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Dec. 21, 2022

Ep. 005: NATO Synthetic Training in the Multi-Domain Era

Ep. 005: NATO Synthetic Training in the Multi-Domain Era

Tom is recovering from the usual bout of seasonal flu, but still finds time to reflect on what a fascinating time it is for the M&S world. As this is the penultimate episode for the year it was a chance to look back on what’s gone on as well as think about what might be in store for 2023.

Our guest for this episode is none other than Robert Seigfried who has spent a large part of his career supporting the NATO Modelling and Simulation Group (NMSG). Robert provides us with an overview of what NATO is trying to achieve in terms of pooling and sharing of resources, and then dives into the specific areas of research for the NMSG.

Multi-Domain Operations is an increasingly important concept for modern warfare and therefore it is important that partner nations are able to train for this. Robert goes on to describe the increasing need for synthetic environments to support this training, as well as the ongoing work by NMSG to define standards for UCATT ( live instrumented training) and Distributed Synthetic Training. Robert goes on to discuss the key challenges for MDO and the importance of open standards in supporting this work.


Andy Fawkes gives us a slightly different take on the news, by looking back at the top three themes for 2022. The discussion takes us down a few rabbit holes, but they’re nice rabbit holes that we might visit next year. No doubt many of the themes from this year will develop in 2023 as we see some of these technologies evolve.


Please do get involved, either through our Warfighter Podcast website or LinkedIn pages. We love to hear comments, ideas and suggestions.


Episode Sponsor: Improbable Defence:  https://defence.improbable.io/


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00:00:12 Collin Hillier 

Hello and welcome to the Warfighter, training and Simulation podcast with myself, Colin Hillier and Tom Constable.

00:00:20 Collin Hillier 

What have you been 

00:00:20 Collin Hillier 

Up to?

00:00:21 Tom Constable 

Well, I'm recovering from man man flu again this to be a reoccurring theme throughout the whole podcast, but other than that not a lot starting to wind down. 

00:00:28 Tom Constable 

For Christmas and yeah, only the thing to report my side. Two things really. Starling has gone down, but the Broken Arrow and all that good. Yeah no. 

00:00:36 Tom Constable 

Trying to replace a cable that I think is broken, but I don't know and it's taking them three weeks to send out a new one and the other. 

00:00:41 Tom Constable 

On the plus side, I think the constant growth of the podcast is definitely boiling me up during this kind of wet windy period. 

00:00:47 Tom Constable 

Nice to see kind of downloads and listens. Going into the thousands now and continuing to grow with different countries. Shout out to I think I think these are countries are new. 

00:00:56 Tom Constable 

Bulgaria, Sri Lanka, northern Macedonia. 

00:01:00 Tom Constable 

That good thing. 


That's good, hello. 

00:01:01 Tom Constable 

If you are from there nice to. 

00:01:02 Tom Constable 

Have you on? 

00:01:03 Tom Constable 

Board and the growth of the LinkedIn page, which is nice to see. 

00:01:05 Collin Hillier 

Almost up to 500 followers there. So yeah, I think there's been some useful comments on some of our episodes, which is great to see. 

00:01:12 Collin Hillier 

Keep that coming. I think as we release some of the future episodes are very interesting, much more international flavour, even more than we've been doing so. 

00:01:20 Collin Hillier 

Umm, I'll look forward to seeing that grow. The messages do spread the word do pass. 

00:01:24 Tom Constable 

It on yeah and that's it. 

00:01:25 Tom Constable 

You know people have been out have been out and about meeting people and talking about the podcast. They said. How can? 

00:01:29 Tom Constable 

They support, you know. How do we make sure this continues to grow and it's just really simple. Just like share or even comment and comments actually quite crucial as well. 

00:01:37 Tom Constable 

Just for the LinkedIn algorithm to to ensure that it continues to permeate through the rest of the networks, if you can. 

00:01:42 Tom Constable 

And you want to please do that. 

00:01:43 Collin Hillier 

You always live. 

00:01:44 Collin Hillier 

And die by the algorithm that you. 

00:01:45 Collin Hillier 

Which is this? 

00:01:46 Collin Hillier 

Tragic thing to think about this time of year. 

00:01:50 Collin Hillier 

But on that subject, the reason we can do this, and the reason we have such great flexibility and freedom, is really because of our very generous sponsors. So quick, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to our sponsor. 

00:02:00 Collin Hillier 

So as both on the education side and the main side really do appreciate it, and I think there'll be some more features for that in the new year. 

00:02:07 Tom Constable 

Yeah, thank you improbable defence, so let's move on to the main effort for today, which is our chat with NATO. 

00:02:14 Tom Constable 

That's how you know we're going up in the world. Our guest this week is Robert Siegfried, chair of NATO's modelling and Simulation Group, which is a great guy to go on. Really appreciate that. 

00:02:22 Tom Constable 

Taking the time and he's going to really shine a light. Certainly for me on the concept of multi domain operations. 

00:02:27 Tom Constable 

The complexities involved in that and how really simulation is going to be key to the success of multi domain operations going forward, but also for the training of the multi domain operations. 

00:02:38 Collin Hillier 

So welcome, Robert. 

00:02:40 Robert Siegfried 

Hey welcome. 

00:02:40 Collin Hillier 

Thanks for joining us on this episode. I suspect many of our listeners will have heard of NATO, but could you start just by giving us a quick overview of the main roles that NATO play in modelling and simulation? 

00:02:52 Robert Siegfried 

Absolutely. So you know, NATO is the the Western alliance. It's a political organisation essentially bringing together nations to engage on collective defence and the. 

00:03:02 Robert Siegfried 

And one of the topic areas that that NATO is are. 

00:03:05 Robert Siegfried 

Very engaged in. 

00:03:06 Robert Siegfried 

Is modelling and simulation I mean to understand what NATO does in modelling and simulation? 

00:03:10 Robert Siegfried 

It really helps to understand how NATO is operating in general. The basic idea that NATO is built around is the idea of pooling and sharing. 

00:03:17 Robert Siegfried 

So as I said before, NATO is an alliance. Most of the resources that the NATO organisation as a whole. 

00:03:22 Robert Siegfried 

This kind of operating or is bringing to bear on a specific topic are provided by the nations, so it's about pooling national resources. 

00:03:30 Robert Siegfried 

Pooling resources from the member nations and also about sharing these resources between all of the Allies. So this idea of pooling and sharing is is really the DNA of NATO. 

00:03:38 Robert Siegfried 

And that's also true for modelling and simulation, so it's all about bringing together the nations pooling and sharing knowledge and expanding the individual knowledge base so that the nations collectively can make. 

00:03:49 Robert Siegfried 

Their decisions can align their decisions and can collaborate also on modelling and simulation topics. 

00:03:55 Collin Hillier 

Sure, and that would make total sense. 

00:03:56 Collin Hillier 

Just before we. 

00:03:57 Collin Hillier 

Get into that. Could you just give us a? 

00:04:00 Collin Hillier 

Quick overview of your background and how did you get involved in this and your role at the moment. 

00:04:05 Robert Siegfried 

Of course, so yeah, my name is Robert Zigfried as as you just said. Actually I have two rules. One is sort of my my day job. 

00:04:11 Robert Siegfried 

I'm working as the CEO of of Atoner. It's a small Munich based company supporting the German MOD, various European partners and and also US and overseas partners, so that's sort of. 

