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Training & Simulation Forum

BLOG: The Price is Right!

18 Oct 11

The answer to the question “Has the time arrived for serious consideration of low-cost solutions?” – in the circumstances in which we face almost universal budget austerity and spiralling costs for major defence platforms – may seem to be a self-evident and resounding YES! And you won’t find me arguing with those who espouse such sentiments. Although the answer is a strong affirmative, however, it is not so just for the obvious reasons. There are multiple motivations for both the supply and consumer side of the equation in our industry to look carefully at the way in which low-cost solutions can enhance existing capability – and even, in some cases, create new ones, for our armed forces and security services.

Perhaps the most fundamental driver helping shape the move towards the development and implementation of low-cost training technologies is the fact that they are not – and should not be – limited to military applications. In fact, just the opposite. The lessons to be learned from the civil fields of training technologies are legion – and just as engaging and attractive as the elements of the serious games industry that have so informed the development of virtual and synthetic training environments for those in uniform.

And that is the basic premise underlying what promises to be a fascinating seminar to be held in London in November. The second “Low-Cost Training Trends & Technology” (T3 for short) seminar will be held at the Westminster Conference Centre on 22nd November. The full programme for what promises to be a stimulating and thought-provoking event can be accessed via the link provided below and also via the hyperlinked logo appearing on our home page. (http://t3web.org/2nd%20t3%20programme.html)

T3 is the brainchild of Richard Curtis of Andrich International. A name familiar to most if not all readers of this Forum, Curtis can legitimately claim to be one of the founding fathers of the annual ITEC conference in Europe – now enjoying its third decade of bringing the leaders and followers of the training and simulation industry together for three days of conference, exhibition and networking opportunities – and was the leading force behind the creation of the European Training and Simulation Association, ETSA.

“This is an industry looking for new markets and fresh inspiration. T3 will provide the opportunity for the defence and civil components of the industry to look across the fence at each other and to learn from each other,” said Curtis in an interview with Training and Simulation Forum. “Defence is well provided for with ITEC and I/ITSEC as well as a number of smaller conferences and colloquia. T3 provides a clear view of the themes and problems involved in bringing low-cost technologies to bear on requirements in both communities.”

Laudable ambition or visionary crusade? Neither label fully describes the ethos of T3, yet both are applicable in some measure. The most fascinating aspect of this year’s iteration of the seminar lies in the speaker panel. Painting the picture largely from an operator’s perspective rather than an industrial one, the carefully chosen group of speakers will eloquently lay out the picture of new opportunities and graceful solutions to seemingly intractable problems for attendees. Oil and gas, rail, maritime engineering, medical technology – all these disciplines give rise to lessons that the speakers will share with the audience in Westminster.

Can students provide effective low-cost training solutions? How can such technologies be harnessed to curing the problems created for general aviation by flights in adverse weather conditions? These and other similar burning questions will be addressed – and hopefully discussed in some depth with the audience – during T3 in November.

Putting an event such as T3 together is a daunting task, but one to which Curtis’ professional team is equal. Supported by organisations including UK Trade and Investment, which readily recognises the benefits accruing from discussion of such issues – “in which the United Kingdom has established something of a reputation,” in Curtis’ words, T3 will provide a background of stimulation for discussions that will undoubtedly take place across the Atlantic at I/ITSEC the following week.

Training and Simulation Forum is privileged to have been invited to act as the rapporteur for T3, in the person of our Editor, so watch for a synopsis of this fascinating event on this screen just in time for our American friends to help digest the Thanksgiving turkey.

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