Jonathan McCurdy, President and CEO“When people think about simulators, they usually think of a flight simulator.” says Jonathan McCurdy as he’s sitting at his office desk just outside Salt Lake City, Utah. “Many remember playing the PC flight simulator game that was popular several years ago- they don’t often realize that multiple industries (beyond aviation) rely on simulator-based training.” McCurdy is the President and CEO of GlobalSim, a Utah based company that has long been known as a premium provider of training simulators.
GlobalSim first began delivering simulation systems for the military in the early 1990’s. Today the company continues to sell to the military, but also sells training simulators to shipping ports, construction unions, and other training centers throughout the world. The company is perhaps best known for their high-end crane simulators. Their product line includes a variety of different simulators – from large dome-based simulators that would fill a high-school gymnasium to smaller training systems comparable in size to what you might find in an arcade.
“Antwerp, Shanghai, Lima, Marseille, Casablanca, Bangkok, New York City - just to name a few” says McCurdy when asked where GlobalSim has installed its training simulators. The company has an impressive list of clients scattered across the globe and it provides customer support to those clients principally through its home office. When asked what attracts new customers to GlobalSim, McCurdy answers without hesitation “It’s simple - premium quality in both our products and custom support. We’re the Mercedes Benz of our industry.”
The company opts not to offer “low-cost” simulations to avoid what McCurdy refers to as “negative training.” Instead, the firm puts enormous emphasis on the physical/motion components and the graphical content within the software. GlobalSim simulators provide ‘surround’ visuals and many of the simulators feature a custom-made motion base to provide accurate motion cues. The synchronization of motions and visuals within GlobalSim’s simulation is precise to give a realistic feel to the user. “We want the students to think that they are actually inside a real machine and operating it. We want to suspend disbelief.”
GlobalSim simulators provide ‘surround’ visuals and many of the simulators feature a custom-made motion base to provide accurate motion cues
Naturally, GlobalSim’s accurate training systems and simulators are appreciated by its clientele. Aside from training, their simulation technology has even been used to analyze an accident that had occurred at a client’s job site. The scenario was replicated and the cause of the accident was determined. The operators were trained accordingly to avoid such accidents in the future.
Moving forward GlobalSim faces an opportunity and a challenge with Virtual Reality (VR) technology. “We had been testing the technology for years, but the quality and fidelity of VR technology just wasn’t ready for our simulators” says McCurdy, referring to the research and development that his team conducted before releasing their first Virtual Reality simulator. “Virtual Reality had been receiving a lot of press because of its popularity in the gaming world - but our standards for accuracy in the world of training simulation are much higher than they are for gaming. We simply weren’t going to risk releasing an inferior product.”
In fall of 2016 that all changed, as GlobalSim released its first-ever VR simulator. Since the release of GlobalSim’s VR system one year ago, the company has sold and installed a number of systems to clients in Europe and North America. “Our software engineers have worked tirelessly on VR and we’re committed to staying on the cutting edge of this technology” says McCurdy. “Once you put on the headset and experience a VR simulator – you realize how this technology can be used to provide superior training experience – the realism and depth perception is amazing!” As GlobalSim wraps up 2017, McCurdy insists the company will continue to upgrade and enhance their traditional systems while offering more VR simulators. McCurdy concludes “Simulation technology has come a long ways since those days of playing the flight simulator game on your PC.”