I/ITSEC Begins as Training, Simulation Industry Faces Changing Market
Thousands of attendees and hundreds of exhibitors will meet this week in Orlando, Florida, for the annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference.
The event — which is put on by the National Training and Simulation Association and is the world’s largest modeling, simulation and training conference — comes at a time of budgetary uncertainty in the military.
The past two years have been “very hard” for the industry, said NTSA President James Robb, a retired Naval rear admiral. But with the services taking deep funding cuts, Robb said he believed they would turn to simulation training as a way to save money.
“Training is really important,” he said. “It’s directly tied to readiness. Readiness is challenged because of the budgets.” The administration could see this as a solution to avoid a hollow force, Robb said.
That being said, revenues are “going to reflect the DoD top line,” he noted.
This year, NTSA is expecting a 5 percent increase over the 14,000 who attended last year’s conference, Robb said. There will also be more than 500 exhibitors present. “All in all, it’s looking very strong,” he said.
The conference will feature speeches, panels, workshops and tutorials. Gen. Daniel Allyn, vice chief of staff for the Army, and Anthony Smeraglinolo, president and CEO of Engility Corp., will give keynote addresses on Tuesday morning.
One of the overarching themes of the conference will be live-virtual-constructive training, Robb noted. LVC, an emerging concept that is gaining traction, combines simulation, live training and computer models to create a comprehensive virtual environment. As budgets decline, this type of training will be critical to keep troops prepared for various threats, he said.
While the Pentagon is still the industry’s premier customer, companies are looking to break into the international market as well, Robb noted.
“The foreign military sales element of training sales is actually going up. This is an area that companies want some increased exposure with at I/ITSEC. So we’re working very hard on that,” he said.
I/ITSEC will feature two new exhibitors this year from China and Japan. A number of companies and representatives from South America, including Brazil and Argentina, will be present. A large delegation from Saudi Arabia will also be in attendance, he said.
Companies are also trying to enter the commercial market, including the medical industry, Robb said. As a response to that burgeoning demand, I/ITSEC will feature a medical pavilion at the show.
NTSA is an affiliate of the National Defense Industrial Association, the publisher of National Defense Magazine.
Visit National Defense Magazine's blog throughout the week for continued I/ITSEC coverage.