Making training simulators accessible 24/7 worldwide

Making training simulators accessible 24/7 worldwide

Interview with Corinne Mathieu, Training Engineer at IFP Training.

To keep on delivering training in spite of the global health crisis and lockdown measures, IFP Training asked CORYS to move forward the setting up of access to its simulators via the Cloud. The first trainings revealed that the simulators worked just as well as on a PC, and the change means a broader range of use cases can be envisaged.

For IFP Training, which provides training for jobs in the Oil & Gas business, the Covid-19 health crisis has been both a hindrance and an accelerator. When France imposed a strict lockdown in mid-March, it was a major obstacle: in-person training courses stopped dead. Acceleration came a few days later, with the decision to migrate all the training simulators to the Cloud. They are now accessible 24/7, from anywhere in the world with a reliable internet connection.

Impressive execution speeds and display times

“We use these generic simulators for initial operator training, unit control courses, and for learning how to use refinery and petrochemicals equipment”, explains Corinne, lecturer at IFP Training. “They need to perform at realistic speeds, with no latency or display delays. We were blown away by the performance in this respect: everything was as smooth as with conventional access using a dongle on a PC”.

Two things in particular enabled IFP Training to make the transition in just a few days. Firstly, CORYS had anticipated the transition to the Cloud, developing a dedicated web portal some months ago. Users log on to simulators without needing to access the information system: all that’s needed is an internet connection.

Secondly, prior to lockdown, IFP Training had launched a test phase with CORYS using Amazon Web Services (AWS). All IFP Training needed to do to run its simulators was to set up an account with AWS and retrieve the rights initially assigned to CORYS.

One lecturer, six trainees, six independent simulators

« We’d been trying to solve practical problems with the use of our simulators on client premises”, says Corinne. “Lecturers would bring an external hard drive, but find themselves locked out by a firewall. Or they would send laptops abroad by post, and there would be delays due to customs clearance issues... we naturally started thinking about Cloud solutions”.

CORYS’ response allows an instructor to oversee up to six trainees (or six pairs) working on six independent simulations. Prior to the class, the lecturer creates a session, logins and passwords, then selects the models they wish to use. During exercises, lecturers can view all six simulations underway on a single screen, and change parameters as they wish. “We paid special attention to look and feel; in particular, lecturers can track how each of their trainees are responding at all times”.

Lecturers quickly adjusted to the new software: after using it for two hours in the trainee’s role, they spent a further two hours switching between trainee and lecturers’ roles. IFP Training was then able to provide Cloud-based simulator training from April onwards.

“All we have to do now is let everyone know about this new training opportunity,” concludes Corinne. “This mode could also be used after training courses for practice sessions and more advanced training”.

Instead of traditional PowerPoint presentations, IFP Training is now planning demonstration sessions during training presentation webinars too.

Additional reading : Remote Simulation Through Cloud Services