00:04:24 Robert Siegfried 

One of the roles. But today I mean we're talking about NATO. So in my in my second life, let's put it this way. 

00:04:29 Robert Siegfried 

I'm working a lot with NATO. I am currently serving as the chairman of the NATO modelling and Simulation Group and this NATO modelling and simulation group. The NSG is where all the NAV. 

00:04:39 Robert Siegfried 

Really come together to discuss all topics related. 

00:04:43 Robert Siegfried 

To modelling and. 

00:04:44 Robert Siegfried 

Simulation my engagement in this group started well 15 years ago. 

00:04:47 Robert Siegfried 

I guess in some technical activities and then well as it happens, I worked my way up and ended up being chair. For now almost three years. 

00:04:55 Collin Hillier 

That's your prize for the hard labour, is it? 

00:04:57 Robert Siegfried 

No, it's well it it it, it might be. 

00:05:00 Robert Siegfried 

Not labour, but it's it's a lot of fun. It's a great community. It's an awesome group of people and I love doing this job. 

00:05:05 Collin Hillier 

Great, so one of the areas that I think is is very topical at the moment is something called multi domain operations. 

00:05:12 Collin Hillier 

Can you just give? 

00:05:13 Collin Hillier 

Us a bit of a breakdown of. 

00:05:14 Collin Hillier 

What that actually means? 

00:05:15 Robert Siegfried 

So multi domain operations? Yeah, that's the new buzzword around. We all know about the three traditional domains, air, land and sea. That's kind of the traditional domains. 

00:05:24 Robert Siegfried 

Warfare for a couple of years. They have now been extended. We also include space as a domain and also the cyberspace as one of the domains multi domain operations really means that. 

00:05:34 Robert Siegfried 

We don't go. 

00:05:34 Robert Siegfried 

To war, just employing assets in a single domain. 

00:05:37 Robert Siegfried 

It's not just sufficient, for example, to send them fighter aircraft. We'll always engage in conflicts and and operations. 

00:05:44 Robert Siegfried 

In a multi domain fashion. So what this means is that air and ground assets have to work together that cyber space and maritime assets need to be integrated into a coherent operations approach and that all of these domains need to share information. Air units need to talk to ground. 

00:06:00 Robert Siegfried 

And naval units that they all have to be aware of what is happening in cyber and in space? So really that's multi domain operations. It's integration of assets from all domains in a single mission. 

00:06:10 Collin Hillier 

And I guess it's also bringing a coordinated effect, whatever that effect needs to be. So not just doing one thing after another, but having it all occur sequenced or in in a in a set time. 

00:06:19 Robert Siegfried 

Oh yes, absolutely. I mean whether it's taking out a specific target or achieving, as you said, specific effects. There are multiple ways how we can achieve this effect, and it's not. 

00:06:29 Robert Siegfried 

Always there the the kinetic portion that might be the best option. There might also be cyber options. Also when we talk about contested congested environments, space plays a critical role. 

00:06:38 Robert Siegfried 

So yeah, all these domains need to be considered in parallel. It's not like one or the other, it's always one and the other. 

00:06:43 Collin Hillier 

Yeah, and I guess that's what's changed from what we used to call jointery, but the maritime land and. 

00:06:49 Collin Hillier 

Yeah, well, I guess now we consider the space and the cyber domain almost in the same mindset, same. 

00:06:55 Collin Hillier 

Piece of planning. 

00:06:56 Robert Siegfried 

And talking about the multi domain operations or MO, it's not only about offensive MO and delivering effect, it's also the other way around. 

00:07:03 Robert Siegfried 

I mean, we have to defend all domains, it's not just sufficient to protect our fighters or our air bases or camps. 

00:07:08 Robert Siegfried 

We also need to protect our space assets. We need to protect our cyber environments and everything, so multi domain also refers to the defence. 

00:07:16 Robert Siegfried 

All domains in an integrated fashion. 

00:07:17 Collin Hillier 

I mean, that's a great bit of introduction, so thank you for that. Guess where to start. But modelling assimilation is 1 area but that also extends to the live environment. Maybe we start about live training? How does NATO get involved? 

00:07:29 Collin Hillier 

In this context. 



00:07:31 Robert Siegfried 

We we need to. 

00:07:33 Collin Hillier 

To break this down a bit. 

00:07:35 Robert Siegfried 

Breaks down a bit. Be precise about what specifically we talk about. So NATO obviously is doing a lot of life training NATO as a whole. 

00:07:41 Robert Siegfried 

We do have the huge exercises that we all know about to certify better groups to test and exercise our standing maritime groups and all the other native forces that we have. So these are life exercises. 

00:07:54 Robert Siegfried 

That NATO as such is organising and execute. 

00:07:56 Robert Siegfried 

Building if we specifically look at the modelling and simulation domain and the native modelling and simulation group, there are a lot of activities also that we as the native modelling and simulation group support terms of life training. 

00:08:07 Robert Siegfried 

For example, a lot of army units use instrumented ranges instrumented weaponry on their ranges to conduct live training. That's usually what you have with these. 

00:08:16 Robert Siegfried 

Laser designators that you put on a tank or on a rifle, and so you can kind of shoot on the on the. 

00:08:21 Robert Siegfried 

The units without actually having to fire a bullet and and you can sort of do the live training, so that is sort of simulation and live training at the same time. 

00:08:29 Collin Hillier 

To those the uninitiated, it's a bit like a professional level of laser tag vectorially. 

00:08:34 Robert Siegfried 

Yeah, that's a very good analogy. 

00:08:36 Robert Siegfried 

It's like laser tag for soldiers. 

00:08:38 Collin Hillier 

How does NSG get involved in that integration? What are the sort of things that you do to help that interoperability between nations in the live domain then? 

00:08:48 Robert Siegfried 

Traditionally, we had a variety of vendors providing this live training equipment that's laser equipment. Essentially that you can put on your tanks and rifles and used to instrument your ranges and as it happens, every. 

00:09:00 Robert Siegfried 

And he had his own standards, did it a little bit differently. I mean, they all had sort of the same idea, but they use different laser coat. 

00:09:06 Robert Siegfried 

They used the different encoding to transport some information over the laser shots. What that would mean is that, for example, if you have a Dutch brigade coming to Germany to our live training ranges to train with us, that would just simply be not possible because the systems wouldn't understand each other. 

00:09:20 Robert Siegfried 

So the first action would be to kinda rip off all the Dutch instrumented equipment and replace it by some German equipment, and then they could train together. So that's a very. 

00:09:29 Robert Siegfried 

Active and an efficient way of training. So we had a within the Nims year long running activity, which is called ucat. 

00:09:37 Robert Siegfried 

It wasn't actually at the beginning, but now it's sort of becoming a a name, so the UCAT group they set out to standardise the laser codes and actually standardise the information that we want to exchange over this laser equipment. What that means effectively? 

00:09:50 Robert Siegfried 

At the end of the day, we can train together each nation using equipment from their preferred vendors. As long as they all comply with the UK standards, we can just go and train to. 

00:10:00 Robert Siegfried 

Weather so there is no need to replace equipment. There's no need for cost intensive adaptations or modifications to to individual systems, but all nations following the same standard can train together. 

