Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Training Simulator Return On Investment

Every time that we begin the development of a new training simulator project, it's important that we identify the return on investment (ROI) that clients can expect to receive. While most companies want to provide the best possible training to their employees, it often comes down to the bottom line and what their budget will support. Training simulators provide significant ROI to clients, as well as excellent training for operators.

When calculating the return on investment that a training simulator offers there are 2 main avenues to focus on. The first is that you will be able to reduce costs by avoiding accidents, and the financial burden that accompanies them. The second is that you will be able to increase revenue by having a more efficient and productive workforce, capable of moving more product in less time.

Take for example a forklift operator training simulator. The goal of a forklift training simulator is to minimize the risks posed by using a forklift in the workplace, and increase employee efficiency. However, when looking at the same project from an ROI perspective the goals of the project are cost reductions and increased revenue.

  1. Cost Reductions: In order to understand the cost reductions that a forklift training simulation provides, one must first understand how a company would be affected financially if an employee had a forklift accident.

    • Lawsuits and Liabilities: Companies regularly suffer large financial losses due to lawsuits and liabilities after a forklift accident. In addition to attorney fees, court costs and settlement amounts, companies often end up paying medical bills, disability payments, and funeral costs. Compare these amounts to the cost to develop a forklift training simulator, and your return on investment has just been handed to you.

    • Injury or Death: In addition to the costs associated with forklift accidents, keeping employees safe should be every company's goal. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that there are approximately 85 forklift fatalities every year, in addition to 34,900 serious injuries and 61,800 non-serious injuries every year. OSHA also estimates that 70% of workplace accidents could have been avoided with proper training. Training simulators are one of the most effective learning tools and will help your company reduce their number of accidents immediately.

    • Material Loss: Forklift accidents can damage not only the forklift, but other valuable company equipment, facilities, or merchandise. While a collision with a wall or shelf may be inconsequential, crashing a forklift into a gas or electrical system is dangerous and costly. Employees who experience accidents in the virtual world are able to learn from those mistakes, and are less likely to have accidents in the real-world.

    • Maintenance Costs: Reductions in maintenance costs are not usually associated with safety training, but that's a mistake. Once a company is using a simulator to train their employees, their maintenance costs will drop since operators will no longer be misusing the equipment - causing unnecessary wear-and-tear on the machine.

  2. Increased Revenue: In addition to reducing costs; training simulators allow your employees to become more efficient - producing more in less time, leading to more profit for the company. With a workforce that is well trained, employees will have fewer accidents, preform their jobs faster, and work more confidently - ultimately leading to a higher performing workforce. Training simulators lead to higher efficiency levels by providing a lifelike experience for operators to train within, so they can master their techniques and work more safely and quickly.

    • Learn Best Practices: Novice operators who start their training on the simulator will be able to master every control of the machine and learn to apply best practices before they every step foot into a real-world piece of equipment. With less "on the job training" taking place, employees can hit the ground running and be more productive sooner.

    • Practice in a Virtual Environment: In addition to learning how to operate a piece of heavy equipment, operators must become comfortable operating machinery within a workplace environment. Simulators allow your operators to master the spatial relations challenges posed by working in a busy warehouse that includes other forklifts, tight spaces, blind corners, foot traffic, etc.

    • Operator Performance Tracking: Training simulators can track every bit of data that is generated during a simulation session, allowing for a performance tracking system to be implemented. This performance tracking system allows managers to see how their employees' training is coming along, identifying the best-of-the-best and the worst-of-the-worst, and seeing what specific skills certain employees may need to focus on. Simulators can track subtle behaviors that can go unnoticed in real-world training. Identification and correction of these mistakes further contributes to the ROI delivered by a training simulator.
Training simulators allow companies to provide their employees with a safe and cost-effective virtual training solution that allows operators to learn from their mistakes, rather than suffer from them. If a training simulator can prevent one accident from happening it can pay for itself, and can increase a company's bottom line.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Advanced Disaster Management Simulator

Advanced Disaster Management Simulator (ADMS) is an interactive virtual reality simulation system for training incident commanders and disaster management teams. Developed by Environmental Tectonics Corporation, ADMS provides disaster management training for everyone from police, to medical responders, to emergency vehicle operators. Simulation sessions occur withing virtual 3D environments that range from urban to rural, from seaport to airport, and from railways to subways.

