Naval Warfare Development Command

Mission: Improve Training for Better Operations and Security

As it prepared to move into its new 85,000-square-foot headquarters in Norfolk, Va., the Naval and Warfare Development Command (NWDC) needed advanced communications technology for its Navy Center for Advanced Modeling and Simulation (NCAMS) lab. In the lab, the Navy puts its forces through combat simulations to determine where adjustments and refinements need to be made in order to improve operations and ensure the security of the U.S. citizens they’re sworn to defend.

NWDC needed the technology that would reliably support its mission to develop collaborative intelligence through training and analysis. The group turned to AVI-SPL’s Control Room Group (CRG), which specializes in the design and implementation of collaboration technology for mission-critical facilities that depend on the ability to acquire and quickly make sense of a variety of visual data.

Action: Networked Video Communications

Using advanced display and control technology by Sharp and Crestron, AVI-SPL installed solutions that are noteworthy for the collaborative possibilities they afford via manned and unmanned displays, including one-to-one and one-to-many sharing.

“In the model and simulation lab, operators can create a situation where a pilot is attacking one of their carriers,” says Brian Miller, who leads AVI-SPL’s sales to the federal government and Department of Defense. “They can talk to a pilot in one of their planes on the carrier and simulate going out and doing the reconnaissance. They can also communicate with Navy personnel at the Pentagon.”

Because of the high-priority nature of the work at NCAMS, clear, robust video conferencing and audio were essential the integration. The main entrance, tour stop areas and Network Operations Center each feature 52-inch LCD panels connected to a 1080 high-definition video distribution system.  Using a wall-mounted touch panel, operators show clients and personnel how the system can engage with any source on the Navy network worldwide and send it to any display. This is especially beneficial to the Navy as it provides a stable platform for its annual war games exercises.

The Executive Briefing Center employs a similar setup, as do two breakout conference rooms, a multi-cell room and Engineering Test Bed area. The NCAMS main lab floor is distinguished by its “ring of fire,” which consists of twenty 46-inch LCD panels suspended above a control area. Various modeling and simulation, command and control, or briefing information are displayed on the panels and surrounding consoles. Processors connect to a set of three projectors, as well as a pair of mobile LCD displays consisting of eight 46-inch panels. Both setups can display four independent JPEG 2000 video images showing the same information as the ring of fire.

In the Navy Modeling and Simulation Lab, operators showcase the latest engineering capabilities to Navy officers. Here, they demonstrate system functionality and can perform almost any naval exercise as needed, with minimal configuration required.

For multiple meeting areas of the facility, AVI-SPL utilized a Crestron PRO2 media controller to ensure convenient management of each room’s devices – including video inputs, display outputs, audio control, lighting control, and automated tour control — via IP.  It also allows for easy sharing of information sourced from the Navy network, providing situational awareness of the modeling and simulation exercises and events occurring in the NCAMS facility.

In the Briefing Center, video processors generate a Windows-based desktop across the large image areas, powered by rear projection systems.  In this 24-seat theater, VIPs can watch simulations displayed on a glass screen without the visual annoyance of bezel lines. The displays span an impressive 20 feet wide by 7 feet high. Up to eight JPEG 2000 video images can be displayed at once as NWDC personnel conduct high-definition video conferences while viewing data, live satellite feeds and other documents.

“AVI-SPL chose the JPEG 2000 format because it offers better compression quality and the ability for video to be decoded in a number of ways,” explains Miller.

Impact: A Collaborative Environment That Saves Money

Because of the integration, NCAMS is able to seamlessly reconfigure the audio and video display system to accommodate the requirements of numerous events, exercises, and briefings.  This allows efficient utilization of the space for numerous concurrent activities. The system also allows an automated tour to be developed that utilizes all aspects of the system, including audio, video, and lighting control to provide a briefing on the capabilities of NCAMS. Such collaborations are essential to the Navy’s role in remaining vigilant in the face of threats and emergencies.

The control room management suite extends the life of the solution’s hardware by adding new accelerator cards that support new and future decoding standards. It’s also scalable and easy to learn, supporting efficient decision making when time is of the essence.  The scalability gives the Navy a system they can build on and continually improve, rather than make expensive replacements.

“The Navy knows that by making this investment, they are saving millions,” says Miller.