AEgis Technologies Group Inc


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December 15, 2014 Issue

The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information


Modeling & Simulation Organization for the DoD and Commercial Industries



Steven S. Hill
President & CEO


AEgis Technologies Group Inc


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – December 15, 2014


CEOCFO: Mr. Hill, what is concept behind The AEgis Technologies Group, Inc. (AEgis)?

Mr. Hill: AEgis is primarily a Modeling and Simulation (M&S) organization that supports the Department of Defense (DoD) and a few commercial industries. William Waite (our Chairman and CTO) and I founded AEgis in Huntsville, Alabama in 1989, and we have just celebrated our 25th anniversary in business! From the beginning, our passion was using M&S technologies to train warfighters so they come home. AEgis continues to use M&S tech to design and build systems, simulators and simulations including geospatial databases, 3D models, and games for training. Our government services include Systems Engineering and Integration, Systems Analysis, Warfighter Training and Exercise Support, Test & Evaluation, and Verification, Validation & Accreditation (VV&A) of government and contractor simulations. We are purposely diverse in our applications and technologies in order to be a full-service one-stop shop for all things M&S.


CEOCFO: What do you understand on a fundamental level about how to create training and simulation that perhaps other companies do not realize?

Mr. Hill: There is no “technological special sauce”. Our success is reflected in our ability to effectively monitor and manage performance. Twenty-five years ago, building simulation and simulators to replace live tests was hard to do in a cost-effective manner. Over time, with the increasing computer speed, capacity, support software and applications, simulation development and application has become very viable and affordable. Today, there are opportunities to replace $100M tests with a $2M simulation or analysis. Another example is using a simulation for training instead of actual flight scenarios to saves millions of dollars’ worth of fuel and helicopter or airplane operational cost. M&S technologies have continued to become more viable for many customers in numerous industries. We at AEgis believe it is just the tip of the iceberg.


CEOCFO: How do you keep ahead of changing technology?

Mr. Hill: There are a couple of aspects. From a technical perspective, our team is constantly training on the latest methods for software development, simulation development, agile processing and program management so we have the best expertise and tools to approach the market. In terms of the technological changes within the market itself, it is vast and complicated. We perform market research to classify trends vs. substantial long-term business opportunities, and we continue to nurture customer relationships to determine their future challenges. Although AEgis has primarily focused on the DoD market, (our revenues have historically been about 90% defense, 10% commercial) we continue to look for ways to diversify into private market segments. Applications for M&S is a large and diverse marketplace so, as a 320+ person, $60M small business, we must use our limited resources for pursuit of business and product development opportunities wisely. We research the best match of our skill sets and expertise to diversify into markets we are well suited to pursue and win.


CEOCFO: Where are you looking at? What seems to have the greatest potential for you?

Mr. Hill: AEgis is segmented into a Technology Solutions Division and a Defense Services Division. Our Technology Solutions Division is pursuing the gaming industry because our skill set matches up well. We can apply commercial gaming tech to improve our DoD products and we can take our DoD simulation and gaming expertise into commercial markets. We are not trying to compete with the big game manufacturers, but instead are focusing more on app development and mobile platform gaming. Other industries with substantial M&S opportunities we believe include medical, energy, architecture, large commercial development and entertainment. The medical industry is expanding the training of physicians, doctors and surgeons using simulations. The energy, renewable energy, and oil and gas segments all have possibilities to inject simulations for analysis, geospatial mapping for planning and design, or simulations to perform training. Architecture firms and large commercial project developers are increasingly using geospatial modeling and simulation and people obviously enjoy sophisticated computer games and simulations for entertainment. Our diverse past performance in geospatial modeling includes developing security for three successive Olympic Games, the NATO Summit, and a Super Bowl; many applications for the military; and recent commercial projects such as the Lendon community development in our hometown of Huntsville.


One example from our Defense Services Division includes building reusable missiles for missile design, development and flight testing. As a missile approach its intended target, a large amount of performance data is collected, the missile “pops” a chute before impact, and all of the hardware is saved and used again in future flights saving hundreds of thousands of dollars for each test event. Another example is the development of a sophisticated data translation application that enables communications between disparate systems, protocols, and architectures. Originally developed for the DoD, this technology has nearly limitless commercial potential for big data translation and support for analysis.


CEOCFO: With the example you just provided of potential markets, how do you put together the simulation? What are the steps to creating something that looks and feels just like what it should?

