Summit puts spotlight on Orlando's simulation industry

By Jeff Allen, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, September 22, 2016, 5:17 PM EDT

Orange County leaders are hoping to grow the $6 billion simulator industry in the state.

  • Florida Simulation Summit
  • Showcases simulation and modeling companies
  • $6 billion industry in Florida

Mayor Teresa Jacobs hosted the annual Florida Simulation Summit Thursday at the Orange County Convention Center.

EON Reality showed off technology that transports you to a baseball stadium, allowing you to take a virtual swing against any pitcher in Major League Baseball.

MLB teams like the Tampa Bay Rays use it for their batters to practice pitching.

“We’re able to literally take game film, and then copy that into a virtual environment,” said EON’s Frank Botdorf. “And of course every pitcher has a unique way of throwing different release points and that’s what’s really the key to this situation.”

The National Center for Simulation says most of the simulation technology was first developed for military operations, but they hope to change that.

“Let’s explore areas beyond defense where there are commercial opportunities to transfer the technology proven for the military into those other sectors,” said Lt. Gen. Thomas Baptiste (Ret.), National Center for Simulation president.

Other simulation technology helps doctors practice on dummies, that can simulate breathing and even form blood. It trains doctors before they get into the operating room.

“If you look at the anatomy here, you have a guide to understand what you’re looking at," said Dr. Robert Amyot with CAE Healthcare as he demonstrates a medical simulator. "This is more like the textbook image, and this is the real life. So when you have the two in parallel, it really streamlines the learning.”

More than 150 simulation and modeling companies are based in the Orlando area, along with over a dozen federal government and military modeling and simulation agencies.

The National Center for Simulation is also located in Orlando, making Orange County the hub for the industry. Companies employ 27,000 Floridians, including thousands in Orange County.