The UK firm Daden announces that they have won the first and second prizes in two different divisions at the Federal Virtual World Challenge this year. We've covered the FVWC here before, a contest sponsored by the US Army to to solicit proposals from the general public on how to best use virtual worlds for training and data analysis.
Daden won with their entry PIVOTE, a "training system for virtual worlds – which allows training exercises to be developed independent of the virtual world – and be playable not only in a variety of virtual worlds but also on the web and even on mobile phones." You can see a shot of the PIVOTE system in action above, a simulation of an IED situation in Afghanistan.
Their second place entry was a 2D-web / metaverse device that I've seen before: Datascape. Datascape is " a virtual map showing Google Maps brought into a virtual "war room" environment where up to 50 users from across the globe can gather round and discuss what it is showing. Daden's web integration technology allows data from a variety of web and real-world sources to be plotted on the map – ranging from BBC news feeds and US Geological Survey earth-tremor data to the real-time location of aircraft flying over LAX. It's quite impressive, and has a number of applications for military, government, corporate, education and nonprofit sectors.
Congrats to Daden on taking the prizes! Looking forward to checking out the other runners-up soon!
The press release from Daden follows after the jump, including info on how to visit these winning entries in Second Life yourself....
UK Company wins US Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge
A UK Virtual Worlds solution provider Daden Limited has won first place and second place prize respectively in two categories of this years inaugural US Federal Government's Virtual World Challenge (FVWC). Birmingham based Daden entered both its PIVOTE and Datascape systems into the Challenge. The PIVOTE system was announced winner in the skills building category and Daden's Datascape was runner up in collaboration category.
The Federal Virtual World Challenge (http://fvwc.army.mil) was launched in August 2009 by the U.S. Army Simulation & Training Technology Center, in order to reach a global development community to provide innovative and interactive training and analysis solutions in virtual worlds. The challenge is intended to explore the possibilities for using virtual worlds that may have not ever been considered by the U.S. Government. The audience includes all United States Government Departments and Agencies, including Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Entries were logically divided into four categories - Collaboration, Skill Building, Instruction and Visualisation and there had been both official judging by Federal staff and an open evaluation by members of the public.
Tami Griffith, creator of the challenge, adds "Daden's submissions exemplify what we were hoping to see in the challenge. Datascape's demonstration of streaming real-time data will be very useful for the analysis community while PIVOTE goes a long way in demonstrating interactive capabilities that could be used by first-responders. We are delighted that they were in our winners circle and we expect to see a great relationship form between the U.S. Government and Daden.“
Daden's winning entry, built around Second Life®, is PIVOTE. This is a training system for virtual worlds – which allows training exercises to be developed independent of the virtual world – and be playable not only in a variety of virtual worlds but also on the web and even on mobile phones. PIVOTE was developed as a result of Daden's work on the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) project called PREVIEW with St George's Hospital, University of London. This project, which created a training system for paramedics at the Hospital won the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding ICT (Information & Communications Technology) Initiative in 2009. PIVOTE has been released as an open-source application and there are now users from Argentina to Canada, and across many European countries. Whilst initially developed for medical training PIVOTE has since been used for topics as varied as retail customer service and youth citizenship.
For the Challenge Daden put together a simulation of a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan. First the user has to navigate a remotely controlled robot through the debris to a secondary IED and disarm that. Then with the road clear the user – now playing the role of a medic – can walk down to the wrecked vehicle to treat the casualty.
David explained “The great advantage of PIVOTE is that it moves the core definition of the exercise out of the virtual world. This means that the same exercise can be experienced (at different levels of graphical detail) by users in different virtual worlds, or even those just with web or mobile phone access. This not only maximises access but also protects the institution's investment in the training, and allows tutors without detailed virtual world knowledge to maintain and even create the exercises. “My greatest hope is that this second win for a PIVOTE based system will encourage organizations around the world to download the open-source software and discover its versatility for themselves”
Daden's Datascape data visualisation environment were runners up in the collaboration category. Built on the Second Life® virtual world platform the centre-piece of Datascape is a 20m diameter virtual map showing Google™ Maps (or its OpenStreetMap open-source equivalent). Just as on the web this map can be zoomed down to building level detail almost anywhere on the planet. But unlike the web version up to 50 users from across the globe can gather round or stand on the map and discuss what it is showing. Daden's web integration technology then allows data from a variety of web and real-world sources to be plotted on the map – ranging from BBC news feeds and US Geological Survey (USGS) earth-tremor data to GPS data and the real-time location of aircraft flying over Los Angeles Airport. Additional screens around the floor-map allow for video feeds, RSS and Twitter feeds, infographics, slideshows and even collaboratively edited documents and spreadsheets.
Daden's FVWC entries both have their
own web pages at http://fvwc-pivote.blogspot.