00:10:10 Collin Hillier 

I guess like most of these good ideas, it seems straightforward, but actually when you get to the detail it it's a bit fiendish, because you know there's quite a lot of. 

00:10:19 Collin Hillier 

Legacy equipment out there. 

00:10:20 Collin Hillier 

And how do you upgrade that and keep you all these things in lockstep? I guess what? What are the main challenges you see to that? 

00:10:27 Robert Siegfried 

Well, it boils down to to two major. 

00:10:29 Robert Siegfried 

Areas I would say. I mean one is a technical piece that that you already mentioned. These are complicated standards and there's a lot of information that we won't transmit from one player to another, and so harmonising at different systems and coming up with a common standard just takes time from a technical point of view. 

00:10:45 Robert Siegfried 

Obviously each implementation had its own benefits, so it's trying to merge all the benefits and then getting rid of all the. 

00:10:51 Robert Siegfried 

Not so good pieces of the individual implementations, so that's a technical piece. That's something that takes time and engineers, but that's something that can be solved. The other part, of course, is there are commercial sense. 

00:11:00 Robert Siegfried 

Activities usually if you have proprietary systems that also gives some advantages to some vendors, so there's also this piece of educating both industry and government stakeholders that just because we have a common standard, we're not taking away business from anyone. 

00:11:14 Robert Siegfried 

Essentially, we're making it easier. The MD's can select from a broader range of vendors, and the vendors potentially have access to a broader. 

00:11:21 Robert Siegfried 

Market because they they can provide the system to all the mods. Again, that requires a bit of education and convincing on all sides, especially if you have new stands. 

00:11:29 Robert Siegfried 

They need to be tried. Mods would like to have their mature and tested standards, so again, this is what takes time to develop these standards and and B to to really fully establish them. 

00:11:40 Collin Hillier 

Yeah, really interesting and really deep topic which we might need to cover in another session. I guess the main area of interest for us is the evolving technologies and approaches for distributed synthetic training and specially synthetic training in multi domain operations. 

00:11:56 Collin Hillier 

Could you give? 

00:11:56 Collin Hillier 

Us a bit. 

00:11:57 Collin Hillier 

Of an overview of how you see. 

00:11:59 Collin Hillier 

See that panning out over the next few years and what are the challenges associated with that. 

00:12:03 Robert Siegfried 

Absolutely. I mean we talked about multi domain operations earlier and we see that integrating all these domains is challenging already in the real life. 

00:12:11 Robert Siegfried 

I mean, we need to bring together air, maritime land, cyber space and all all the other pieces to the puzzle. 

00:12:16 Robert Siegfried 

And the key point here is we also want to train multi domain operations. So also we need to create a training environment. 

00:12:23 Robert Siegfried 

That allows our forces to properly train and exercise multi domain operations and so there are a number of difficulties popping up. If you want to train multi domain operation. 

00:12:33 Robert Siegfried 

In a real in a live environment, using your actual platforms, your ships, your tanks, your your fighter aircrafts and whatnot, there's a variety of reasons why we cannot fully train multi domain operations in a live environment. 

00:12:45 Robert Siegfried 

There's the availability of assets. Most of our nations in NATO simply cannot afford enough platforms enough assets to create these complex environments. 

00:12:54 Robert Siegfried 

Because I mean you don't need it like a single platform, you need not a handful or a dozen. You you need 50 hundreds of platforms to recreate a challenging environment for multi domain operations and also to provide a training stimulus that really challenges your training. 

00:13:08 Robert Siegfried 

Audience, so it's already a challenge in terms of availability of assets. But then of course there are also a lot of concerns about operational safety. 

00:13:14 Robert Siegfried 

I mean, if you do it in a live environment, literally everybody is watching and observing. There are no secrets, you don't wanna expose everything to everybody. There are environmental issues, of course, so there's a variety of reasons why we are not able to fully train for multi domain. 

00:13:29 Robert Siegfried 

In a live environment and this is where synthetic environments or simulation environments really have their strengths, we can replicate the multi domain environment in a synthetic environment, not only for ground units but for ground units, area units and for all the other domains. 

00:13:43 Robert Siegfried 

And we can connect them to each other so that they can really train in the lifelike environment as realistic as possible, and that they can train. 

00:13:49 Robert Siegfried 

The collaboration between the units from different domains between units from different nations. Even in a secure and safe space, and really have the opportunity to fully train multi domain operation. 

00:14:00 Robert Siegfried 

So Long story short, synthetic environments are our only way to fully train our troops and to prepare them for the next mission because we simply cannot train multi domain operations in the live environment. 

00:14:11 Robert Siegfried 

So how does? 

00:14:11 Collin Hillier 

The NSG work in terms of improving that you know you talked about standards so clearly. Standards is part. 

00:14:18 Collin Hillier 

Of that work. 

00:14:19 Robert Siegfried 

Well, to understand how the enemy SG. 

00:14:21 Robert Siegfried 

Is supporting this? 

00:14:22 Robert Siegfried 

And let me briefly tell you how the NSG is operating, the NATO modelling and simulation group is composed of all the allies plus partner nations that are coming together to exchange their priorities on. 

00:14:32 Robert Siegfried 

As I said earlier, all topics related to modelling and simulation to align research efforts to undertake joint endeavours and also to collaborate on standards development. And if you think of the. 

00:14:42 Robert Siegfried 

Data modelling and simulation to be sort of a steering committee that meets twice a year. Then under this NSG we have a a series of technical work. 

00:14:50 Robert Siegfried 

Working groups at any point in time, there are about 30 different technical working groups that address specific topics. I mean there are working groups on as we talked earlier live training standards there are working groups on maritime training, simulation for acquisition, representing cyber effects and simulation environments, professional, M&S education and so on and so on. 

00:15:11 Robert Siegfried 

So there's a variety of topics that the NSG is collectively working on, and in total that's about 500 to 600 subject. 

00:15:18 Robert Siegfried 

Other experts that we bring together in these technical working groups, so that's pretty impressive, and that's a pretty good manpower that we have to address these topics. 

00:15:26 Robert Siegfried 

As multi domain operations are a complex concept involving a lot of different players. 

00:15:31 Robert Siegfried 

It's not a surprise that also, when the enemy G is addressing multi domain operations and synthetic environments for multi domain operations that there is a variety of our. 

00:15:39 Robert Siegfried 

Technical activities kinda involved in this challenge. 

00:15:42 Robert Siegfried 

So over the last years the Animus G had working groups to look at. For example, how can we connect flight simulators? 

00:15:49 Robert Siegfried 

How can we organise collective synthetic training for maritime units? How can we establish cross domain security solutions? We had a huge activity and we still have on modelling and simulation as a service as sort of a cross cutting technology. 

00:16:03 Robert Siegfried 

To enable automation and to bring simulation to the point of need. So there are a lot of technical activities that that kind of provide bits and pieces of the end. 

00:16:11 Robert Siegfried 

Their puzzle about 18 months ago, the Animus G established a new high level activity which is called distributed synthetic training DST, and this activity really brings together all the individual research efforts that we've done over the last 10 years that resulted in many, many standards trials exercises, et cetera. And that brings together all these different work streams. 

00:16:32 Robert Siegfried 

Under one task, group distributed synthetic training to really move this forward with the objective to establish a persistent training capability. Distributed training capability where all nations can kind of. 

