Working From Home With Your OpenFlows Software

Product(s): WaterGEMS, WaterCAD, HAMMER, SewerGEMS, SewerCAD, StormCAD, CivilStorm, PondPack, FlowMaster, CulvertMaster, FLOOD, WaterOps, SewerOPS
Version(s): CONNECT Edition


If you have a need to work remotely or from home, Bentley is here to help. To ensure a smooth transition of work and effectiveness of your daily workflows with Bentley OpenFlows software, consider the following tips and resources (to supplement the general information available here). We are working hard to deliver high levels of customer service, and welcome feedback, questions, and ideas (See: OpenFlows Forum) on how we can serve you better in a remote work environment.

For a video overview, see the bottom of this article, or the Webinar version here.

Accessing OpenFlows Product Licenses From Home

If you have a connection to the internet and are using a company-issued computer at home, your OpenFlows product should continue to activate as it did at work. You will need to sign into the CONNECTION Client with your company credentials. More general information on license activation at home can be found here: Working from Home using Bentley Licensing

License "Feature level" considerations

If you have a need to activate an OpenFlows product for the first time while working remotely and your organization has access to multiple feature levels of the product (for example 2000 pipes, unlimited pipes, etc for WaterGEMS) you may be prompted to select a license feature level. Care should be taken to select the appropriate feature level to prevent any unintended term license usage. In our latest CONNECT Edition releases, feature levels that your organization owns a perpetual license of will be highlighted in bold font. It is typically best to select one of these unless you have a need to use an elevated feature level. If in doubt, consult with your Administrator or the person who manages your licenses. See below for how to find your administrator(s). For more guidance on feature level selection, see: Setting the License Feature Level in the Feature Level Selector

Internet connection considerations

If you are unable to connect to the internet on your company-issued computer while at home, there are licensing considerations. The latest CONNECT Edition versions (10.02.XX.XX and greater) can be used offline for up to seven days. If you need to be without internet access for longer, your OpenFlows product has the capability to "reserve" (check out) licenses.  For computers without internet connectivity, license files can be generated from the administration website by the Administrator from an internet-connected machine. See: How to check out licenses from Entitlement Management:

If you are able to connect to the internet but are experiencing network-related problems or performance issues (slow speed or sporadic connectivity) please note the features mentioned in the below section which will be impacted. It may be best to store model files and any attachments (such as backgrounds) on your local hard drive if network connection or performance is a concern.

For more information on installing and licensing your OpenFlows product without internet, see:

Install and license OpenFlows CONNECT Edition products without an internet connection

Additional information and troubleshooting for OpenFlows product licensing can be found here: 

Latest CONNECT Edition releases: Licensing OpenFlows products - Subscription Entitlement Service

Older versions: Licensing OpenFlows | Hydraulics and Hydrology products - SELECTserver

How do I find out who my site Administrator(s) are?

Your organization can have one or more Administrators who can assist with Bentley license management, downloads, assigning permission, etc. A list of your Administrators can be seen by going to https://connect.bentley.com. Below the Welcome Banner, click on the 'How are you CONNECTED?' link; you will find a list of your site Administrators in the “Administrators” tab (with email addresses) 

OpenFlows product features that require Internet Connectivity

The following feature rely on an internet connection:

  • CONNECTION Client (to activate)
  • CONNECT Advisor
  • Connected projects
  • ProjectWise integration
  • SCADA signal connections (for example to a database)
  • Bing Maps
  • Access to hydraulic models stored on a company network folder location
  • Access to other background layers stored on a company network folder location
  • Online Help documentation and Wiki article knowledgebase 
  • (SewerOPS) Online NOAA rainfall forecast data
  • (OpenFlows FLOOD) XYZ initial data import from NOAA ETOPO and NASA HGT DTM

If you are connecting to your corporate network using a VPN and experience connection problems or slow connection speed, the above features can be impacted. For example a background image may take a long time to load or may fail.

Sharing Model Files

If multiple users need to work on the same hydraulic model file while working remotely, it is important to be aware of potential issues that can arise if the model is stored on a shared network folder. When using a VPN you would be able to access network locations from your company network, but a "lock file" is not maintained and multiple users would be able to open and work on a hydraulic model at the same time. When a model is opened in an OpenFlows product, the model is copied to the Windows temporary folder, and when it is saved, it is copied back to the original location. So, the last user to save the model would overwrite any changes made by other users who had the model open at the same time. This can result in loss of work. So, if you have a need to share model files with multiple users, consider storing them on your local hard drive instead (and send the updated model revision to the next user who needs to work on it), or store the model in ProjectWise. See more here.

