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LINE’s iPad app wows the crowds at ITEC 2010

This blog first appeared on the LINE website on June 2nd 2010

Keith Downes, Director, Defence Lead, assesses LINE’s presence at the largest Defence Training and Simulation Conference and Exhibition in Europe.

LINE has been exhibiting at ITEC, Europe’s largest Defence Training and Simulation Conference and Exhibition, for five years now, and I can honestly say that this was our busiest and best year so far. There is a lot of excitement and interest around mobile learning in Defence at the moment, and LINE was in a position to be able to show some cutting-edge examples; showcasing course content that we have developed for the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and on a brand-spanking-new iPad.

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On all three days of the exhibition, we were giving demos of our award-winning Cultural Awareness programme and our Vehicle Maintenance Support program for service engineers working on armoured support vehicles, which we’ve recently created for the iPhone and iPod Touch respectively. Perhaps the star of the show, however, was the Fire Control Orders app for Army gunners and observers on the iPad.

We were particularly proud to have army personnel from the Royal School of Artillery helping us with the demonstrations. Heartfelt thanks are due to Major Rich Gill, DTraining, Training and Development Branch, SO2 Learning Technologies Design and Development, as well as WO2 Charlie Lewis and WO2 Nathan Stevenson, who were with us on all three days of the show. There is nothing like seeing the potential of m-learning demonstrated by those who actually use it, rather than civilians like ourselves.

(It should be said, however, that serving beer to the thirsty masses, as we did on Wednesday afternoon, didn’t exactly depress our footfall!)

LINE representatives conducted two conference talks during the show. Lead Consultant, Steve Barden, hosted a well-attended session under the theme, ‘Military Transformation and its Inherent Challenges’, which examined the organisational, cultural and technical issues involved to achieve success.
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Sean Nugent, Account Manager at LINE, spoke at the Innovations Showcase in the main hall during what has traditionally been a difficult-to-fill slot, yet still managed to attract a strong crowd for his animated talk on 21st century learning with mobile devices – more evidence that this really is a hot topic!

ITEC is a truly international event nowadays and I noticed more enquiries from US contractors this year. Again, mobile was the driver. LINE has a relatively long history in mobile learning, having been creating projects on mobile devices since 2001 when we undertook commissions for >Palm in Santa Clara, USA. International organisations are aware of our track record, and were keen to see our work on the iPad and other mobile devices.

I’m in no doubt that the recent recession has contributed to a more cautious, cost-saving approach from the defence community around the world. However, LINE’s success at creating flexible, innovative learning solutions puts us in a good position to help in driving new efficiencies with the help of technology. Mobile Tech in particular – from the evidence of this show – is seen as having far too much potential to be put on the back-burner any more.