00:16:42 Robert Siegfried 

Plug in and train for multi domain operations. 

00:16:45 Robert Siegfried 

As we just discussed. 

00:16:45 Collin Hillier 

We hear a lot about use of commercial off the shelf technology and influences from the gaming industry is. Is that a particular area of interest for an MSG and how does that relate to some of sort of more established standards that are implemented? 

00:16:59 Robert Siegfried 

Yeah, so commercial technologies, whether it's from the gaming industry or from cloud computing, are of huge interest for the NSG and and for MD's around the. 

00:17:08 Robert Siegfried 

Globe and the reason is pretty. 

00:17:09 Robert Siegfried 

People, the large tech companies, the Amazons, Microsoft Googles and and so on. Facebook's. They can spend tonnes of money, more on research and development than the nodes can individually. 

00:17:20 Robert Siegfried 

So when the past the MD's were sort of driving technology and advancing technology to the edge, that role has changed a little bit, so there are areas where the MD's are no longer at. 

00:17:29 Robert Siegfried 

Forefront of where commercial industries are leading and simply they can spend a lot more money and so the approach is that we adopt as much as we can from these commercial developments. 

00:17:40 Robert Siegfried 

And again, a great example is cloud computing, which is well established in the commercial sector which the mods have picked up and where we tried to leverage certain cloud technologies. 

00:17:50 Robert Siegfried 

For example, for modelling and simulation as a service gaming great example, there is tonnes of money available in the gaming industry and they have built great engines, for example which we can use as image generators in. 

00:18:00 Robert Siegfried 

In full mission simulators for example. So there is a huge appetite to benefit from commercial developments and to adapt those commercial developments for defence use. 

00:18:08 Collin Hillier 

Yeah, as you say, there's some really good examples out there, but I guess while there are similarities, there's also lots of differences when you're trying to deliver simulation or modelling for training as opposed to simulation for entertainment. 

00:18:22 Collin Hillier 

For example, can you break that down in terms of some of the differences and why some of the commercial techniques that might be present in the gaming industry? 

00:18:29 Collin Hillier 

Work or do you work in the military world? 

00:18:31 Robert Siegfried 

That's a great point actually. The objective is simply different. If I want to create a blockbuster game, it's about getting the player and. 

00:18:37 Robert Siegfried 

Paint, it should be challenging, but not too difficult, and so on. And the graphics need to be really good, and if you take a state-of-the-art game, let's say Call of Duty, which has a budget of roughly €1.5 billion, about 80% or so, maybe 90% go into developing graphics, make it look nice for the realistic imagery, IRS terrain, and and all these. 

00:18:58 Robert Siegfried 

Other elements and the huge difference is. 

00:19:00 Robert Siegfried 

You just started to point out. I mean the huge difference to training is that if we provide training to our soldiers and our war fighters, it is about a realistic representation of the real world. 

00:19:09 Robert Siegfried 

So it's not about entertaining, but it's about a realistic representation, so there are some elements that might be harder than in a game. There are some elements that might just simply be different so that we replicate the real environment. 

00:19:20 Robert Siegfried 

But that's the main difference we need to make sure that they get a training value and that the training that they get from our training systems is something that they can employ in the real world. That's the major difference. 

00:19:29 Robert Siegfried 

Between games and and our training environments and the other piece, of course, is usually. The second question is then why do our training systems not not look like Call of Duty for example? 

00:19:39 Robert Siegfried 

And again I mean the reason is pretty simple, because if you look at Call of Duty they are selling millions of copies and if you have a development cost of 1.5 billion or so and you divide it by millions of copies, that's. 

00:19:49 Robert Siegfried 

Very feasible approach, but if you buy like 10 or 15 simulators and want to have the same degree of photorealistic imagery and terrain and and so on, it's simply not affordable. So that's usually the reason why. 

00:20:00 Robert Siegfried 

Our training systems are not as high, realistic as some of the AAA games. 

00:20:05 Collin Hillier 

Pretty feeds back to your earlier point about improved standards, then mean less duplication, and we can make graphics better. 

00:20:11 Collin Hillier 

We can get the scale up all across all these technologies. As you say, a cost of developing a game is actually, I think, more than most Hollywood movies these days for a high end game. Yeah, the budgets are very different. If if we only had some of those budgets. 

00:20:25 Robert Siegfried 

Yeah, that would be great. 

00:20:26 Speaker 4 

So where do? 

00:20:26 Collin Hillier 

You see MSG going in the next few years or the main areas of thought and importance. 

00:20:32 Robert Siegfried 

There are probably 2 answers to this. 

00:20:35 Robert Siegfried 

Question one is obviously from from a technology point of view. There are a lot of great ideas floating around from a research point areas that we would like to address and the other point of course is sort of more in day-to-day challenges. 

00:20:46 Robert Siegfried 

NATO said at the beginning is is a political organisation and the war in Ukraine obviously affected NATO. There's a lot of real emphasis on collective defence, for example, and NATO. 

00:20:56 Robert Siegfried 

Since February this. 

00:20:56 Robert Siegfried 

Year and this also comes down to the native modelling and. 

00:21:00 Robert Siegfried 

Nation group, so essentially the enemy. She was also asked how can we support collective deterrence and defence? How can we actively contribute to prepare our nations? 

00:21:10 Robert Siegfried 

Well, for a potential war in Europe, that was unthinkable a few months ago. So that said we are trying to find a balance in the native modelling and simulation group between short term activities. 

00:21:20 Robert Siegfried 

Where we can provide results pretty quickly and also where we can provide results that nations can use more or less directly. So kind of satisfying immediate needs. 

00:21:29 Robert Siegfried 

Delivering something that is usable today and at the same time finding a balance at the same time. Also looking at medium to longer term research topics that might not be usable today or tomorrow, but that are the basis. 

00:21:41 Robert Siegfried 

For the next generation or the generation after next of our systems. Personally, I think it's very important that we have this balance and that we do not only focus on short term activities or not only on long term, but that we address both at the same time and that's what we try to do in the NMSC. 

00:21:53 Robert Siegfried 

There are a lot of activities that focus on short term where we provide results that nations can directly use and whether it's professional. 

00:22:00 Robert Siegfried 

Education curriculums the ucat at the live training standards. For example. We do have excellent examples in developing data models for representing cyber effects. 

00:22:09 Robert Siegfried 

For example, in distributed training environments, so these are all kind of efforts that contribute to kind of short term results and and short term effects medium to long term. There are great topics, whether it's representation of human behaviour. 

00:22:21 Robert Siegfried 

In our systems, integration of cultural and other aspects into this human behaviour. For example, there are a lot of topics that are open in the broad field of artificial intelligence. 

00:22:32 Robert Siegfried 

I mean, at the end of the day, AI works a lot with models and so by definition the native modelling and simulation was interested in these models. 

00:22:39 Robert Siegfried 

And how can we train artificial intelligence models? How can we verify them? How can we validate that they do what they are supposed to do? 

00:22:45 Robert Siegfried 

How can we establish their quality metrics and so on in this area? So there are a lot of areas of interest that require. 

00:22:52 Robert Siegfried 

A bit more medium to low. 

00:22:54 Robert Siegfried 

Efforts to make good progress. 

00:22:55 Tom Constable 

So my question is, with mdos and synthetic training or synthetic training environment required to train for multi domain operations, am I right in saying there's no one single bit of software where you can train MDAO, so you've had to bring together multiple softwares together using your open standards? 

