I have read an interesting paper included in the volume 9848 of the SPIE proceedings , "Modeling and Simulation for Defense Systems and Applications XI". This paper (you can downloaded here proceedings.spiedigitallibrary.org/volume.aspx?volumeid=17674) titled "Internet of the Things, a possible change in the distributed modeling and simulation architecture paradigm" by Mark Riecken, Kurt Lessmann and David Schillero, proposes to consider LVC simulation as a type of Cyber Physical Systems or CPS in the Internet of the Things (IoT) as defined by NIST (know further about CPS concept at www.nist.gov/cps/ ).
Authors recognized many similarities between LVC simulation and IoT/CPS and propose a closer collaboration between both communities to improve both. LVC Simulation can benefit from IOT-/CPS to refresh and sustain its core technologies, because much of the technology employed at LVC simulation was developed prior to the proliferation of internet. IOT/CPS can leverage LVC simulation to experiment and test complex scenarios in synthetic playgrounds. Paper presents two specific use cases of IOT/CPS that would benefit from distributed simulation :
At a conclusion, authors are proposing to expand the collaboration between both communities using special sessions or forums at SPIE and similar venues that could evolve to permanent structures in which both communities could work together on common protocols, standardization processes, shared data models, LVC in CPS and modeling cybersecurity. This paper uses as references of the work to be done our study group at SISO for the Layered Simulation Architecture and the integration of different standards in our Simware platform.
We do support this proposal because we fully agree with the vision of the authors. Our R&D in Simware platform and our work at SISO and NATO CoIs related to LVC simulation are already pursuing this collaboration and a seamless interoperability between simulation and IOT technologies and processes. We called this vision the Internet of Simulations and it will enable the evolution of a niche technology, as it is distributed simulation nowadays to the mainstream, useful for exciting new applications as the use cases explored in the paper.
What do you think? Are you ready to collaborate with us on the future of simulation, the Internet of Simulations? If you are, please send me an email to jmlopez@simware.
Jose M Lopez
The market for flight training devices is growing, leveraged by the rising demand for air transportation and the increased request for virtual training in the military air forces. But it could grow at a much bigger pace if platforms were adopted. Training devices are still built as stovepipe and standalone products and therefore they are missing opportunities to deliver more functionality and capabilities if they were able to leverage the network.
Many industrial systems are already migrating to connected products, embracing the Internet of Things or IoT concept. As Michael Porter and James Heppelmann explained in the article "How smart connected products are transforming competition", published on Harvard Business Review on Nov 2014 : "Smart, connected industrial products offer exponencially expanding opportunities for new functionality and capabilities that trascent traditional product boundaries. The changing nature of products is disrupting value chains and forcing companies to rething nearly everything they do ...". Training devices are also industrial products and therefore they will have to evolve to the Internet of Things concept sooner than later. Market will demand not only connected training devices but also the new business models linked to IoT, as product-as-a-service or hybrid models between the extremes of product-as-a-service and conventional ownership, as for example a product sales bundles with a performance based contracts.
"Training devices are also industrial products and therefore they will have to evolve to the Internet of Things concept sooner than later"
The way to achieve this evolution in the flight simulation market is by evolving the current stovepipe training devices to connected products based on simulation platforms that allow to integrate the physical training device, composed by hardware and embedded software with software running on remote servers, owned by the simulator's provider or by external companies in the expanded supply chain that are providing specific software that increase the capabilities and functionalities of the training device.
Platforms would allow to build training devices as the integration of multiple simulation apps. In Simware Solutions, we have named this concept the Internet of Simulations or IoS. In the same way that Internet has transformed how we exchange and share information with others, and the Internet of the Things is promising to transform the way consumer and industrial devices are employed; the Internet of Simulations must unleash the real value of networked or distributed simulation.
In IoS, the stovepipe and standalone training device will evolve to a connected product that it is made up of multiple layers, some of them located in the training center of the customer and others running on remote servers. Conceptual architecture of a Connected Flight training device would be as the one shown in below picture.
"In the same way that Internet has transformed how we exchange and share information with others, and the Internet of the Things is promising to transform the way consumer and industrial devices are employed; the Internet of Simulations must unleash the real value of networked or distributed simulation"
IoS requires a new "technology infrastructure", that allows to provide training services with a hybrid deployment, combining some components on the customer facilities and many others on the cloud. This Cloud based deployment will allow not only a better maintenance and support of the training devices but also the capability to provide the same simulation functionality to different consumers located in different places and using different hardware. For example a simulator & training provider could serve the same high-fidelity simulation capabilities to a full flight simulator located in a dedicated training center in Florida and to a courseware running on a tablet that a pilot is using while is resting in his hotel after a flight in London.
