Getting the Most Out of CONNECT Advisor in AutoPIPE

NOTE: CONNECT Advisor is only available with AutoPIPE v11.1 through v12.5.

What’s CONNECT Advisor?

There is enormous untapped potential for your Bentley software to help you become more productive and successful. Bentley's CONNECT Advisor helps unlock this potential by accelerating your mastery of Bentley software as part of your everyday workflow. By providing in-application access to personalized learning content that is relevant for you, you can increase your proficiency and complete work faster and smarter.

CONNECT Advisor is now available to SELECT subscribers as an integrated service for use within every Bentley application. Today we will talk about it's application within AutoPIPE. With CONNECT Advisor users now have quick and easy access to a wealth of learning content, including on-the-fly contextual help and recommendations, directly within the software application. 

With CONNECT Advisor, you can search and access application-specific learning content, including thousands of on-demand and live virtual training videos, virtual learn conferences and best practice webinars, wikis, forums, YouTube videos, support, and communities content.

Using CONNECT Advisor in AutoPIPE

Now let’s say you’re working on a model and need to find information on performing Hot Clash Detection in AutoPIPE. In CONNECT Advisor’s search bar, just type “Hot Clash” (CONNECT Advisor fully supports literal, fuzzy, and Boolean search parameters), then press <Enter>.

CONNECT Advisor found 2 LEARN server courses that address Hot Clash, 19 entries on Bentley Communities, 9 YouTube videos, and 7 occurrences in the product help files. We’re also performing the search on any PDF files installed with the software, like the AutoPIPE Tutorial and the Quick Start Guide. Those results are included within the Product Help category.

Remember all those product assistance resources we addressed in my previous blog post? The Content Type drop-down enables you to select the resources to cultivate for your search, or to filter the results of a completed search.

Once we have our search results, let’s see how we can use that information. Expand the LEARN server offerings. I can see there’s a Special Interest Group recording that addresses hot clash detection. Also notice that CONNECT Advisor recognizes this as an Intermediate-level offering, while the result below it is a Fundamental-level course.

If I click on the first entry, a playback window appears. I can see there’s a video available specifically about Hot Clash Detection. If I click on it, the video starts playing in the window. I have full video playback controls, so I can pause, fast-forward, or even reverse to get to exactly the information I’m looking for.

Now let’s see what’s available on Communities. If you have a lot of search results, like in this case, you can sort the list by Author, Date, Relevance, and Title.

You can also filter the list to further narrow down the information you’re looking for. I see I can download a Hot Clash Detection Tutorial from Communities. Just click on the link and I’m instantly taken to Bentley Communities where I can download the file.

So how about YouTube? I see I can play a YouTube video on the benefits of using Hot Clash Detection. And there’s also one on how to perform a Hot Clash Detection. Again, just click on the link and it automatically plays for you. But maybe I don’t have time to watch the whole video right now, but I want to save a link to it. If I right-click on the video, I can add it to my favorites, which we’ll talk more about shortly.

If I think this video can be useful to another team member, I can select Recommend To Others, then enter an email address and a link to the video will be sent to them. If I select the Recommendations tab, I can see that I’ve saved a short-cut to the video to watch later in my favorites list.

Something you might consider is building a custom “knowledge base” for your team members or your colleagues. You could assemble relevant LEARN offerings, YouTube videos, and so on as links in your Favorites folder. Then once you’re happy with your collection, you could recommend those items to another team member and they would have their own custom knowledge library.

CONNECT Advisor suggests learn courses using an algorithm that considers your current in-progress courses and learning paths and provides you with suggestions in the Suggested Trainings area.

We’ve just seen how we can manually enter a search term in CONNECT Advisor to get information, but AutoPIPE has a very handy built-in feature that automate that process. Pressing the Search button in AutoPIPE displays the Command Search Utility. This helps you locate and execute any ribbon command.

By typing the first few letters of a command, the utility automatically filters to match that value. Let’s use Run for example. At the bottom of the list is an entry to search CONNECT Advisor for that value.

Click this option and the value is automatically transferred to CONNECT Advisor and the search is executed. We can see the Product Help returned 40 instances of the term Run. Just click on the link and the help file is launched and navigates directly to that topic.

What if you have new team members you need to get up-to-speed and productive as quickly as possible? CONNECT Advisor’s QuickStarts pull-down provides access to a series of short video lectures that help you learn the fundamentals and get jumpstarted with AutoPIPE.

Remember the Events webpage and the News and Announcements forum we mentioned earlier? CONNECT Advisor provides drop-down options to keep you up-to-date on the latest news and developments. The Upcoming Events drop-down displays all events scheduled for the next 60 days. Events like webinars, seminars, live virtual conferences, and industry events are shown here with a calendar. You can even filter the events by the event type, by specific product brand, region, and language. You can also register for upcoming events directly from here.

But CONNECT Advisor isn’t just a resource consolidation utility – it’s much more powerful than that. How about having your own personal advisor that has the intelligence to understand what you’re working on in the application and gives you contextual assistance?

Notice the Contextual tab on the CONNECT Advisor. Click on it to have focus.

In AutoPIPE, let’s say we’re working along on a model and need to insert a Pipe Run, but there may be an unusual set of circumstances about where we’re inserting that run. Pick a point on a tee and insert the run. Now watch the Contextual tab. Notice how it runs in the background without any prompting. CONNECT Advisor is intelligent enough to understand what you’re doing in the application and automatically retrieves information specific to that action.

You can see we have some helpful information that might solve our situation. I can see there’s a topic specifically for inserting a run on a tee, which is exactly what I was trying to do.

Click on the first link. CONNECT Advisor starts playing a feature video that walks me through the steps to insert a run on a tee. Again, I have full playback controls in this video’s window and I can move it anywhere on my monitor. The Feature Video gives you sub-captions to guide you through the steps, and the relevant ribbon icon is always displayed in the upper left-hand corner.

In CONNECT Advisor’s Contextual tab, you can see the level of information associated with each feature video just beneath the title, and a short description. The last entry we see is a short-cut to a specific topic in the AutoPIPE help files that addresses Runs. The icons adjacent to each of the entries indicates what type of media you’re accessing.

Obviously, this can be a very powerful user-assistance service. In case you’re curious, every AutoPIPE Ribbon command has assistance displayed in the Contextual tab – that’s over 550 individual commands!

If you would like to learn more about CONNECT Advisor and see a demonstration of its, we encourage you to watch a recording of our June 20, 2018 Tech Talk.  In summary, below are just a few of the benefits of leveraging CONNECT Advisor.

Read the next installment in this series: "CONNECT Advisor: There's No Such Thing as a Silly Question!"