Development Partnership

NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence

A software for immersive simulation of the digital information environment

The NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence (NATO StratCom COE) was in need of software for an immersive simulation of the current and future information environment for training and experimentation purposes. Together with the NATO StratCom COE we developed a simulation software in which the handling of information threats can be safely trained. The software is currently also used in our simulation trainings.

Objectives and requirements:

  • Immersive simulation of the information environment

  • Simulation of specific military channels as well as new digital challenges such as social media bots

  • Sandbox for strategic and tactical experiments

  • Protected environment that can be used as a cloud as well as an on premise application

Cognitive attacks, social bots and targeted disinformation campaigns

Dynamic developments and threats in the digital information environment also pose new challenges for NATO: for example, how best to respond to cognitive attacks such as the spread of disinformation or false narratives? In order to test effective counter-measures in a secure sandbox and train staff – especially in the area of strategic communications – the NATO StratCom COE sought a simulation platform that would realistically replicate the information environment. The simulation software also needed to map specific threats such as bot networks or so-called information laundering, provide closed communication channels and enable exercises on a large scale.

Train to deal with information threats

  • Create real-world experience through immersive simulation training

  • Increase your competence in dealing with cognitive attacks

  • Utilize state-of-the-art technology to automate the publishing of content

  • Benefit from efficient exercise management

Joint development of a next-gen simulation tool

As part of a partnership, we developed such simulation software for the NATO StratCom COE. The center provided us with specific technical and subject matter requirements to best adapt the simulation software to their own use cases. We implemented these requirements step by step in an agile process. In addition to simulating common digital channels as realistically as possible for the trainees, we also focused on developing an exercise control system that was as intuitive and versatile as possible. By using automations, for instance, we made it possible for exercise content to be published automatically by bots during a simulation. We also implemented specific evaluation methods for the exercise: e.g. exercisers can earn points by identifying disinformation or malicious social media bots as such.

Further development already planned

At the end of 2021, we completed the first joint development phase and implemented software that is now also used in our simulation training courses or can be used individually by our customers as part of a subscription. The software offers everything it takes to conduct immersive and dynamic simulation training on a large scale. In the future, we want to optimize and further develop the software together with NATO StratCom COE to deliver the best possible simulation experience in the long term.