From September 26-28, nearly 200 maritime simulator users from all over the world gathered in The Hague for KONGSBERG UC 2017, a conference for the technology firm's simulation customers and partners. For 29 years, the conference has been a meeting place for discussions about the leading edge of simulation technology and applications.
A key theme at UC 2017 was maritime digitalization and its application to the world of simulation and training. With the advent of new digital solutions like KONGSBERG’s kognifai, maritime training providers have a new platform for the development and delivery of courses. Several presentations at UC 2017 shared the potential for digitalization, from cloud-based simulation to the sharing of models and exercises between organizations.
“Digitalisation has the potential to transform maritime training,” said Tone-Merete Hansen, Kongsberg Digital's SVP for maritime simulation. “kognifai enables us to look at ways to offer simulation as a service and to make content much more accessible, while for our customers it will become an enabler to introduce more efficient workflows and even offer training services and apps in the cloud."
The application of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) within maritime training was also high on the agenda. A simulator demonstration area provided delegates with the chance to try navigation and engine room simulators in VR, while the plenary program offered discussions of the potential of the technology to enhance immersion for students. Among other presentations, Lt. Cdr. Odd Sveinung Hareide, the technical manager for electronic navigation at the Royal Norwegian Navy Academy, gave a talk on using AR to track the eye movement and focus of navigators in simulators and at sea, and how this can be applied to improve training.
While maritime training has always been the focus at KONGSBERG’s simulation user conferences, in recent years the use of simulators for research and pre-mission planning has become more prevalent. This year the focus in non-training areas grew even further with the development of the "Digital Twins" emerging as an exciting new application for simulation technology. Heerema Marine Contractors (HMC) Academy’s project manager, Catina Geselschap, gave a presentation on how the heavy lift vessel operator is using its KONGSBERG simulators as a "force multiplier" for offshore operations. She reported that simulators are helping Heerema to mitigate risk and improve efficiency by allowing the firm to test challenging installations in the lab, before going offshore.
“While we provided delegates with a KONGSBERG technology update and features roadmap across our broad simulator portfolio, it was the participation of our customers that made it such a special occasion,” said Hansen. “A total of 20 presentations were given by our customers, covering all areas from navigation in ice waters to 3D engine room simulator modelling. But over and above the insights provided by speakers, everybody at UC 2017 was keen to take part, generating fantastic discussions and debate that will help to drive the direction of maritime training technology and delivery for years to come.”
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.