Iron Dev 2020 Call for Nominations

I/ITSEC is now accepting nominations for its second annual Iron Dev competition at I/ITSEC 2020 November 29 – December 3, 2020.  Nominations have been extended to September 8, 2020. 

If you are an organization with developers in the training and simulation industry we are looking for your involvement in this competition to both showcase your team’s skills as well as improve your training system development skills.  

Iron Dev is a team competition similar to competitive cooking shows, where teams will be given a challenge and “secret ingredient” to develop a training solution to improve warfighter readiness.  Teams will consist of diverse members with skills in AR/VR development, simulation networking/distribution, graphic design, simulation development, and training development.  Teams will have from September 15, 2020 to November 20, 2020 to develop their system.  On November 20, 2020 the teams will demonstrate their solution in front of a fun and engaging panel of judges in a virtual/online show.  Judges will provide the teams with additional challenges to improve their solutions.  How well these improvements are made on the time constraints will be evaluated.  This creates the stress of the “Iron Dev.”  The teams will be given a ‘secret ingredient’ on November, 30, 2020, the first day of I/ITSEC, for integration into their solution for the final show.  Then the teams will be invited to present their solutions live or virtually at I/ITSEC on December 3, 2020 to the judges to determine the Most Innovative Solution, Most Effective Solution, People’s Choice - one team can win all three categories! 

The four teams will be selected to compete at the conference and up to 5 members per team will be provided with admission to the conference at no cost.  Transportation, food and hotel is at the teams’ expense.  However, physical attendance at the I/ITSEC Show is not required; teams can choose to compete remotely/virtually but at least one member at the show is required.

The STE CFT will have observers in the audience and they helped shape the stretch goals.  There is a chance that your solution may catch their attention and they may conduct separate negotiations with your team for potential inclusion in the Technical Integration Facility (TIF) and/or Tech Grove for demonstration.  The STE CFT is very interested in something they have not seen before.  Be bold, be novel.

Team Nominations

From the submitted nominations, we will down select to the final four competing teams based on information provided.  Teams can be formed from academia, government, industry or any combination.  Nominate your team

There are no restrictions on team size or composition. 

Recommended Team composition

We envision teams capable of developing distributed AR/VR and game-based training/education systems will be well suited for this competition.  Recommended team competencies should include distributed simulation expertise, software programmers, digital artists, production, and training developers.  We are tailoring our challenge around this skill mix.

The Nomination Process

Teams will submit their nomination package via online portal. The 4 teams will be selected and notified based on the following:  1) Potential of the team to develop a distributed AR/VR training/education system, 2) team composition based on skills, 3) How passionate the team is about being in this competition, 4) the merits and novelty of their proposed solution to the initial challenge described below.

The Challenge

Consistent with the real world environmental challenge that COVID-19 is presenting us today, we are seeking solutions which enable training systems delivered to the point of need leveraging virtual and/or highly dispersible and deployable technologies.  Teams will solve a training/education/operational problem by developing a prototype distributed AR/VR training, education, or operational solution.  The solution may be an AR/VR game/simulation/simulator, AR/VR data visualization tool or a combination of these distributed online.  We will provide additional improvements to be made based on the Nov 20 demo and will also provide a secret ingredient on November 30, 2020 which much be incorporated into the solution for the final show competition on December 3, 2020.  This secret ingredient is more inspirational than a physical ingredient and teams will be evaluated on how well their solution incorporates in the spirit of the secret ingredient and provides training/education value.   The ‘secret ingredient’ to the competition will be relatively minor and focused on digital artwork.  Here are a few motivational strive goals teams could develop a solution to address:

  • Allow distributed commanders and staff to better visualize (AR/VR/MR) the terrain and their units to coordinate operations.
  • Allow distributed leaders to visualize (AR/VR/MR) data from the COVID-19 pandemic in meaningful ways to aid in understanding and decision making.
  • Allow distributed members of a team to visualize (AR/VR/MR) video feeds from drones and collaborate on search and rescue operations.
  • Allow distributed small unit of Soldiers/Marines/Sailors/Airmen to visualize (AR/VR/MR) important situational awareness information to improve operations in a synthetic or live environment.
  • Allow distributed members of a team to visualize (AR/VR/MR) and operate multiple unmanned systems (air, ground, and/or sea)
  • Allow distributed members of a team to train collectively using immersive (AR/VR/MR) tools.
  • Something we didn’t think of which you believe will move the needle in enabling AR/VR/MR training systems where and when needed.

The above are strive goals.  More is better.  The more you strive and attempt to achieve the above the better your score will be.  The more novel (not seen before) and innovative your solution is, the better.  Striving to achieve more will be rewarded.   Be bold!

