Title: Engenuity sets the STAGE

Sub-title:  A small Canadian company is behind some of the world’s most sophisticated defence industry simulation applications


The simulation market has been going through extensive changes in recent years. On one hand the defence industry is increasingly recognizing the value of using simulations in a wide range of areas. However the cost of developing increasingly complex applications is going up. One Canadian company is stepping in to help resolve this dilemma.


Montreal based Engenuity Technologies is a global leader in the production of high quality simulation, training and visualization systems for the aerospace, defence and automotive industries. Its products and services are used by more than 800 customers in 40 countries, including most of the world’s largest military contractors. According to its president, that’s just the start.


“During the past 12 months we have made acquisitions and built partnerships with several players that will significantly add value to the solutions that we deliver,” says Patrice Commune, Engenuity’s president and chief executive officer. “These moves position us well to take advantage of key opportunities in the changing marketplace.”


Simulation software: moving towards a COTS world

Engenuity provides a range of solutions to help simulation builders increase their products’ functionality while keeping development costs to a minimum. One is a series of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software tools which developers can use to design their embedded software HMI displays. These provide significant advantages compared to traditional hand coding and proprietary tools.


“When you do it yourself, you are on your own,” says Commune. “With our products, customers get training, product service and regular updates as they become available. Our experience in a wide variety of platforms and industries means that we can also provide top-notch consulting that can really boost efficiency.”


According to a long-time Engenuity customer, the savings aren’t bad either. “By using Engenuity’s products, four man years were expended in completing task that would have taken 40 man years of effort using (our) previous development approach,” says Mike Prindle, a senior engineering specialist at Boeing’s Integrated Tactical Avionics Programs (ITAP), which just built an entire simulations lab around Engenuity’s products. But increased efficiency is only one of the benefits of using COTS software. Dramatic design improvements, such as automatic code generation for embedded targets, have significantly increased the functionality of many COTS applications and made them easier to use.


At the same time, increased software standardization is making new tools much easier to learn. This is a key benefit in an era where the profile of display developers is changing as more non-programmers enter the field. COTS software also facilitates the integration of various software development tools within the design environment, and makes it easier for OEMs to work more closely with suppliers on tasks such as communicating design reviews.


Increasing effectiveness using STAGE and VAPS

Engenuity currently markets two broad suites of software development tools (STAGE and VAPS) that are ideally suited to help produce robust simulations for scenario generation, embedded display development as well as mission training for the aerospace, military and defence markets.


Clients such as BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and many others, have used Engenuity technology in a variety of initiatives ranging from flight simulations for  testing the cockpit controls of the US-101 Presidential Helicopter to the avionics for the F-15 fighter and B-1 Bomber.


STAGE (which includes the STAGE Scenario, Flightsim, Helsim and Simbuilder brands), comprises a suite of tools that can be used to create a variety of air and ground simulations. VAPS is used more to design, prototype and embed software for Human Machine Interfacing (HMI).  VAPS also comes in a next generation XP version used for automotive and aerospace applications.


Despite the significant success that both STAGE and VAPs have seen in recent years, the future looks even brighter. Both suites registered significant sales wins last year and will be used on high level programs requiring cockpit design and development as well as flexible and robust simulation and pre-visualization systems.


Positioned for the future

During the past months, Engenuity undertook numerous key initiatives that will set the stage for its expansion during the years ahead. For one, the company’s entire product line was re-cast, in order to ensure a common interface. The company’s simulation and prototyping software were also streamlined into coherent end-to-end solutions, which will make it easier to integrate plug-ins and partner software into the Engenuity family. This also better enables the company to position itself as a complete solutions provider. 


Partnerships and acquisitions

The last 12 months also saw Engenuity move forward with key acquisition and partnering initiatives, that will substantially improve its competitiveness going forward. For example during fiscal 2005, Engenuity acquired Designer’s Workbench, (DWB), an advanced avionics prototyping and development tool, that is currently being used by several major military and commercial programs such as Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter initiative.


Late last year, Engenuity also announced the acquisition of BGT BioGraphic Technologies, a leading developer of software for the gaming, entertainment and visual simulation market. The deal will enable the company to expand STAGE’s visual and simulations capabilities as well as providing it access to technology that enables the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) functionality in simulations.


As a result of these and other initiatives, Commune is optimistic about the future. Engenuity is increasingly positioning itself as a player in two key emerging areas: UAVs and homeland security applications. For example the company’s STAGE technology was recently used on a project by a Japanese client to help prepare responses for an attack on a nuclear power plant.


“We have more than 20 years of experience in the simulations field and our products have become the de facto industry standard in several areas,” says Commune. “But we still aren’t satisfied. We want to get better all the time, to broaden our reach even further.”


Corporate Snapshot


Company: Engenuity Technologies Inc.

Canadian Operations: Patrice Commune, President and CEO

Key Installations: Offices and distributors throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Employees: 85

Products and services: Backbone solutions software for military, aerospace and defence simulations.

Exports: Approximately 90%+


Peter Diekmeyer (peter@peterdiekmeyer.com) is a Montreal based writer







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