need for organisations to transition from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro.  With only a couple more years support for ArcMap, and the recent release of ArcGIS Pro Ver2.5, Clarita highly recommends getting started on your transition from ArcMap’s LAN-based technology to ArcGIS Pro’s thin-client technology to start taking advantage of Esri’s new and emerging functionality. 

Whilst the transition isn’t easy, we recommend that all our clients begin researching, testing and seek training for ArcGIS Pro, so that you are supported to make this change in a timely way.

If there’s anything you would like to know more about, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We can bump elbows and have a chat over coffee and a socially responsible 1.5m distance ????.

ArcGIS Pro Migration

Talk to Clarita's GIS specialists about how to get started.