The Competition Timeline

September 15, 2020  Kickoff event online.  Teams will receive the final challenge and secret ingredient. 

September 16, 2020 The teams will interact with designated subject matter experts (SME) to brief their initial concept, and receive feedback from the SME’s.

September 16, 2020 Teams develop their solutions.  They may continue to interact with the SME’s, and competition POC’s for rule clarification.  Testing with remote users is strongly encouraged.

November 20, 2020  Teams will present and demonstration their solutions to the judges in an online presentation.  Judges will score the solutions and provide feedback to the teams about their solutions.

Monday, Nov 30, 2020. Teams submit the video solutions.  

Tuesday, Dec 1, 2020 - Teams showcase their solutions to the team judges, and engage in a brief question and answer with the judges.  This is filmed and will be shown as a part of the show on Thursday, Dec 3, 2020.

Thursday, Dec 3, 2020.  This is the final show and where the teams and their solution will be viewed by many at the conference and online in a 90 minute produced show.  We will have internet available and monitors will show whatever the teams desire.  We will also have the computer connected to the audio system.  To demonstrate remote/virtual capability, participants can be remote, physically present, or wherever to be part of the competition.  We will show for the audience video of the online November 20 show.   Also shown are interviews about why a team member is a developer and what they like about their chosen career path.  Each team will then be provided 10 mins to demonstrate their solution and discuss the value of the system and how well they addressed the challenge and used the secret ingredient.  Judges will then ask questions, and assess the system.  Remember there will be entertainment value to this so expect this to be a fun and engaging dialogue with the judges.  After all demos are complete, the judges will announce the winner and prizes will be provided. 


We will have a panel of industry and government experts.  They will evaluate the following:  Technical Execution, Addressing the Challenge, Addressing the Secret Ingredient, Boldness/Innovation.  Most important factor being judged is the original thought and execution by the team.  Also remember this competition is intended to be professionally developing and rewarding. 

Tools and Software

Teams will provide their own computers, equipment, distribution hardware/software and AR/VR hardware/software.


Brian Vogt, SAIC,

Launch Pad 2020



Special event designed to provide a venue for demonstration of innovative and disruptive technologies to I/ITSEC 2020 attendees. 

Team Orlando, an inter-service military partnership in Central Florida, has taken the lead to create a forum where industry, academia and government participants can display their latest and greatest technologies to conference attendees, to include key government acquisition stakeholders, with focused presentations during I/ITSEC 2020.  The objective is to showcase innovative and disruptive initiatives that may be included in future acquisition efforts. 


This is the third year of the Launch Pad initiative.  Based on comments from key leaders during past I/ITSECs, there is a desire to create a venue to showcase new technologies that could transform the way we conduct future training.  We are seeking disruptive game changing solutions (things, processes, applications) which after introduction, make the current market obsolete and eventually displaces established competitive solutions or alternate approaches.  The new technology may be something that is in the early development stage or something that comes from a non-traditional source that has not been included in previous acquisition efforts.  Specific areas of interest are Human Factors Engineering, Measuring Training Effectiveness, and Training Delivery Systems.

The Launch Pad initiative will target both I/ITSEC attendees and also select government acquisition stakeholders.  Current acquisition programs as well as Science and Technology programs will be at I/ITSEC to assess Launch Pad technologies depending on the technology readiness levels of responses submitted.  Speed to the market is a key acquisition principle, and Launch Pad will provide an opportunity to highlight technology that may be appropriate for rapid prototyping/rapid fielding acquisition initiatives.


This venue will include a public demonstration on the show floor.

The public demonstration affords the opportunity to show case technology/processes to a larger audience, one that a non-traditional source may not normally encounter.  Launch Pad will provide a demonstration space with a 220v Power receptacle and a six-foot table.  A 50-inch monitor will be available for display, as well as two microphones (one wired).  The session should consist of a 20-minute presentation followed by a 10-minute question and answer period.  Up to ten public demonstrations will be selected.

Selected participants will conduct a public or invite-only demonstration, based upon their desired format identified in their submission. 

Way Ahead:

Participants from Industry, Government and Academia will provide white paper proposals for evaluation utilizing the NTSA abstract submittal tool at 

Government personnel will review the proposals, remove company identifications where possible, and provide the proposals to a review team for blind-evaluation.  

The review team will be comprised of a set of industry and government I/ITSEC committee members.  The invitation only demonstrations will only be reviewed by the government members.  They will select up to ten participants for the public demonstration.

Once selected, a bird-dog from the planning team will assist the participant with their plans for demonstration at I/ITSEC 2020. 

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