Operation virtual rescue with Virtual Marine

Transcript – Operation virtual rescue with Virtual Marine

I'm Randy Billard, I'm the president and CEO of Virtual Marine.

We're a Newfoundland-based company. We’ve been building training simulators to prepare people for offshore emergencies. Our job is to train people so they're prepared for emergency situations and for operating harsh conditions.

We had first prototypes of our products. We had a fast-response boat simulator that we built knowing that it had a particular use in search-and-rescue training. And we needed the first user to validate that we were building the right thing.

So through Innovative Solutions Canada and their programs, we were able to secure a relationship with the Canadian Coast Guard. And they became the first tester of our fast response boat simulator, which is used in search and rescue training and to teach people how to operate a boat before they actually get on it.

So when we were crafting not just our proposal, but what we hoped, aimed to get out of that program, the test program, we worked with the Coast Guard to say, here's what we'll give you. Here's what we expect you to do when we give it to you, in terms of a test program.

Canadian Coast Guard saw immediate value in it, but also said, you know, you can make it a lot more valuable to us if you just do these other features. Like add more radar features, add some more scenarios for search and rescue operations and whatnot, add some basic training programs. And by the time we had our proposal approved, we had shaped with our user something that was more highly valuable for them.

So in shaping a technology based on the user's needs, and where do you see it fitting into the training program, we knew once it came off our production line that it was gonna be used. And that's exactly what happened with the Canadian Coast Guard. They've been a user of our simulators ever since.

The latest was a specialized product that was designed for their operations in ice. So we have a simulation right now where you start off in St. John's, you go all the way to Nunavut, and you experience every ice type on the way. The Canadian Coast Guard has been using it, ran their first product programs over the last couple years. They've seen an incredible value for people who are practicing in ice for the first time, and how much your skills go up just in a few hours of practicing in ice.

Another key benefit of this program is if it's tested in the Coast Guard, it can be used by other government organizations like the Canadian Navy, for example, and they don't have to go through the same procurement analysis that they would have to with a new vendor. And knowing that we were part of a supply chain where all they had to do was select us, of course gives us a huge tremendous advantage in Canada.

We're also a worldwide company. We have 120 simulators in the field right now. They go as far as Australia. And each one of those simulators has “Built in Canada” on its label. And we're very proud to say that if you're getting a Canadian-built solution that's built for ice and built for harsh environments, we guarantee it's the best in the world.

Virtual Marine’s president and CEO Randy Billard was searching for a user to validate their offshore training simulator prototypes. Leveraging the support of the Innovative Solutions Canada program, Virtual Marine forged a strategic partnership with the Canadian Coast Guard. Through this collaboration, Virtual Marine incorporated recommended features and fine-tuned their proposal to align with the Coast Guard’s unique design requirements. Their latest product is designed to immerse users in realistic training operations, honing their skills in navigating through icy waters. They can practice virtually navigating from St-Johns to Nunavut! With over 100 simulators in use globally, Virtual Marine is revolutionizing the world of maritime safety.

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