To help reduce the loss of lives suffered during a large scale natural disaster, training and being prepared for these events is mandatory. Unfortunately the costs, planning time, and logistics that are required in order to conduct a live disaster response training simulation is so significant that it is often prohibitive. This is where virtual training simulators come into play. Virtual training simulators allow you to conduct any number of simulated disasters as often as you want, without posing any risks to people or property, and at affordable costs. By overcoming some of the hurdles and limitations posed by real-world training, virtual training simulators are an invaluable tool when it comes to training people.

Advanced Disaster Management Simulation
Advanced Disaster Management Simulation

Training for Disaster Management

Operators of ADMS are immersed in an interactive virtual 3D environment that includes a physics engine, artificial intelligence, and a collection of algorithms that take into account a number of variable conditions, and then generate realistic disaster scenarios. Everyone from on-scene incident commanders to emergency center operations personnel are able to practice their reaction and decision making skills, preparing them to make better decisions when a real-world disaster strikes.

Subway Accident Response Simulation

The simulation focuses on response training objectives like:
  • Command and control
  • Coordination and communication
  • Planning and resource management
In addition to being a multi-user platform that allows for teams to train together, ADMS is an expandable system, that allows for the integration of items like vehicle cabs so drivers and heavy equipment operators can participate in the simulation-based training sessions. With a wide variety in the types of disasters that can be simulated, many different disciplines can benefit from the training provided by the simulator. Simulation scenarios include:
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Building fires
  • Industrial accidents
  • Hazardous material spills
  • Forrest fires
In addition to providing a virtual environment for disaster management training, ADMS includes a number of other features that make the system an even more powerful tool. Some of the features that stand out include:
  • Responder performance assessment utility
  • Response plan testing application
  • Scenario generator
  • Instant replay
Combine the increase in disasters we face today from sources like climate change, terrorism, and man-made emergencies, with the lack of sufficient training budgets due to the current economic climate, and you've got the perfect conditions for disasters to turn into catastrophes. Training simulators allow you to stay within your budget, while providing your people with the training they need to be prepared when disasters strike.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Interactive 3D Simulation Demonstrates Climate Change Science and Solutions

It's common knowledge that interactive 3D training simulators can be used to reduce the consumption of fuel during the training of heavy equipment operators, thus helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but that's not the only way they can contribute to climate change solutions. The University of British Columbia has developed an interactive 3D simulation, named Future Delta, that demonstrates the results of global warming virtually, and allows users to see how the actions of humans directly impact the environment.

Future Delta 3D Simulation
Interactive 3D Climate Change Simulation

3D Simulations Immerse and Involve Users

By developing and distributing an interactive 3D simulation, The University of British Columbia's hopes to raise the public's awareness of the issues surrounding climate change and methods for reducing carbon footprints. A game-like 3D simulation has the ability to reach a portion of the audience that traditional informational material may not, and immerses users in the content allowing them to participate and have a richer experience, become more vested in the problem.

To further involve local users and gain their interest and support, the simulation's virtual environment is a replication of the flood-prone Delta, British Columbia area, which is close to the UBC Okanagan campus where the project is being developed and led by Aleksandra Dulic, Professor of Interactive Art and Dynamic Media. Says Professor Dulic:
"The hope is that when people recognize their neighborhood, their home, or their community, they will feel a personalized connection that helps to accelerate their sense of urgency in making smart environmental choices. We are taking complicated science and applying it to the neighborhood level so people can experience cause and effect and see how their personal choices may impact their own community."

While the simulation is aimed and solving some of the specific problems the Delta area is facing, simulation software like this can be developed to model any place and any problem.

Global Warming 3D Simulation
Global Warming Solution 3D Simulation

Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis

Future Delta is part climate change science modeling simulator, and part socioeconomic scenario analysis simulation. By providing an interactive 3D learning environment, people become active participants, rather than passive audience members, and are more likely to grasp complex climate change science principles, and take an interest in their potential solutions.

The project is funded by an Image, Sound, Text and Technology grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. The bios of the team members and a demo version of the application is available at: which states that:

"The Future Delta simulation encapsulates climate change challenges, adaptation, mitigation, technology and policy options, as well as choices and influences on a neighborhood scale. The hyper-realistic modeling of Beach Grove road is based on observational data, such as terrain data, maps, etc, while the simulation models are based on geophysical and integrated assessment models."

The simulation includes storm and flooding models based on real-world future predictions for the Delta area, thus simulating scenarios that are more likely to actually occur. As more people around the world are affected by global warming and climate change, it will be important to educate the public and private sectors in regards to the concepts of climate change and what to expect.