Using Virtualization / Citrix

Organizations may opt to use virtualization software such as Citrix to manage software installations for users who are connected remotely via VPN. Desktop virtualization such as XenDesktop is supported. More information can be found here: Using OpenFlows products with Citrix or other Virtualized environments

Using a Virtual Machine

Virtual machines (VMs) are a way to manage operating systems and work remotely with a running Remote Desktop Connection, login credentials and a valid IP address. Installing virtualization software allows one or more virtual machines to share one physical computer. Your IT administrator can create VMs with a ready-made image of Windows operating system that includes the OpenFlows software and any other software needed. When such a VM is provisioned to you, you can directly launch your OpenFlows product from inside the VM and start working on your project.

Note that OpenFlows product performance will be slower when working within a virtual machine, for example panning in the drawing pane, computing a hydraulic model and performing various operations. Internet connection is maintained separately within the virtual machine and the items further above regarding internet connection apply to the OpenFlows products running inside the VM.

If you encounter visual / graphical problems with the plan view drawing page, you may need to adjust the graphical settings on the VM. Check the graphics hardware drivers (update if possible), check the screen resolution and display settings (through the Windows control panel). If you still encounter problems:

  • For OpenFlows FLOOD, you may need to uncheck the OpenGL "Use hardware acceleration" option (available in the OpenFlows FLOOD Settings window), in order to properly visualize maps when working in a virtual machine.
  • For the other OpenFlows products, try toggling the "use accelerated redraw" settings under File > Options > Global. For issues related to background images, try toggling "use compression" and "optimal image loading" seen in the screenshot at the bottom of this article.
  • For problems with virtualization / Citrix, they may also be related to the way that the drawing pane is rendered and may require updating of the drivers for the discrete or onboard video hardware.

Remote Desktop Connections

It is best to use a company-issued computer with the OpenFlows software installed on it, but if this is not possible you may need to remotely access your computer through a Remote Desktop connection. If you encounter visual / graphical problems while connected via Remote Desktop:

  • You may need to adjust the screen resolution. In Windows 10, right click in your desktop, choose "display settings", then change the resolution.
  • You may need to update the video hardware drivers on either the remote or local computer, or try disabling the remote computer's display adapter. This can be done from Control Panel > Device Manager > Select your display adapter > Disable.
  • For issues related to background images, try toggling "use compression" and "optimal image loading" seen in the screenshot at the bottom of this article. For the AutoCAD integrated platform, use see this.

Transitioning to a Smaller Screen

If you use a large screen and/or multiple monitors when in the office, you may encounter challenges when transitioning to using a smaller screen size (such as a laptop display) when working remotely.

OpenFlows products have a customizable user interface, where you can drag/drop and dock toolbars and managers in such a way that works best for you and your current display configuration. Click here for a demonstration of this, or see the first part of the fundamentals training course for your product. Click here for WaterCAD/WaterGEMS for example.

Remember to use the search bar in the top-right corner (CONNECT Edition) if you are having trouble locating a specific tool or feature.

If you encounter problems accessing tools, menus or other user interface components after transitioning to a smaller screen, try resetting the workspace via View > Gear icon > Reset Worspace (article here.)

Learning / Professional Development Opportunities

If you are working remotely and have time available to do so, it may be a good opportunity to invest in extra training and professional development to prepare yourself for the next project. 

  • Full training courses for OpenFlows products are available on-demand on learn.bentley.com and on our YouTube channel. Click here to access the channel and scroll down to the group of playlists for each product's training courses. Note: to receive Bentley Learning Units (professional development hours), you will need to use access the training courses on learn.bentley.com.
  • Special Interest Group meeting recordings are available here. Various specific topics are covered.
  • More learning material is listed in the "New User Learning Resource Guide" links seen in the "Product Specific Articles" table at the bottom of the OpenFlows Wiki Homepage.
  • A short video is also available which covers learning with the LEARNserver, Live Virtual Classes, and CONNECT Advisor: Learn the Many Ways to Learn

What if I need more help?

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