Mr. Hill: AEgis has a streamlined and optimized set of processes for the development and viewing of complete virtual environments. Terrain can be generated to the highest level of detail based on the source data provided. AEgis makes use of the latest in unclassified imagery sources, and rapid terrain development, and GIS toolsets. We virtually build it from the ground up through 3D modeling by making a geospatially accurate model within one foot of the actual size and location of a building, for example, from satellite imagery, LIDAR data, aerial photography, and photos. For future real estate developments or city planning, our 3D modelers essentially have to develop the site as an artistic rendition because there is no satellite imagery or other data sources to use. Our modelers are excellent graphic artists who use computer tools to render vegetation, buildings, vehicles, and other features such as lighting, roads, and even weather. The advantage for commercial development is that you see the entire structure and environment before it is built. This allows analysis to occur prior to the development beginning. Important considerations like environmental impact, subterranean requirements, power infrastructure, and digital communication infrastructure can be predicted and budgeted.


CEOCFO: Are people more accepting of simulation because they are used to video games these days or is it more because the technology is just so much better?

Mr. Hill: I think it is a little of both. Obviously the millennials and Gen-Xers are extremely comfortable with technology like video gaming, the internet, mobile phones and platforms. Because high technology is so natural to these young people, I believe simulation will be a much easier sell in the next 20 to 30 years. We can definitely do things more efficiently and inexpensively due to the maturation of technology and the number of young available skilled professionals. I also believe the resource benefit of a simulation verses an actual live event has become very evident to the military and many commercial markets. The cost savings associated with applying simulation instead of labor, fuel, and wear/destruction of resources like missiles and aircraft are huge in a live training event for example. The combination of cost savings and tech savvy of young professionals is clearly driving the acceptance of simulation.


Using the military as an example, most pilots in the Air Force just a few years ago would say the only way to learn how to fly an aircraft is to fly an aircraft. There are thousands of procedural processes and hundreds of functional buttons, switches, dials, and computer display screens in a sophisticated aircraft. Learning how to perform all the precursor activities like communications, pre-flight and post-flight processes and functions in a simulator is much more cost effective and less risky than actually flying an aircraft. One metric I heard a high-ranking Air Force General state was that “25 years ago there was virtually no training done in simulations yet today seventy-seven (77%) percent of an Air Force pilot’s training is done in a simulator”!


CEOCFO: When you are approaching a company in the gaming industry, does the history of AEgis matter?

Mr. Hill: Yes, of course. I certainly think that the work we have done for the Department of Defense (DoD) gives us credibility and documented success as potential customers or partners can see the high level of quality and functionality in our simulations and products. However, past credibility only goes so far as ultimately it comes down to a simple business case. Entry into a new industry, whether it is commercial or DoD, is dependent upon a solid business case that shows clear cost savings, resource savings, and/or competitive advantage from training improvements, visualizations, or technological gain.


CEOCFO: What surprised you as the company and industry have grown and developed?

Mr. Hill: I think in many respects, the maturation of the industry and of our company has progressed much as we predicted. We recognized when we first got into Modeling and Simulation that it was a young industry using new technology that was not well understood. It has taken a couple of decades for the industry, technology, and acceptance to mature, but clearly the Internet, increased compute speed, powerful new software tools and applications, and a sizable well trained professional workforce has made our jobs easier and the application of M&S more effective.


CEOCFO: Put it all together for our readers. Why choose AEgis Technologies Group?

Mr. Hill: AEgis Technologies as an organization is a team of highly specialized individuals with a passion for applying technology to tackle today’s tough challenges and provide solutions that will impact tomorrow with profound significance. As a small business, we are responsive to the customer and can react quickly to changes due to a flat management structure and ability to make timely decisions. Our value proposition and differentiators are agile management, unique technologies, specialized professionals and innovative approaches to solving our customers’ technical challenges. These attributes enable us to deliver our products and services cost-effectively with high quality. Our customer retention rate is outstanding, we have an excellent reputation as an ethical company that produces quality products and services, and we look forward to continuing to grow our DoD base of customers while diversifying into commercial markets.


“AEgis Technologies as an organization is a team of highly specialized individuals with a passion for applying technology to tackle today’s tough challenges and provide solutions that will impact tomorrow with profound significance.” - Steven S. Hill


AEgis Technologies Group Inc


Ms. Georgina Chapman, PR







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