Title: Presagis: The forefront of modeling and simulation technology

Sub-title: The combination of four software developers has provided aerospace and defence players access to an integrated suite of COTS modeling and simulation tools.

 

Robert Kopersiewich flipped briskly through a PowerPoint presentation that detailed his company’s progress, the advantages of using commercial off the shelf products and the simulation software developer’s latest offerings. Yet even Kopersiewich’s fast pace could not mask his pronounced enthusiasm.  

 

“I have given this presentation dozens of times,” admitted Kopersiewich, Presagis Inc.’s vice-president of product management and business development, with a laugh. “But I still get exited about the immense possibilities that our software applications provide aerospace and defence industry players.”

 

Kopersiewich isn’t joking. Presagis sprang from the combination of four software development groups -- CAE’s commercial off the shelf division, Engenuity Technologies, Terrex and Multigen-Paradigm – all of which were leaders in their respective fields. Kopersiewich is convinced that the new company, which, though owned by CAE, operates as a fully autonomous subsidiary, provides an unparalleled value proposition.

 

“When I started in this industry, software providers tended to excel in developing one particular application, whether it was a terrain modeling tool, a visual systems scenario builder, a synthetic environment creator or any one of several other applications,” said Kopersiewich. “But today, Presagis provides customers with an integrated suite of software solutions which can handle all of those tasks.”

 

Simulation software and defence force training

The deployment of NATO forces in Afghanistan and of a broad coalition of countries in Iraq, have more than ever convinced defence industry planners of the crucial role that simulation software can play in training personnel and preparing them for specific operational tasks. There is now a growing realization among defence industry stakeholders that gains from those applications are not just limited to increased efficiency and effectiveness – they also translate into lives saved.

 

Few organizations are more aware of this than the United States Air Force, whose Distribute Missions Operations Center (DMOC) has been using Presagis’s software to develop and support tactical battle space events since 2001.

 

Presagis’s STAGE product, which enables non-programmers to build scenarios by positioning forces, creating routes and waypoints and assigning tasks using simple point and clicks, plays a key role in the U.S. Armed Force’s Virtual Flag training and testing exercises. Like many commercial off the shelf software applications, STAGE software offers users several advantages ranging from standardization of skills sets and training manuals, to a reduction in development costs.

 

The software comes in particularly handy in helping set up the Virtual Flag exercises. These events, which are conducted four times each year, put hundreds of Army, Navy and Marine personnel through sophisticated real world scenarios involving both major combat operations and pre-deployment training. According to Captain d’Artagnan R. de Anda, DMOC’s assistant director for operations: “(Their) intrigue is in the sheer size of the combined fight we generate. Our development shop can create simulations for just about anything.”

 

That said, despite Presagis’s COTS software’s importance in the overall picture, DMOC, (being a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces), naturally had ideas of its own regarding customization requirements that it would like to see. As a result, during this particular mandate, Presagis’s consultants played a key role both in providing DMOC personnel their requested upgrades and in supplying best practices training and guidelines so that they could do further customization on their own.

 

An integrated software provider

Presagis’s contributions to the U.S. Air Force’s training and testing initiatives are not unusual, says Patrice Commune, the company’s president. “Our goal is to be a continuing dominant force in the production of high quality simulation, training and visualization systems for the defence and aerospace industries and to broaden our technologies for use in other sectors as well.”

 

Commune defines the COTS developer’s mission broadly: “We want to provide our customers with the tools and support to enable them to create, train, simulate and visualize,” says Commune.  “The end users of this software are limited only by the ability of content creators to dream up new applications.”

 

That said, so far, it appears that Presagis customers’ ability to dream up those new uses are quite substantial: the company now has more than 1,000 customers in 40 countries including most of the world’s largest military contractors. Its high profile clients range from Lockheed Martin, to Boeing, Airbus and BAE Systems.

 

Modeling, simulation and embedded graphic displays

According to Kopersiewich, Presagis’s commercial off the shelf products can be broadly divided into two broad groups: modeling and simulations software and embedded display graphics. “We provide a truly unified and integrated set of products, that offer plug and play functionality, as common graphical user interface and which support open standards such as CIGI, DIS, HLA and whatever others that are practicable.”

 

Although STAGE and VAPS, (a human-machine interface (HMI) development software) were for a long time Presagis’s flagship products, in recent years the company’s offerings have broadened substantially.

 

Presagis’s Creator, which facilitates the creation of optimized high-fidelity real-time 3D content for use in visual and urban simulations, the company’s Terra Vista terrain database creator and Vega Prime, which facilitates the creation and deployment of visual simulation applications, have all seen significant growth.

 

Much of the continuing increased interest in Presagis products has been due to the synergies created through the leveraging cross-company knowledge sets and skills from the individual specialized founder software development houses, says Kopersiewich, a trend that has been enhanced by the fact that the enhanced modules increasingly work better together.

 

“The addition of a graphical user interface that is common to all our tools, as well as the availability of unified support, has made it easier for programmers to encompass new features quickly and easily into their projects,” says Kopersiewich. “We offer a truly unified and integrated set of interoperable, “plug & play” products.”

 

With such a broad range of offerings, it should come as no surprise that Presagis continues to log impressive contract wins with high profile partners. For example last month the company announced that the Israeli Air Force would use Presagis COTS software to develop its F-16I flight and system development training tools. And later that month, Raydon Corporation confirmed that it would use Presagis’s artificial intelligence (AI) solutions in order to develop dynamic, immersive, training scenarios to produce military convoy driving scenarios.

 

Research and development, new product up-grades

Ironically, as exited as Kopersiewich is about Presagis’s suite of modeling and simulation products, he is even more optimistic about the company’s future prospects.

 

“Like many companies these days that supply aerospace, defence and technology players, we are investing significant resources into research and development. In particular, we want to ensure that future product releases and upgrades are more robust, functional and easy to use,” says Kopersiewich. “The easier off-the shelf modeling and simulation tools are to use, the more people will have access to them and the more applications that they will be able to develop. That way, everybody wins.”

 

Company snapshot:

 

Name: Presagis Inc.

Locations: Montreal Canada, Dallas USA, Vélizy France, as well as a vast distributor network

Key competencies: Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) modeling and simulations software

Key products: STAGE, VAPS XT, Terra Vista, Creator, Vega Prime

President: Patrice Commune

Number of employees: 200

Phone: 1-800-388-0779

Internet: www.presagis.com/

 

 

Peter Diekmeyer (peter@peterdiekmeyer.com is Canadian Defence Review’s Quebec correspondent.

 

 

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