At a busy IT²EC 2024 show in London, MS&T’s Andy Fawkes and Dim Jones spoke to Bohemia Interactive Simulations’ (BISimTM) President, Rahul C. Thakkar and Chief Product Officer, Pete Morrison about BISim’s latest product, business strategy and the future of simulation and training.

There felt a renewed passion and purpose for BISIm as they showcased new simulation products, partnerships and business model at IT²EC together with the first visit to the show for BISim President, Thakkar who joined the company in July 2023.  As context to the interview and according to BISim, BISim’s software products are used across more than 60 countries with over 300 integrators/primes exploiting BISim technology.

Democratisation of Simulation Tools

Announced just prior to the show, VBS Builder Edition is a platform that supports developers create content for VBS4 simulation software. Thakkar said they were influenced by the companies like Microsoft and Amazon when creating the model of the builder tool set.  Pricing is also a key feature ($300 per developer per year was cited at the show) and Thakkar explained this is to put VBS “in the hands of every single individual … from students working on the next best thing, all the way to large enterprises and everything in between, small enterprises, individual developers … and to be able to innovate at a scale and deliver value to their customers.”  Morrison added that games engines are “fantastic tech” but can require upfront effort for military use whilst VBS Builder will give them a “head start” with its existing content and a lower cost barrier to entry.


Another aspect to BISim’s new business model is the concept of fellowship.  Thakkar described the way BISim look at the world is changing and that is now as a “fellowship.”  He told us the terms partnership and reseller were well defined but that “fellowship has a movie reference … as a team of folks who come together to solve a near impossible problem.”  Morrison added their approach to fellowship involves working closely with customers and providing tools and resources to users and “giving them that head start and then working with them in a fellowship … to help them succeed."


Rahul C. Thakkar, BISim President (left) and Pete Morrison BISim Chief Product Officer (right). Source: (BISim).

Beyond Defence

Another change appears to be their attitude towards exploiting their technology outside of the military. The company leaders see their strategy of building and supporting the VBS user community or fellowship being expanded into other sectors. Morrison said that “we also want to reach the serious games market outside defence, so this is our first serious attempt to take a step kind of sideways. So, we have all of this amazing terrain software and artificial intelligence that could be applicable for example to mining operations.”

A Focus on Standards

BISim are also stressing the importance of standards. Thakkar spoke about the importance of technical standards outside of defence saying “when I was at my startup in the past, we noticed that the customer said, hey, why aren't your standards compliant? So, we had three flagship products, all three of them became standards compliant within a year.”  He went on to specifically mention the Universal Scene Description (USD) standard which allows teams with different tools to work with the same 3-D content and told us “USD came out of movies like Ratatouille, like Coco and my friends were visual effects supervisors on those films ... and it's great for a family of use cases.”  Morrison was also keen to emphasise the role of existing standards and building on them, for example he said the company is looking to promote HLA 4 as a web architecture over the next couple of years and “we’re excited about this”.

Overall, Thakkar and Morrison provided a fresh view on how they see the simulation community develop and expand, influenced by other industry sectors and driven by new business models and technology and standards.

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