00:23:11 Robert Siegfried 

And that's perfectly correct. So the idea that we are pursuing as native modelling simulation group with the distributed synthetic training efforts is to provide an opportunity for nations to plug in the national training systems into a, let's say, joint backbone. It's a bit like Steam for the MD's or Xbox. 

00:23:28 Robert Siegfried 

Network you start up your national training system, whether it's an infantry system, air traffic controller, JPEG, whatever, and you can plug it in into this common environment and you can train with units from a different service from a different domain from a different nation. 

00:23:41 Robert Siegfried 

And once you're done, you can unplug and the next training audience can kind of plug in their training systems. It requires a set of national or. 

00:23:49 Robert Siegfried 

Training systems that we can then pull together. There's no single system satisfying all mbio training demands. 

00:23:55 Tom Constable 

That's a great concept. Where are you in the journey of making that a reality? 

00:23:58 Robert Siegfried 

As I said, we started about 8. 

00:24:00 Robert Siegfried 

Months ago, well in reality we started about 10 years ago at developing initial standards, validating, verifying these standards, getting them published, and getting them balloted and so on, and getting also vendors to implement some of these standards already while we are now with distributed synthetic training is that we've brought together the the Community. It's a group of 20 nations and something like 170 or so subject matter. 

00:24:20 Robert Siegfried 

The experts and the challenge right now is to kinda transition from great initial results into a standing into a persistent capability that nations can use on a daily basis. 

00:24:30 Robert Siegfried 

So it's a bit like in most nations the transition from. Yeah, we have a great research result into fielding a capability and sometimes in in many nations there's this valley of death in between, and that's exactly. 

00:24:41 Robert Siegfried 

Where we are. 

00:24:41 Robert Siegfried 

And what we are trying to bridge at the moment, I do think we have a great opportunity now. Unfortunately, due to the Ukraine war that opened up a lot of opportunities. 

00:24:50 Robert Siegfried 

As we all know, a lot more funding going into NATO. There's a lot more understanding for the need to be able to train multi nationally and to train for multi domain operations. 

00:25:00 Robert Siegfried 

There's also a new understanding that we are lacking this training capability. This critical training capability, so I think we are. 

00:25:06 Robert Siegfried 

We had a really good point and we have a lot of support from our higher commands from the NATO headquarters from the NATO single service commands and from as I said from 18 nations that are currently participating and should soon be two or three more. So yeah, I think we have a great opportunity to establish this. 

00:25:21 Robert Siegfried 

Distributed synthetic training capability over the next years. 

00:25:24 Collin Hillier 

Robert, that's really great overview of the work that's been done by an MSG. Probably the last question. 

00:25:29 Collin Hillier 

For me is this is a really interesting area and I know NATO likes to sort of maintain a sort of high level sort of forward-looking view and stay away from buzzwords. 

00:25:38 Collin Hillier 

But how do you see all this work relating to conversations around things like military metaverse? Is that relevant? 


I was. 

00:25:47 Robert Siegfried 

Just waiting for the question now if somebody can explain to me what the military metaphors is, I'm happy. 

00:25:54 Collin Hillier 

OK, we'll have someone. 

00:25:55 Robert Siegfried 

I mean, in reality, I think if we succeed with establishing the distributed synthetic training capability, we are kind of close to a, let's say training meta wars. 

00:26:04 Robert Siegfried 

If you look around it at the big trade shows like it's like a few weeks ago, you see that there is a lot of individual technologies that you would imagine would play a role in establishing something like a military matter wars. 

00:26:15 Robert Siegfried 

I think that the the big question for me still is, will this all be integrated? Will this be like a a second life for the military or will this be more like individual technologies that we kind of pull together on a case? 

00:26:25 Robert Siegfried 

By case basis. 

00:26:26 Collin Hillier 

It's probably worth pointing out that a lot of this. 

00:26:29 Collin Hillier 

Work isn't new. I seem to remember NATO looking at this 15 years ago. That what what's difference is the the technologies have moved on and some of what was probably a dream 15 years ago was now just more readily achievable. 

00:26:41 Robert Siegfried 

Yes, technology is is advancing that. There are elements that are possible today. If you just think about collaboration tools, video conferencing, all these that were not able well, maybe 10 years ago. 

00:26:52 Robert Siegfried 

Also, of course our infrastructure has evolved the networking capabilities, the radio networks, all that has evolved to a point where we can. 

00:26:59 Robert Siegfried 

And make data more readily accessible to a broad user base. So so definitely these enabling factors. I think play a critical role. 

00:27:06 Collin Hillier 

It's just a personal theory, but just as as the Internet came out of a a military project from DARPA, I wonder if we'll see the first true metaverse coming out of some of this defence work. Crystal ball like. 

00:27:17 Robert Siegfried 

I would be I would be cautious. I mean what I said earlier. The commercial sector has has way more money available for research and development than we in the MoD's have. 

00:27:26 Robert Siegfried 

If you just look at at the amount of money that, for example, Facebook is spending about $10 billion a year on establishing the meta. 

00:27:32 Robert Siegfried 

Diverse, they're also working on the on the goggles and and other pieces. My bet would be that the commercial sector is leading and that the MD's the defence is adapting what we feel we can leverage for our purposes. 

00:27:45 Collin Hillier 

Well, great Robert. I think we'll close it there. It's been great. Yeah Robert. Thanks again for appearing. 

00:27:50 Collin Hillier 

On this episode. 

00:27:51 Collin Hillier 

A really helpful guide to the work that NATO's doing and they can get in touch with you if they want to learn more on the. 

00:27:57 Collin Hillier 

War Fighter podcast page. 

00:27:58 Robert Siegfried 

Colin Tom thanks a lot. It was a pleasure to to be. 

00:28:01 Robert Siegfried 

Part of your podcast. 

00:28:08 Collin Hillier 

That was great, always fascinating. What you don't know that NATO do. Yeah, time that goes on in the. 

00:28:14 Tom Constable 

Background, yeah, naively just. I knew that NATO had a modelling simulation group, but I hadn't had anything really to do with it until now, so understanding how they're structured and actually they're looking at some of the big problems, I think it's. 

00:28:26 Tom Constable 

Great opportunity to be able to reach out to people within part of that team. Share knowledge and hopefully we can get a few of those guests on to explore some of these topics in a lot more detail. 

00:28:35 Collin Hillier 

Yeah, and it's probably worth mentioning that it's not at all a close shot. They they sort of encourage industry and academia to get involved. 

00:28:43 Collin Hillier 

So there are ways to do so. People like Robert can definitely point you in the right direction if. 

00:28:48 Collin Hillier 

That's of interest. 

00:28:48 Tom Constable 

Moving on now to the new segment a little bit longer than usual, but really good content and I hope you enjoy. 

00:28:55 Tom Constable 

Here we go. This is the highlight of my biweekly event, Andy, as ever. Welcome to the podcast. 

00:29:00 Speaker 4 

Thank you Tom. 

00:29:01 Tom Constable 

So you guys having been having a little bit of a chin wag in the background and kind of revamping this basic kind of feedback and thoughts from other people as well? 

00:29:08 Tom Constable 

So someone tell me what we covering and and how. 