Interactive 3D Climate Change Simulator
Interactive 3D Climate Change Simulator

When conveying complicated information to people it's important to choose the appropriate delivery mechanism. Interactive 3D simulations are great tools for engaging people with the material and concepts you want to present. Easily deployed over the internet, they can be made readily available to a large audience, providing the potential for you to reach a larger audience than more traditional educational material can.

Like one of my favorite proverbs says:

“Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Google's 3D Body Browser

As with most people, I'm often asked why I do the work that I do. Or how I first became interested in this stuff, and today I got a great reminder. Both of how I first got interested in this type of work, and also how far the industry has come. When I was a kid back in the 1970's, an Encyclopedia Britannica was pretty much all we had when it came to learning material. We probably didn't yet have a color TV yet, and certainly no VCR, computer, Internet, or cell phone. The Encyclopedia Britannica was the only thing, other than my dad, that I could turn to for information.

Of course the best part of the book was the transparent and semi-transparent pages that depicted the human body. One of the earliest forms of interactive media, the book let you could decide which layers you wanted to see by which pages you viewed, perhaps deciding to show only the skeletal and muscular systems, while hiding others. The first page contained all the part name labels, so you could quickly flip that page over and get the name of any part of the human body.

Well I've got to say that Google Body beats Encyclopedia Britannica. Google Body is a free, WebGL supported browser-based (like Chrome), interactive 3D "Body Browser" that allows you to explore the human body in real-time 3D. Users can choose between a male or female body to examine by panning the model up/down and left/right, zooming in/out, and rotating the model around the Y axis. The controls include sliders that allow you to change the opacity of the multiple layers, showing and hiding different body systems easily. Users can click on any body part to see a label showing the part's name, and the option to push-pin it, to keep the label visible while you explore the rest of the body.

Google Body
Google's 3D Body Browser

Perhaps one of my favorite features is the text search, giving users the ability to quickly type in the name of a body part and instantly see that part and where it resides in the body. Search suggestions are also given, in case you can't remember how to spell zygomaticus minor and major.

3D Body Browser
Interactive 3D Human Anatomy Browser

I remember that I couldn't understand why the rest of the book wasn't like the body pages. Why wasn't there something similar for trees, cars, and fish? It didn't make any sense to me, if they had the technology to make these semi-transparent overlay pages why wasn't the entire book made out of them? Well I never got the answer to that question, but I did get the inspiration to pursue projects that require complex systems to be represented visually and interactively, thanks to Encyclopedia Britannica I guess.

Google Body Demonstration Video

The Beta version of Google Body is great, and I'm looking forward to the enhancements that Google will make to it over time. It's a great application for kids, and with access to material like this, I look forward to seeing the applications of tomorrow that they will be building. Putting this type of interactive 3D application in the hands of the public is great because it clearly demonstrates how this type of solution for visualizing and understanding a complex system is useful. If you have a complex system that requires users to understand every component of that system, and how they work together, an interactive 3D application is a great tool to use to achieve your goals.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

ACGME Program Requirements for Anesthesiology Residents Requires Simulated Clinical Experiences

Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical EducationWhile other industries like aerospace, mining, and the military have been using simulation-based training for decades, health care is still in its infancy when it comes to adopting training simulators. There are dozens of great medical training simulators on the market today, many of them help save lives and money by allowing trainees to a high-level of training. Few of them are required by accreditation councils, but that might all be about to change.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Board of Directors approved the following revision to the Program Requirements for Anesthesiology at their February, 2011 meeting:
"IV.A.6 Residents must participate in at least one simulated clinical experience each year."
The Review Committee does not require that any program use a formal simulation center, however programs are encouraged to incorporate surgeons and nurses into the simulation experience. The Committee states that:
"Residents must participate in at least one yearly simulated intraoperative clinical experience that serves to improve and assess medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, systems-based practice, and/or practice-based learning and improvement."
The Committee believes that the simulation assessment tools are equally important as the training tools, in order to ensure that the participants receive meaningful assessments. Training simulators are leading the way when it comes to improving medical education, ultimately leading to higher levels of patient health and safety.

