This weekend, the Central Florida Tech Grove kicked off the inaugural NATO MSaaS Challenge. MSaaS, otherwise known as modeling and simulation as a service, is a concept that includes service orientation and the provision of modeling and simulation applications via the as-a-service model of cloud computing to enable more composable simulation environments that can be deployed and executed on demand. The MSaaS paradigm supports stand-alone use as well as integration of multiple simulated and real systems into a unified cloud-based simulation environment whenever the need arises.


While NATO is an international organization, the decision to host the event in the Tech Grove was an easy one. According to Carol Ann Dykes Logue, co-founder and director of the Tech Grove, the idea to host a Coalition Jam was inspired by the success of the first Armed Forces Game Jam in 2021.


“A lot of the international military community has known about Orlando and Team Orlando because of I/ITSEC and because of the role that the military services play here in developing and deploying training and simulation systems across the U.S. military and foreign military sales,” said Logue. “With the Tech Grove’s emphasis on collaborative innovation, it was a no-brainer to host an event here.”


This weekend’s challenge was to “provide a simulation service that is scalable, agile, and suitable for either a training or experimentation event.”  Of the competing teams, the top three finalists  presented their solutions to the NATO MSaaS Working Group, and the winner received a $5,000 cash prize.


Topography Troopers, with members Jordan Dauble, Ryan Nelson, and John Meo, was the winner of the challenge. Topography Troopers built a program that allows users to take existing assets and convert the files to be usable in a variety of engines and programs.


John Meo, Jordan Dauble, and Ryan Nelson

Several of the teams participated internationally and virtually prepared for the Sunday showcase. While the MSaaS Coalition Jam was inspired by Game Jams, several of the participants were new to this type of challenge,  which brought unique concepts in a variety of styles.


The future looks bright for the NATO MSaaS Coalition Jam, as it will return at the Tech Grove in 2024.


“It’s a great basis for promoting MSaaS in the U.S. and abroad,” said Rob Phillips, senior technical manager and principal business development analyst at Lockheed Martin. “It was a great inaugural event including both virtual and in-person participation, and we look forward to the next coalition jam in 2024.”


With good attendance and a high level of participation, Robert Siegfried, co-chair at NATO Distributed Synthetic Training, is similarly hopeful for the future.


“I think next time we’ll try to reach out a bit more to the local industry and attempt to foster more interaction between the participants, but I was pretty happy overall with good attendance and some really good presentations,” said Siegfried.


Congratulations to all of the teams and participants who put their time and energy into developing this weekend.

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