00:29:10 Collin Hillier 

Are we going to cover it this week? Well, obviously end of the year so you can't get away from the. 

00:29:15 Collin Hillier 

Let let's have a throwback. Let's look at what sort of the main themes or stories of the year so and and, and I was sort of discussing what sort of caught our eye, and basically and we came up with three main areas, so I think we'll go through them in no particular order. I think the first story, Andy, you wanna talk about. 

00:29:31 Speaker 4 

That's right, Colin. So in a sense, it's an ongoing story, but it's the issue of the US Army's integrated visual augmentation System, or IBAS. 

00:29:39 Speaker 4 

And as yes. 

00:29:39 Tom Constable 

Ah, I've been looking forward to this for a. 

00:29:42 Tom Constable 

While OK, Molly up my sleeve OK. 

00:29:44 Collin Hillier 

Yeah, well, we've. 

00:29:45 Speaker 4 

We've we've left the best till last for you. I guess a lot of our listeners. 

00:29:50 Speaker 4 

Would instantly know what it is. 

00:29:52 Speaker 4 

But I'll read out what the programme Executive Officer Soldier says. It's the US Army Kermit wing. They say it provides a single platform that allows the soldier to fight, rehearse and train. 

00:30:03 Speaker 4 

So yeah, it's very much multi-purpose, and the reason I guess it's of particular interest to our communities. It it does leverage off mixed reality technology from Microsoft and. 

00:30:12 Speaker 4 

To their HoloLens technology which I hope. 

00:30:15 Speaker 4 

You've all heard of back to the PO website. It says it will enable war fighters to fight 25 bloodless battles before engaging the enemy. And then of course it will be used actually to fight the enemy as well. 

00:30:26 Tom Constable 

Yeah, is it worth describing what it looks like? Cause I've got a picture in front of me now, kind of quickly Googled it, would it? 

00:30:31 Tom Constable 

Be because some people. 

00:30:32 Tom Constable 

May not actually have an idea what the the product looks like. 

00:30:35 Speaker 4 

Well, the holo lens is obviously a Microsoft product. It's now in its second iteration, Holo Lens 10/2 and that is a sort of flip down visor. 

00:30:43 Speaker 4 

The military need something a bit more robust and rugged, so I would say it looks like. 

00:30:48 Speaker 4 

A bit like ski goggles. 

00:30:50 Collin Hillier 

Yeah, it it does. It's a helmet mounted. Yeah it's reality display but for for infantry. 

00:30:55 Tom Constable 

And just to add more detail, that's that's a ski goggles. And on top of the ski goggles, there are multiple different sensors and cameras and then fixed onto that. It is fixed onto a normal kind of combat ballistic helmet. 

00:31:06 Speaker 4 

The soldier would normally see. 

00:31:08 Speaker 4 

The real world and then they can. 

00:31:09 Speaker 4 

Have in terms of. 

00:31:11 Speaker 4 

Front of them have images of or symbology showing maybe where the enemy is or where their troops are, or give them situational awareness through just seeing through these goggles so they can see the real world. 

00:31:22 Speaker 4 

Also, it has a sort of infrared capability as well, so it could provide you infrared vision as well, which is extremely valuable if every soldier. 

00:31:29 Speaker 4 

Can have that. 

00:31:30 Collin Hillier 

And what's interesting with this is it's not a new idea. I mean there's a digital soldiers has been around for a while, certainly since I've been working in. 

00:31:36 Collin Hillier 

Area what's new is this type of technology in the application to it. 

00:31:41 Tom Constable 

And the money associated with it. 

00:31:42 Speaker 4 

The vision of actually this technology and I can see it. People in factories are using this technology and so it isn't just science fiction, it's something where people tangibly see it. 

00:31:51 Speaker 4 

So you know, maybe the technology is ready, and that's what they're exploring. But of course it's had bad press along the way, and it's easy for people to snipe. 

00:31:59 Speaker 4 

I wonder whether. 

00:32:00 Speaker 4 

People are sniping at the whole idea of having it. 

00:32:02 Speaker 4 

Or just the fact that it's something new so it is its main purpose is to provide that 24/7 situation awareness which can be used in training and operation. 

00:32:10 Speaker 4 

It's quite a bold bit of technology for sure. In March 21 they were Microsoft were awarded a. 

00:32:16 Speaker 4 

In fact, it's rather extraordinary numbers, really to produce 120,000 of these goggles and a contract is worth up to 22 billion huge sums of money. 

00:32:25 Speaker 4 

That's public domain information. Of course, all of this is only need to do a trawl through Google News to see some of the problems earlier this year. In April 2022, the Inspector General of the Department of Defence. 

00:32:36 Speaker 4 

Auditing this system, and I think it's interesting they were auditing how principally how did the army know what it was gonna get, what it value for money, so they recognise that the army is using user acceptance as a core metric for the project. But this government audit was actually quite critical. 

00:32:53 Speaker 4 

I mean they laughed. 

00:32:54 Speaker 4 

That but the trouble was that they weren't defining minimum user acceptance levels to whether ISAS would meet the needs and quote procuring EVAS without attaining a user acceptance could result in wasting up to $22 billion in taxpayers funds, and in fact not just for eithers. 

00:33:09 Speaker 4 

And I think there should be of interest to all listeners. They're recommending in terms of procurement that suitable. 

00:33:14 Speaker 4 

User acceptance measurements for test and evaluation should always be there and I think. 

00:33:18 Speaker 4 

Anyone who's in the military involved in the military, the user acceptance and is is absolutely essential. So Fast forward. 

00:33:25 Speaker 4 

Now to November, the Army is looking to renegotiate the contract because since that order there were more tests and users are experiencing physical elements, they don't define what those are. That's according to James recent article. 

00:33:37 Collin Hillier 

The ones that. 

00:33:38 Tom Constable 

Research I've done is is yes around kind of nausea, motion sickness and nausea. 

00:33:41 Speaker 4 

Yeah, it's far more challenging than they are this virtual reality, because yeah, you the helmet needs to know exactly where it is and all those visual artefacts need to be, you know, bang on, obviously. 

00:33:52 Speaker 4 

So actually quite challenging. According to James, the assistant secretary of the US Army for acquisition, Logistics and Technology, General Douglas Bush. 

00:33:59 Speaker 4 

He still wants to fill 10,000 of these units, but the plan does depend on the new form factor. 

00:34:05 Speaker 4 

But I I think this is really. 

00:34:06 Speaker 4 

Interesting, he the Bush is. 

00:34:07 Speaker 4 

Quoted as saying, we ran into a challenge which is not uncommon. Which is you have commercial. 

00:34:12 Speaker 4 

Technology that's very good in commercial setting, but adapting its military use and conditions are sometimes much harder than people think it's going to be, and they went on nobody gaming in their basement. Worries about light emissions. 

00:34:22 Speaker 4 

And nobody wears it for three hours very often, so the risk of discomfort are different, and after all, it's not the first procurement project to run into difficulties. 

00:34:32 Speaker 4 

So I think every defence, whether you're producing a tank or an aircraft, runs into difficulties. Yeah, it's a story to watch that one, and we will be doing through next year. 

00:34:41 Collin Hillier 

Look forward to hearing more about that and maybe. 

00:34:43 Collin Hillier 

We can. 

00:34:43 Collin Hillier 

Someone from Microsoft to talk about that some more. 