The benefits of training simulators have been proven by other industries for decades, and it stands to reason that the health care industry will benefit as well. Simulation-based training has the potential to have a huge impact on all aspects of medical training, everything from screening patients, to conducting laboratory-based training, to surgical practice. What sets simulation-based training apart from other methods of training is that it provides a safe environment for students to fail in. Trainees can learn from their mistakes that are made during a simulation session, as opposed to mistakes made in the real-world that cause patients to suffer.

RRC News, Simulation: New Revision to Anesthesiology Program Requirements

Friday, March 18, 2011

ForgeFX Develops a Military Training Simulator for Dynamic Defense Materials

ForgeFX partnered with Dynamic Defense Materials to develop the McCurdy's Armor™ Military Training Simulator. This custom software solution is an interactive real-time 3D training simulator that allows soldiers to prepare for the assembly of the portable McCurdy's Armor™ system, in a safe and cost-effective way.

Military Training Simulator
Military Training Simulator

Training for Mission Critical Tasks

It's a serious business when it comes to training people for war-ready professions. These people will be asked to perform mission critical tasks where lives hang in the balance of the outcome. Military training simulators allow soldiers to prepare for their operations well before they deploy to the battlefield, allowing them to achieve a higher rate of success.

3D Defense Training Simulator
3D Virtual Training Environment

McCurdy's Armor™ is a unique Lego™-like armor system that easily snaps together, allowing for the assembly of structures to meet any need. With proper training an essential requirement, Dynamic Defense Materials partnered with ForgeFX to develop this interactive 3D simulator that trains military personnel how to assemble the armor system rapidly. Military training simulators help keep soldiers well-trained and safe all around the world.

Custom 3D Simulation Software
Training simulators improve success rates.

Custom 3D Simulation Software

ForgeFX custom developed this real-time 3D simulation software that provides virtual hands-on training and instruction on the configuration of McCurdy's Armor™. The program is a downloadable Windows-based desktop application, developed with the Microsoft XNA Framework. XNA is the programming environment and set of managed libraries, based on the Microsoft.NET Framework, that allows developers to use Visual Studio to create games that run on Windows-based computers, as well as the Xbox 360 console and Windows Phone.

Simulation-Based Training
Simulation-based training is safe.

Simulation-Based Training

Step-by-step, soldiers become participants in the construction of different types of structures, directly experiencing how the armor system works, and taking that muscle memory with them into the real-world. To learn more, please read the case study on the ForgeFX web site: McCurdy's Armor™ Military Training Simulator

If you're charged with training people for mission critical tasks, you're aware of the challenges and risks associated with conducting training on real-world equipment. Interactive 3D training simulators allow you to provide your operators with a safe and cost-effective virtual training solution. For an assessment of needs that are specific to your project, please contact us so we can review your requirements and put forward a project plan, including a technology recommendation.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Semiconductor and IT Companies Design Complex Systems Using 3D Simulations

If you're tasked with designing complex systems, like those used in the semiconductor, power utility, IT, or just about any other high-tech industry, you're well aware of the need for powerful tools to model these systems in. Through the use of interactive 3D simulations, large corporations are staying ahead of their competitors by designing systems that are optimized, more efficient, and result in higher performing real-world systems.

Fairchild Semiconductor

Fairchild Semiconductor, is just one of many suppliers of high performance power products that are using 3D simulation tools to help design and manage complex systems. Fairchild is using Magwel’s Power Transistor Modeling Tool to design high current power devices. Their patented technology "co-simulates semiconductor devices with metal interconnect with 3D field-solver accuracy".

Fairchild Semiconductor Implements Magwel’s Power Transistor Modeling Tool

NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation, a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies, recently developed the world's first 3D Self Organizing Network simulation. NEC plans to use this simulation to test the feasibility of Self Organizing Networks, thought to play an important role in future autonomous optimization of networks.

The two main features listed for the simulator are:
  1. Verification of Self Organizing Network performance under 3D radio propagation in an urban environment.
  2. Verification of Self Organizing Network performance amid user mobility in an urban environment.

NEC Self Organizing Networks for Long Term Evolution Specification

Both Fairchild's and NEC's 3D simulators are great example of using this-generation tools, to develop next-generation mobile communication specifications. If you're going to compete in these cutting-edge industries you'd better arm yourself with tools that give you advanced capabilities in order to stand out from your competition.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Simulations Reduce Cost and Time to Develop Zero-Emissions Power Plants

Gasification Simulation

Here's another great example (see: UMWA Coal Mining Training Simulator) of simulations being used in the coal mining industry, but these aren't operator training simulators. Scientists from the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) are using a supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to simulate the process of coal being converted into carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

This process, known as gasification, happens when coal is subjected to precise temperatures and controlled amounts of oxygen and steam. Through the use of computer-based simulations, scientist hope to reduce the cost and amount of time required to develop zero-emissions power plants.

