Focus on Communication at the KONGSBERG MARITIME Simulation User Conference

The Kongsberg Maritime 2006 Americas' User Conference (UC2006), which took place from 2nd - 5th December in Orlando USA, has proven itself a hotbed of discussion for the marine training and simulation world. With over 50 delegates - all users of Kongsberg Maritime simulation systems - the three day conference played host to several defining keynotes, based around a theme of increasing importance to training institutes in North America and worldwide: Return on Investment.

"The UCs are about gaining insight on product direction for the future and providing a venue for updating customers on recent product developments. This UC brought together a diverse mix of professional simulator users who are passionate and enthusiastic. The structure of the conference fosters a win-win culture," comments Henry Tremblay, Conference Chairman, Kongsberg Maritime.

Kongsberg Maritime Simulation User Conferences are designed to enable interaction between delegates and to foster discussion on the issues at hand. To reflect this, Kongsberg Maritime dedicated much of UC2006 to sessions and presentations by the delegates themselves. This fostered an atmosphere of co-operation, which delegates agreed was beneficial to the continuing development of their own simulation and training programs.

As Kongsberg Maritime is the foremost supplier of simulation systems to armed forces around the world, military simulation and training was well catered for, especially on the final morning of the conference, which was dedicated solely to an armed forces session. This included an in-depth focus on the US Navy Navigation, Seamanship and Ship Handling Training (NSST) program, which Kongsberg is supplying shore side full mission and desktop simulators, and onboard simulators for 101 vessels.

The armed forces session of UC2006 was also the venue for the introduction of a revolutionary new database exchange program, which has been developed to enable co-operation and sharing of databases between Kongsberg Maritime's military simulation customers. The inaugural exchange was between the Royal New Zealand Navy and the Canadian Navy, who signed up to the program during the conference.

The Naval database exchange, which was first suggested in 2002, is a result of continuing communication at Kongsberg Maritime User Conferences. After four years of hard work and discussion to develop protocols, a community of Kongsberg Maritime simulation equipped navies is now in place and eager to take the program forward for their mutual benefit.

Greg Buchan of the Royal New Zealand Navy has been a key player in making the database exchange program possible, and strongly believes that its success will be down to the strength of the community: "We need to come back to the UC next year and discuss the value and how the program is progressing. It is important for us all to use the community forums to continue to develop and make use of the ability we now have to exchange our simulation databases."

"The exercise databases are a key to shore based training and port familiarization during fleet deployment. This first exchange between the Canadian and New Zealand Navies was a while in the making but persistence has paid off. Now that we have an agreed format to the exchange protocol, we expect to report many more such exchanges at the 2007 Armed Services Seminar. We are expecting this community to expand and the UC to become the conference of choice for many Navies," concludes Henry Tremblay.