00:34:45 Tom Constable 

Yeah, I really want to get someone to talk about it, I mean. 

00:34:48 Tom Constable 

And just from my perspective, because I got this topic, I wanted to discuss for a while on the podcast is from the start of this contract and the concept I always as a as an as an ex. 

00:34:56 Tom Constable 

Infanteer myself like the. 

00:34:58 Tom Constable 

Idea of putting more technology on to soldiers and troops who already have lots of things to think about and worry about. 

00:35:04 Tom Constable 

It always concerns me. It's not about being scared of new technology, I'm I'm all for new technology. You guys know that, but it's just like. 

00:35:10 Tom Constable 

Troops need to be aware of ground awareness, what's happening around them? What's that sound they can hear in the distance? 

00:35:16 Tom Constable 

Where are all their comrades in in real time? And yeah, OK this headset. These men are overlaid blue four positions. But then what's the risk with too much information? What's the risk of technology going down, losing signal, knocking the head, breaking the camera? 

00:35:28 Tom Constable 

Then you've lost your situational awareness that you've now relied upon and actually, are you a worse infanteer because you've been relying upon the crutch of all of this technology? 

00:35:37 Tom Constable 

And then when it all goes peak on what you have to rely on, well actually have to rely on your natural. 

00:35:41 Tom Constable 

Instincts of the infanteer anyway. 

00:35:42 Tom Constable 

So that's but I love people on from Microsoft to come on and chat to it because I'm obviously I've. 

00:35:46 Tom Constable 

Not been part of the trials. I haven't been developing yet, there's. 

00:35:49 Tom Constable 

Clear use case. It's very exciting conceptually. 

00:35:51 Tom Constable 

But the practical application is where my question marks kind of are raised. 

00:35:54 Speaker 4 

And maybe they're going down. 

00:35:55 Speaker 4 

The wrong use case maybe being more useful for people fixing tanks more in the rather than someone absolutely in the frontline, so maybe the use case is is something they need to look at. 

00:36:05 Collin Hillier 

Yeah, huge topics, so we'll certainly cover that in future. The other not in the significant topic and the is the. 

00:36:12 Collin Hillier 

Of real emergence of gaming platforms in a large way. If you wanna give us a bit of an update of what's. 

00:36:17 Speaker 4 

Been happening this year, I've been exploring or looking at the gaming technology in a wider sense for I'm afraid 2 decades now and it's always interested me about how people respond to it. Certainly 20 years ago, even though senior people military, many in the military and even NATO. 

00:36:32 Speaker 4 

Working to pursue gaming technology in terms of you know, what could it do? 

00:36:36 Speaker 4 

For the warfighter, there was huge steps. 

00:36:38 Speaker 4 

And in many parts of the industry I will say, and you know, damn right? You know dismissive, I would say I think Iraq and Afghanistan with the likes of VBS two brought along the idea. 

00:36:47 Speaker 4 

Yeah, you can give this software to users in power the military, but still it was an uphill struggle. Still people rather scoff for or not take it seriously, even though over the last decade the gaming. 

00:36:58 Speaker 4 

Ecosystem has grown hugely. 

00:37:00 Speaker 4 

Yeah, it's incredibly sophisticated now. Two years ago Itsec it was to Witsec Alan Schaeffer, who was then the Deputy Under Secretary of Defence was still asking his audience. 

00:37:09 Speaker 4 

It's set to said it must adapt to considerably larger. A larger gaming industry, and I remember writing an article and thinking employ why. 

00:37:16 Speaker 4 

Does he still? 

00:37:17 Speaker 4 

Have to say. 

00:37:18 Speaker 4 

That it's just extraordinary, isn't it that the industry 

00:37:20 Speaker 4 

Or the communities is still quite negative. 

00:37:23 Collin Hillier 

The breakthrough this year, which I do remember. 

00:37:26 Speaker 4 

I was just about to come to that Colin. 

00:37:27 Tom Constable 

Yeah, but yeah, certainly that you tell him Andy. 

00:37:30 Collin Hillier 

Sorry, so no stalling. 

00:37:32 Collin Hillier 

Under because I remember saying to someone, how are you Andy about five years ago and saying when we see the flight simulation people using game engines, then we'll have broken the last barrier is, is that something that we've seen? 

00:37:43 Speaker 4 

Well, I I I think I'm no doubt there are still sceptics but I I think this year we've seen companies like CAE who are obviously huge not just in. 

00:37:44 Collin Hillier 

That this year? 

00:37:52 Speaker 4 

Literally, but in Civil Aviation there have been partnering with Epic games to use Unreal Engine all the way in a sense, from a mobile device all the way now to a full flight simulator. 

00:38:02 Speaker 4 

That to me as a sort of just a huge change in attitude. Although CAE have spoken to me in the past that, well, we've been using gaming graphics cards for years, so it was just. 

00:38:12 Speaker 4 

This is a progression and also we've now also seen unity in in flight simulators. I think it's so, yeah, I think that as a huge story for the community, but it has taken an awfully long time to reach that. 

00:38:24 Speaker 4 

And it's very exciting. I think you know the idea that users can now work with software that they probably see at home. 

00:38:30 Speaker 4 

There's huge communities of people working on these platforms, so it's difficult to know where it's gonna go. But having followed the journey, very exciting. 

00:38:37 Collin Hillier 

Yeah, I'm sure we're going to see more of that. 

00:38:37 Tom Constable 

Yeah, yeah, I've been. I've been banging the drum for over three years now about using gaming engines. And every time I. 

00:38:45 Tom Constable 

Presented to the customer so defence militaries around the world despite talking about my product and what we did. One of the things I tried to communicate was the value of game engines and it not just my products but just talking about why defence could benefit from it. You know why? Invest a lot. 

00:39:00 Tom Constable 

Money in a proprietary platform when you can invest money in someone else who's built on a game engine that can benefit from essentially the investment from the much larger gaming industry that will get the money gets made in the gaming industry, gets pumped back into the game engines on real engine unity, et cetera and then unity and real engine continue to improve their platforms because they need to be at the cutting edge. Otherwise no one's going to use their. 

00:39:21 Tom Constable 

Platforms to build games or simulators on and then defence companies build on top of that and benefit from all the investment throughout the whole chain. It's a no brainer. 

00:39:29 Tom Constable 

Pretty much everyone throughout the chain. Yeah, so I'm glad that three years later. I'm not suggesting that I was involved in any of those changes, but glad to see it starting to happen now and the floodgates really do look like they're starting to open. 

00:39:38 Collin Hillier 

The only thing I'll add to that maybe to your point, is when you ask these companies why they're involved in defence and government is their motivation and their motivation is because it's the most challenging use case. A bit like Igas, it's the most challenging use case, and that's why they're interested in doing. 

00:39:53 Collin Hillier 

I think that's a good response. If it was for the for the money or prestige or something, I'd be, well, that's not a great reason, but they're looking that it would develop their technology then that's a great sort of symbiosis, I think. 

00:40:05 Speaker 4 

Yeah, it's a great point, Colin, perhaps even bigger markets in engineering or architecture to exploit these engines as well, which perhaps. 

00:40:13 Speaker 4 

Neatly brings us. 

00:40:14 Speaker 4 

To the other story of the year. 

00:40:15 Collin Hillier 

Another one that you probably couldn't couldn't get away from. 