Chris Guenther, research scientist at NETL's Computational Science Division discussing the project being conducted at the ORNL:

"This ability to finely resolve relevant structures inside a dense, reactive gas-solid system is not only unique, but also necessary to accelerate the commercial deployment of advanced gasification technology."
Building Gasifiers via Simulation

Several large scale gasification simulations will be employed for NETL's Clean Coal Power Initiative, a program that was instituted to address an array of energy issues and accelerate the deployment of advanced technologies to ensure clean, reliable, and affordable electricity for the United States.

NETL IGCC Process Dynamic Simulator Research Training Center
NETL Process Dynamic Simulator Research and Training Center

NETL has established a world-class Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle Dynamic Simulator Research and Training Center. The training center is located at the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University.

Gasification simulations provides users with accurate 3D information and visualization concerning relevant gasification properties including flow, pressure, temperature, and species distribution. In many cases, the software (which combines fluid dynamics and reaction chemistry for modeling a single functioning unit) produces more information than traditional real-world experiments can provide.

Multiphase Flow with Interphase eXchanges

NETL's simulation was developed using the Multiphase Flow with Interphase eXchanges (MFiX) framework, an internationally recognized open source software used for modeling gas-solids flow. MFiX allows NETL to simulate hydrodynamics, heat transfer, and the chemical reactions required to change coal into fuel.

Simulating Gasification
MFiX Mass Inlet/Outlet

Scientists can now conduct detailed simulation sessions that will provide accurate predictions on how to more effectively mix coal with oxidizers, thus getting the optimum mix of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Leveraging knowledge gained from the simulation, more efficient commercial-scale gasifiers can be designed, without having to perform the long and costly series of traditional real-world experiments that are required in order to isolate these important variables.

These gasification simulations are cost-effective and accurate research tools being used for the development of large-scale power plants, and also great examples of how 3D simulations are important components when it comes to planning complex systems. Simulation software is helping to develop power plants and energy systems that will give us clean, reliable, and affordable energy in the future.

Monday, January 17, 2011

United Mine Workers of America Coal Mining Training Simulator

Here's a great example of a virtual training simulator being used by an industry that you might not think of right away when it comes to simulation-based training, but one that makes perfect sense when you think about it.

The United States mining industry, which is dominated by coal, reported a total market cap of approximately $962 billion dollars in 2007. Competing in a total global market cap of privately traded companies of approximately $50 trillion dollars. In addition to large financial risks being at stake during every operation, mining is one of the most dangerous and accident-prone businesses to engage in, clearly an industry where the training of operators is of paramount importance.

UMWA Mining Technology and Training Center

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Mining Technology and Training Center, in Greene Country, PA, is a $4.3 million dollar facility that is dedicated to training coal miners how to do their jobs more safely. Through the use of safe and cost effective simulators, trainees are able to repeatedly attempt maneuvers that in the real-world are dangerous and have the potential of causing costly delays or bodily harm.

Developed for the UMWA in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh, the project has been evaluated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

This Pittsburgh Tribune Review article quotes Launa Mallett, Lead Research Scientist at the University of Pittsburgh's Occupational Safety and Health Laboratory:
"We looked at other industries. We know training in virtual environments has been used successfully in the military and medical fields. So we tailor-made a program for mine training."
Another quote in the article is from Joseph DeSalvo, who uses the training simulator as part of a six week training program at the Union Training Center:
“In approximately three hours with the navigation program, I can teach coal miners how to get around underground as well as it would take them six months to learn on the job. That’s why I use it."
Mallett says that MSHA has plans to evolve the simulator so that trainees can practice emergency tasks like evacuations and rescues. This type of training and level of preparedness is essential for those working in hazardous environments typical to the coal mining industry. Simulation-based training allows organizations to virtually expose their employees to potentially dangerous situations to train them on correct procedures, without exposing them to the serious risks they'll face in the real world. Workers are able to gain skills and become competent with expensive equipment by training in a simulated environment, avoiding the need to take real-world equipment out of production.

