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I/ITSEC 2012 Rewind – Where’s the Innovation?


I really look forward to my annual visit to the I/ITSEC conference in Orlando.  However, after two days walking the exhibition floor I feel somewhat unsatisfied.

The attendance felt sparse compared to prior years.  The booth spacing a little further apart (my perception; not confirmed) couldn’t mask the empty real estate on the ends of the exhibition hall.  Whether budget pressures or otherwise, it seemed like less folks were walking the floor.  Gossip was that the DoD withheld travel approvals until the last minute.

From a technology perspective, the innovations were incremental since last year.  However, there were some clear movers and shakers on the innovation side – 3D TV simulation that had sensor gloves enabling a tactical component and some truly immersive gaming for the iPad Mini – but nothing jaw dropping.  There was thematic push around “mobility” but mobility has many different flavors ranging from connected, streaming, immersive and interactive handhelds to more vanilla paper manuals and graphics on a tablet.  It left me asking, what is true mobility from a value driver and sustainable competitive differentiation perspective?

To the positive, gaming was everywhere!  This make sense given the nexus of US culture and obsession with video games and the mission needs for training and simulation.  In a number of solutions the virtual game and training controllers were commercial off the shelf ones we all have for home computers, XBOX’s etc.  And wow have the virtual training games improved.  They’re so fast, comprehensive, and realistic.  It’s not surprising that users really gravitate toward them. 

Overall, the innovations of past years – tablets, gaming, 3D TV – have had only a short time from competitive edge at introduction to becoming more mainstream / commoditized.  Thinking ahead, now more than ever will innovation be necessary by companies looking to truly differentiate themselves in the training and simulation marketplace.  Moreover, the winners will need solve the challenge of scale.  The market remains highly fragmented – many purchasing entities and even more different solutions.

Until next year….

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