Speaking at a briefing to the media with Masa Group at ITEC 2017 in Rotterdam this week, Martijn Boosman, Founder and Chief Commercial Officer of XVR Simulation, Dutch specialists in software development for the civil emergency response market, explained the rationale behind the one year olf collaboration between the two companies. “Civil military cooperation is becoming more and more important in the civil world, so it makes sense to take advantage of solutions developed for one side of the community and make them applicable to the other.”
Specifically, what XVR has done is to take DirectAI, Masa’s proven integrated development environment, and make it work seamlessly within its own established emergency management training applications. DirectAI incorporates a high level structured artificial intelligence (AI) language specifically designed to define the decision-making processes of agents and entities in a simulation. It is best known to readers of Mönch as the engine underlying Masa’s leading wargaming command and staff training solution, SWORD.
XVR has over 250 simulation centre users in more than 30 countries, all of whom have requirements for training fire, rescue, first responders, security or emergency management teams in varying degrees across a wide range of scenarios. Incorporating AI capabilities enables operators to make better use of existing centre facilities and better prepare their training audiences for more challenging times ahead.
Boosman makes an interesting point in reference to that evolving challenge. There is undoubted growth and accelerated movement in the market for training emergency or first responders; in response to a question asking why that is, he pointed out “A safer world is the fundamental reason. There are less fires, for example, so less operational experience and less institutional knowledge to be leveraged. That leads to an increased requirement for training.” Absent the expensive (and dangerous) alternative of setting fires merely to practice extinguishing them, the use of the synthetic environment to provide an effective collective training solution would appear to move very close to win-win.
The first integration of DirectAI in an XVR customer solution, in an application for the Singapore civil defence authority, is fast approaching the end of the evaluation period, according to Masa President and CEO David Chouraqui. Discussions for a second and potentially larger application in Singapore are also said to be well advanced.
This initiative appears to be riding the crest of a growing and accelerating wave as recognition sets in of the need to provide better training, mission preparation and rehearsal facilities for increasingly stressed public safety and security forces. ITEC in Stuttgart next year, for example, will have a Civil Security Simulation Conference as one of its core themes.