“Quality, not quantity,” could be ITEC organizers’ new motto. The number of visitors to Europe’s largest training and simulation technologies conference was “broadly similar to last year,” according to spokeswoman Georgia Langdon, though “the quality threshold has greatly improved, with more engagement with senior and influential leaders.”
Overall, some 3,000 visitors to London filed through the hall of 140 exhibitors, of which nearly a third were first-timers at ITEC. There were 55 VIPs in attendance, up 22 percent from last year.
“One positive surprise was the attendance by senior officers and members of defense,” said retired Rear Adm. Fred Lewis, head of the National Training and Simulation Association. “Their attendance was key to the realization that there are going to be great demands for simulation and training kinds of technology and equipment. So that’s good news.”
Themes from the show included training in a climate of change, cybersecurity, interoperability and recovery from war. Lewis said he was pleased to see cyber training emphasized during a special two-day workshop.
“Cyber training is an area where we have recognized that we are severely deficient in the U.S.,” he said. “The more we talk about it at forums like ITEC, the more we pay attention to it, the more we’ll get folks into the workforce for it as a career.”
The Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization also held a workshop to encourage sharing and reuse of simulation technology. As agencies and military branches attempt to cut costs, technological interoperability will likely become more important and sought after.
“Seeing these standards organizations aligning themselves with ITEC after so many years, I think that’s a really good sign of people trying to partner more, rather than doing things independently,” Lewis said. “More collaboration is better in order to move the state of the art forward.”
Overall, Lewis said he thought ITEC 2012 was one of the best in the last five years, partially because the technology demonstrated was “leading edge.”
Visitors will expect more cutting-edge technology at ITEC 2013, which will be held in Rome on May 22-24. Langdon said advance confirmations for those attending next year indicate a sense of optimism in the industry.