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VRAI teams up with Microsoft to bring next-generation simulation capability to military end users

VR simulation company, VRAI, is collaborating with Microsoft to bring next-generation simulation capability to military end users, leveraging virtual reality (VR), machine learning (ML) and the Microsoft Azure cloud.

VRAI announced the collaboration at the I/ITSEC conference in Florida this week, the world's largest modelling, simulation and training event. VRAI is exhibiting at the Microsoft Federal Government stand at I/ITSEC this year, where they will be demoing the award-winning ReACT Armour Crew Sim.

VRAIs ReACT VR Armour Crew Sim won the prestigious Military Simulation & Training Award for Outstanding XR Application by a small company in 2022. The award was announced in the industry-leading MS&T Magazines I/ITSEC conference edition on November 21st, and will be available to demo at the conference at Microsoft’s booth, 1969.

The ReACT VR Armour Crew Sim increases training and repetition opportunities for armour crews, using immersive VR environments to replace the need for real-world platforms. Their cutting-edge data exploitation platform is built on Azure to provide personalised learning insights for trainees and instructors, while also decreasing the financial cost and carbon footprint of training.

VRAI Co-founder, and former Armoured Unit Commander, Pat O’Connor, commented on the collaboration with Microsoft, saying: “We built our ReACT VR armour crew from the ground up, and we know it solves a problem for military end users because we employed top tech talent and military veterans to work with front line military end users to design and build this product. Collaborating with Microsoft gives us the opportunity to get the solution into more of our customers’ hands, more quickly, solving our customers' problems and helping to better prepare troops for service, which is a very fulfilling mission for us.”

The ReACT VR armour crew sim is already deployed with military end users and allows troops to increase “hands-on” training opportunities together in an immersive VR environment, instead of being reliant on getting access to real-world platforms, instructors, and physical training environments.

The customer testimonial video embedded above describes the enhanced training outcomes the ReACT VR armour crew sim deployed in partnership with Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace has already achieved for the Irish Defence Forces.

VRAI started working with Microsoft via the Microsoft for Startups program, which gave them the initial access they needed to some of the technology and support that is critical to turning product visions into life-changing products. Since then, VRAI has built its HEAT simulation data platform on Azure. This groundbreaking platform is the foundation of all of their simulation solutions, and was developed in collaboration with the Royal Air Force, with funding provided by the UK Ministry of Defence via the Defence and Security Accelerator. VRAI is now part of the Microsoft co-sell program and plan to develop an offering for the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

Commenting on the collaboration, Gus MacGregor-Millar, General Manager, Worldwide Defence & Intelligence, Microsoft said: “Our collaboration with VRAI will enable defence customers to harness the full potential of synthetic environments and personalised training, using next-generation cloud capabilities, to meet mission priorities. The capabilities developed through this joint effort are critical to bringing the latest in commercial innovation to support defence and intelligence missions.”

BAE Systems also announced a collaboration with VRAI at the Farnborough International Airshow in July of this year. The two companies will work together on Azure to further develop a single synthetic environment to enable air, land, sea, space and cyber forces to plug in and train together in one virtual world. This is BAE System’s vision of the next generation of training for military forces of tomorrow.

Niall Campion, VRAI Co-Founder and Managing Director for Product & Customers, commented on the partnership with BAE Systems, saying: “We believe that data, particularly data captured via virtual training, has the power to revolutionise how militaries prepare for operations. By capturing, storing and evaluating individual user performance data within simulation, we can deliver actionable insights to instructors, and personalised to each trainee. Our work with BAE Systems will enable us to bring these insights right to the front line of training.”

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