Simware Solutions provides the technology and the architecture to make this evolution without any technical risk. Our Simware platform, as any IoT’s network infrastructure platform, provides the mechanisms to connect the simulators to the network and to share data between the publishers and subscribers or consumers of the data. Simulators can leverage Simware platform to evolve to smart devices that can connect to others in the network through the platform to improve their capabilities.
Simware's bedrock is its Layered Simulation Architecture or LSA. Below figure shows the layered architecture in Simware. These layers can be combined in many different ways to build almost any kind of simulation application, from simple training applications running on web or mobile platforms to complex full flight simulators. LSA is a network-oriented architecture, allowing to deploy a simulation "technology stack" as the one shown in above picture. Simware leverages one of the main data-exchange technologies in IoT, DDS to deliver real time and deterministic performance to the training device, even in a network deployment. Simware adds also compliance with HLA standard to connect with any simulation product already compliant with this distributed simulation technology.
The Internet of Simulations can bring many exciting opportunities to the flight simulation market. The technology to evolve the flight training devices to connected simulators is already in the market and Simware platform is an example. IoS will make easier the access to the flight simulation products to any type of customer, offering him new ways to experience the training. IoS will facilitate also the collaboration between the different stakeholders in the supply chain: the aircraft manufacturer, the simulation & training provider and also to many small and medium companies and research organizations that could provide its products and services embedded in the solutions of the large S&T providers. IoS would allow also to expand the applicability of flight simulations beyond training, for example to be used as test-sites for new equipment acting in this case as virtual prototyping laboratories, connected to the engineering departments of the aircraft or OEM manufacturers.
Are you ready to embrace IoS for your flight simulation solutions? If you are please contact us and we will help you to achieve it.
General Manager Simware Solutions
Sometimes, people is confused about Simware capabilities. Because Simware is compliant with data distribution technologies as HLA or DDS, some people says that Simware is another middleware. Others see the many extensions in Simware and the capabilities included in them and think about Simware as a vertical solution ready to be installed in the end-user facilities. Parts of Simware can work as a middleware or as end-user applications, but essentially Simware is a SIMULATION PLATFORM, oriented to the developer of simulation applications. Even when it is true that Simware includes middlewares and deployment tools and infrastructure, what it is important and relevant in Simware is how all the tools, middlewares, runtimes infrastructures and APIs are integrated into a comprehensive software platform.
Simware’s bedrock is his data-centric, layered and modular architecture. This architecture, named LSA for Layered Simulation Architecture, can be leveraged by the applications to build different kind of simulation applications, from simple federates to complex real time high-fidelity simulators. Our layered architecture provides a great modularity and flexibility of use.
Simware is composed by next layers:
Then, you can see that Simware has a middleware but it is not only a middleware. The middleware is only a layer in Simware. But it is true that Simware can be used only as a middleware, because of its uncoupled architecture that allows to use only the layers that are requested in each application (see the below examples)
Besides the layered and modular architecture in Simware, the other key concept in Simware is its pure data-centric design. Simware only leverages data to enable the interactions between all the entities connected to the platform. Data is used to exchange information about the dynamics and behaviors of the different simulated objects, including the interactions between them. Simware also use data to manage the execution of the simulation in a distributed environment (control of the state-machine and the clock, management of instances of the different objects, etc.). To know more about the data-centric architecture in Simware go to www.simware.es/data-centric-architecture.html
Simware architecture gives you the flexibility to use only the layers you need. In this way it is much easier to integrate third-party components that can provide equivalent capabilities to some of the features included in Simware. A typical example is to integrate a different simulation engine instead of the runtime infrastructure already provided in Simware. This case is possible in Simware and the only rule to follow is to use the provided APIs to integrate the third-party software with the layers used in Simware.
Here you have several examples of how Simware can be used in different applications. Take a look to them.
This post is only showing some of the multiple choices the developer has when is developing with Simware. Loosely coupled architecture in Simware allows to combine the different layers in many ways. Modularity allows only to use the requested layers in each integration, avoiding any unnecessary overhead and minimizing the impact of the platform in the performance of the whole product.
You can find more detail about the different layers in the architecture and their APIs in the document "Simware Resources: Understanding Simware architecture" that is located at www.simware.es/resources.html . Real uses cases about how Simware has been used in different solutions are found at www.simware.es/solutions.html
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