Industry Outlook 2005
Florida's burgeoning simulation and training industry continues to get a boost from the war on terror as companies work to meet the needs of both military and law enforcement customers. Orlando boasts one of the nation's largest clusters of simulation and training companies in the nation. The simulation and training procurement offices for both the Army and Navy are located in Orlando, as is the National Center for Simulation.
"Just about everybody on active duty today has been touched by some training device developed here," says Russ Hauck, executive director of the National Center for Simulation.
An Orlando cluster of entertainment and digital media companies is increasingly helping the military adapt computer games for training purposes, Hauck says. For example, the Marines has developed and adapted a half-dozen computer games to help soldiers make quick decisions in the field. One potential hurdle for the industry: Escalating costs for ongoing military operations may pinch dollars for research and development long term, Hauck says.
On a new front, digital "augmented reality" technology is showing promise, says Brian Goldiez, a researcher and deputy director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Simulation & Training. For example, a pair of augmented reality goggles might someday help a firefighter or police officer navigate a building during a rescue crisis.
In 2005, the industry might get a boost from an old standby: As airlines recover and begin buying planes again, they'll have a growing need for flight simulators to train pilots, Goldiez says.
2005 Forecast: An engineer and an attorney, Yasmin Tirado-Chiodini has focused her upstart simulation and training company on homeland security. Her company, Orlando-based Intelliorg Inc., has been hired by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to create a critical infrastructure database. The web-based system also acts as a vulnerability and threat assessment tool and can simulate training for emergency crews and law enforcement. "We anticipate the need for a lot of training for the first responder community," says Tirado-Chiodini, who founded the local 200-member chapter of the Homeland Security Industries Association.