00:40:15 Speaker 4 

I think it's. 

00:40:18 Speaker 4 

The Metaverse I hear I hear groans and loops of excitement. I think this is important. 

00:40:24 Speaker 4 

Because not because I've just written two articles about it and I I think I think if you're really interested in this space, I think it brings together many concepts that the manager have had since the 1980s, and perhaps before whether you want to call it the Metaverse or not. 

00:40:37 Speaker 4 

If you look at a lot of the underlying technologies like games engine, they are happening and so you can't kind of get away. 

00:40:43 Speaker 4 

From it, obviously. 

00:40:44 Speaker 4 

Facebook turning to Meta. 

00:40:46 Speaker 4 

There's sort of. 

00:40:47 Speaker 4 

That's been caused for people to sort of snipe at the meta verse. 

00:40:50 Speaker 4 

I think companies like improbable recent news of of some difficulties in a in an America might be another. A negative thing against the. 

00:40:56 Speaker 4 

Metaverse, but if. 

00:40:57 Speaker 4 

You try and get beyond all these points. I think it's really exciting. 

00:41:01 Speaker 4 

Because in a way the whole world is waking up in my mind to the power of simulation and the impact of the real and digital worlds coming together, which is the whole point of the original book where the the title came from, so that should keep on giving into 2023. 

00:41:15 Speaker 4 

As I say, I I have written about and done some work in the Metaverse area and I'm also now just interested in how seeing people respond to it. I find it fascinating. 

00:41:23 Speaker 4 

How some knee jerk reaction is to be is to pour cold water on it. I just don't personally understand that, but it's interesting to watch for sure. 

00:41:30 Collin Hillier 

Yeah, and and it's a compelling idea. It's compelling, cause it's not a not a new concept. Yeah, some of us might remember the original Tron movie and certain science fiction books which were all about basically living in this sort of parallel world that's digitally created into a point you don't really know. You're in the parallel world, so I don't think we'll see. 

00:41:49 Collin Hillier 

It ever go away. 

00:41:50 Collin Hillier 

It's always going to. 

00:41:51 Collin Hillier 

Be an objective, but it might be called different things and it might evolve. It's certainly 23. Two was the probably the year of Metaverse and would be fascinating to see how that evolves. 

00:42:01 Collin Hillier 

Does that become a reality or does it? Sort of you take slightly into something else, I don't know. 

00:42:03 Speaker 4 

Yeah, I I think. 

00:42:06 Speaker 4 

In terms of a military metaverse, the use case, I mean, I don't necessarily see people socially spending a lot of time with virtual worlds, but I can certainly see the use cases for engineering architecture training operations where the digital world is more 3 dimensional. You know it's impacting on. 

00:42:21 Speaker 4 

The real world. 

00:42:22 Speaker 4 

So in more tradition. 

00:42:23 Speaker 4 

Well terms, it's live virtual constructive really so you. 

00:42:25 Tom Constable 

Aren't we? Don't we already? 

00:42:26 Speaker 4 

Know instrumented live. 

00:42:27 Tom Constable 

Have that So what listen what this is? 

00:42:28 Speaker 4 

Indeed, yeah. 

00:42:29 Collin Hillier 

What I struggle? 

00:42:29 Tom Constable 

With and maybe Colin, you can look at me and say look, this is another episode, Tom stop, don't this. 

00:42:34 Tom Constable 

This is a news report. Let's not jump into it. But it's that's the interesting thing. Especially talk about military Met Office. 

00:42:38 Tom Constable 

We're already training in the synthetic environment, so it's it's understanding the difference that the concept the metaphors would bring to defence and understanding. 

00:42:46 Tom Constable 

The values and the detractors that that might come with that and and. But if anyone's listening from who is part of the military at the moment, who has that passion for the metaverse and wants to come on and talk about it, I'm I'd be really excited to. 

00:42:57 Tom Constable 

Better understand where defence. 

00:42:59 Tom Constable 

Truly sees the concept of this, you know larger synthetic environment, kind of sitting would be great. 

00:43:06 Speaker 4 

To get another view on it. 

00:43:08 Collin Hillier 

That just leads me to thank Andy for his input this year and and a look back. Maybe this could be a whole episode next time. Clearly there's quite a lot. 

00:43:16 Collin Hillier 

Talk about and I think we might do a look forward early next year. Leads me to sort of say, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our listeners. 

00:43:23 Collin Hillier 

Thank you for. 

00:43:24 Collin Hillier 

Subscribing and and do. 

00:43:26 Collin Hillier 

Do tell your friends. 

00:43:28 Collin Hillier 

Who wonder what to do in that dark period between Christmas and New Year? 

00:43:34 Tom Constable 

No, I think you could probably tell we had to cut that a little bit abrupt and short because we were just going to start go down Rabbit Warren. I suppose for all those topics. 

00:43:41 Tom Constable 

Down which off air, we've decided that basically every single one of those is a separate episode that's gonna come out with the podcast and might even try and bring Andy. 

00:43:48 Tom Constable 

And if he's available just because I think it's nice and fresh to get, you know a bit of a challenge on the conversation. 

00:43:52 Tom Constable 

If Andy and I disagree, or you Colin, it's nice to have that. 

00:43:55 Collin Hillier 

Healthy debate to be able to explore these concepts in more detail? Yes, there's lots of scope for and lots of topics for next year which will. 

00:44:02 Collin Hillier 

As you say, we'll definitely be covering some of those in more depth. I don't know that I came across quite sceptical. 

00:44:06 Tom Constable 

I'm not sceptical. 

00:44:07 Tom Constable 

But I suppose I just want I want more data one more data before I gotta commit to something. 


I'm just. 

00:44:12 Collin Hillier 

I've been time. 

00:44:12 Tom Constable 

I'm not gonna fanboy yet because it's the cool thing I wanna. I wanna go look tell me more and please answer the areas of which I still have questions and hopefully they will. 

00:44:20 Tom Constable 

When we get. 

00:44:20 Tom Constable 

The guests on right, that is it for another episode. Colin, anything else from you mate. 

00:44:25 Collin Hillier 

Now, just to say Many thanks to our listeners. Please spread the word we're trying to grow a bit more of a community and common understanding. Common discussion, discourse if you like. So yeah, pass it on. Cheers.  

Robert SiegfriedProfile Photo

Robert Siegfried

Chair NMSG / CEO Aditerna

Dr. Robert Siegfried is Senior Consultant for IT/M&S projects and Managing Director of Aditerna. For the German Armed Forces, he has worked on documentation guidelines, model management systems, distributed simulation test beds and process models. Since April 2020 Dr. Siegfried is Chairman of the NATO Modelling and Simulation Group (NMSG). For more than 10 years Robert is an active member of various NMSG working groups and for more than 8 years Robert is leading the NMSG’s “Modelling and Simulation as a Service” (MSaaS) efforts. Dr. Siegfried and his team earned two NATO Science and Technology Organization (STO) Scientific Achievement Awards for their efforts on MSaaS. Dr. Siegfried is involved in various simulation-related standardization efforts and was a long-time member of the Executive Committee of the Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization (SISO). He is author of more than 30 scientific papers and serves as track chair or program committee member for highly recognized conferences like the Winter Simulation Conference and the annual NMSG Symposium. He is Guest Editor of the Journal for Defense Modeling and Simulation.