What do you get when 14,000 delegates, exhibitors and visitors gather in one place to talk modeling, simulation & training?
You get I/ITSEC 2015 — the world’s largest MS&T conference just concluded at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando (Nov. 30-Dec. 4).
Call it a meeting of the minds, many of the industry’s most brilliant minds.
The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference was all about innovative modeling and simulation strategies and technologies to help organizations train in Live, Virtual and/or Constructive (LVC) environments. Among the chief missions was to reduce the time required to achieve proficiency while also saving significant dollars.
The conference’s theme was “Forging the Future through Innovation.”
Aside from military, I/ITSEC drew an increasing number of attendees from industries such as health care, energy, transportation, education and manufacturing — all of which are searching for innovation strategies to cost-effectively increase competitiveness.
Industry keynote was Waymon Armstrong, founder and CEO of Engineering & Computer Simulations Inc. The company, an MS& T leader based in Orlando, delivers software and simulations technology and services to both government and commercial markets. It was a first adopter of computer game technology for learning. Armstrong’s philosophy of early adoption, and the implementation of evolving solutions, continued as the company invested in mobile and virtual world technologies.
For much of the conference, professional development stood front and center. Topics included Certified Modeling & Simulation Professional (CMSP) Exam Preparation; Live-Virtual-Constructive (LVC) Interoperability Techniques; Modeling & Simulation for Acquisition; Measuring the Impact and ROI of Training, Simulation and Education Programs; and Seamless Mobile Learning and Simulations.
In addition, educating the next generation of innovators came in the form of numerous STEM initiatives, as students and teachers learned firsthand about the roles science, technology, engineering and math will play in tomorrow’s workforce.
For example, techPATH, a program offered by The Corridor (formerly the Florida High Tech Corridor Council), hosted two programs for students and teachers. Students participated in a special techCAMP that introduced them to the field of robotics and demonstrated how to program a LEGO robot. They also toured the convention floor and interacted with an NAO robot.
The teacher’s workshop featured guided tours of industry exhibits and presentations from well-known experts in the field, including representatives from the Institute for Simulation and Training at the University of Central Florida and the National Center for Simulation.
Kids and adults alike played games, too. The Serious Games Showcase & Challenge celebrated the use of games and game technology as a delivery medium for instructional material. The Challenge was divided into three primary categories: Business, Government and Student. Special awards were presented, with middle and high school students determining the winners.
I/ITSEC debuted in 1966 as the Naval Training Device Center/Industry Conference. Back then, a trip to the moon was still three years away, and simulation was only taking baby steps.
Today, the MS&T industry contributes more than $5 billion in economic impact to Florida.
Conference attendees arrived from roughly 60 countries, and many have a return trip in sight: Next year’s conference is slated for Nov. 28-Dec. 2.