Simulators reduce the risk of training for jobs in dangerous environments, and reduce the overall costs associated with training for those jobs.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Damage Control Trainer Wins NTSA Training Simulation Award

Damage Control Trainer, a serious game meant to prepare Navy recruits for deployment, won the 2010 National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA) Award for Outstanding Achievement in Modeling and Simulation in the Training category. This serious game teaches Navy recruits how to respond correctly to situations like shipboard floods and fires.

The training game, developed by Raytheon BBN Technologies & Alion Science and Technology, is meant to "teach recruits how to navigate a ship, follow communication protocols, perform damage control operations and train on real-life scenarios such as floods, fires and mass casualty exercises".

Damage Control Trainer
Damage Control Trainer: Incident Response

The game was funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, under the Capable Manpower Broad Agency Announcement, and adopted by the Navy's Recruit Training Command.

Damage Control Trainer Nomenclature
Damage Control Trainer: Vessel Nomenclature

A study at the University of Central Florida, mentioned in this Business Wire press release, states that recruits who used the Damage Control Trainer for just one hour improved their performance in essential training areas by 50 to 80 percent. This is a great example of how training games can be an effective, safe, and cost efficient way of training people for mission critical tasks.
"The Damage Control Trainer is helping prepare recruits for real-life situations, and that can mean much lower risk to both the sailors and the fleet.” - Rear Adm. Richard Brooks
Damage Control Trainer won the 2009 I/ITSEC Serious Game Challenge, in the Business category, and the NTSA 2010 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Modeling and Simulation in the Training category.
“This second award for the Damage Control Trainer reinforces our belief that a well-designed game can provide measurable results in the real world” - Rear Adm. Richard Brooks
Rear Adm. Richard Brooks is the Alion Science and Technology Senior Vice President, and Manager of the Distributed Solutions Group.

The NTSA Channel has an interview with Curtis Murphy, project engineer from Alion, in which he discusses the talk he gave at I/ITSEC 2010 on how they built the award winning serious game.

The game is being created using the Delta3D open source game engine, under the Virtual Environments for Ship and Shore Experiential Learning (VESSEL) project, which includes a simulated 3D interior of an Arleigh-Burke class destroyer.

One of the main goals of the project was to address a training gap that was faced by the U.S. Navy Recruit Training Command. The existing curriculum allowed only a limited opportunity for hands-on learning of damage control skills, and no exposure to shipboard environments prior to the exercises aboard Battle Stations 21, a high-fidelity simulated ship environment. The Damage Control Trainer delivers a highly immersive interactive experience that better prepares and trains recruits for upcoming exercises, resulting improved performance.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

I/ITSEC Serious Games Challenge

Happy 2011, here's to a great new year!

ForgeFX wrapped up the year in Orlando at I/ITSEC (Interservice/Industry Training Simulation and Education Conference), the worlds largest modeling, simulation, and training conference. ForgeFX's Virtual Walking the Pens was chosen as a business finalist in the Fifth Annual Serious Games Showcase & Challenge,

Serious Games Showcase Challenge

The goal of Serious Games Showcase & Challenge is to identify innovative game-based technologies and solutions that improve training across all segments for individuals, groups and systems. Projects were awarded in Best Student Category, Best Government Category, and Best Business Category with all finalists and winners listed on their web site.

From a Team Orlando Press Release: According to I/ITSEC lead Service Executive, USAF Col. Jack Franz, the challenge experienced a 30% growth this year and included a very select group of national and international submissions.
"The Nation needs fresh ideas, innovation and technology,"
he said. The Serious Games Showcase & Challenge helps promote organizations and individuals in that quest.

Rear Admiral (Ret) and NTSA President, Fred Lewis, said I/ITSEC 2010 and this year’s Challenge has proven to be the best ever, and the quality of games submissions continues to improve every year.

I/ITSEC's YouTube channel features a collection of interviews with project developers for a number of finalists, including Greg Meyers from ForgeFX.

Virtual Walking the Pens by ForgeFX

CliniSpace by Innovation in Learning

Boarders Ahoy by Allied Command Transformation, NATO

I/ITSEC's continuing support and promotion for Serious Games is fantastic and has helped organizations and vendors connect, allowing fantastic simulation software to be developed. With the recognition that game-based learning is successful, cost-effective, and safe, there is a big demand for custom interactive 3D training software. With the cost of real-world supplies always increasing, and computer hardware always decreasing and becoming more available, delivering virtual training products is an easy choice. Organizations across many different industries are seeing an excellent return on investment through the development of Serious Games and 3D training simulations.