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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Virtual World Vendor Forterra Systems Purchased by SAIC.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post called Not a Good Week for the Virtual Worlds Space where I reported, based on other reports, that Forterra Systems had laid off some of its workforce. It now looks like the large consultancy firm SAIC has purchased Forterra and is going to leverage the 3D capabilities as part of its offerings. I think this sends a signal to both large consultancy firms that they also better get onto the virtual immersive environment opportunity

Here is the press release:


Forterra Systems is pleased to announce that effective today, all assets of the company have been acquired by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). SAIC is a FORTUNE 500® scientific, engineering, and technology applications company that uses its deep domain knowledge to solve problems of vital importance to the nation and the world in national security, energy and the environment, critical infrastructure, health, and select commercial markets.

The company is headquartered in McLean, VA, has approximately 45,000 employees and annual revenues of $10.1 billion for its fiscal year ended January 31, 2009. Forterra personnel and the OLIVE product line will be absorbed into SAIC's Analysis, Simulations, Systems Engineering and Training (ASSET) Business Unit based in Orlando, FL.

SAIC has been following the opportunity presented by the growth in virtual world technologies to support collaboration and training/learning and saw the acquisition of Forterra as an aggressive way to enter the market. They felt Forterra had by far the best technology and business model to match key customer requirements and that Forterra was addressing synergistic markets. SAIC fully intends to continue development and the commercial sale of the OLIVE platform to all interested parties – both in the public sector and in commercial, enterprise markets. “We look forward to working with current and future OLIVE license holders to support and extend the platform,” said Bev Seay, SAIC senior vice president and business unit general manager. “We see virtual worlds as the direction of the future in modeling and simulation – emphasis on interpersonal interaction and collaboration enables us to take our products in new directions, and to new markets.”

We see SAIC as the type of strategic partner that will enable us to continue shaping the virtual world marketplace and the OLIVE product line. With a complementary customer base and access to opportunities by virtue of its size and relationships, SAIC provides an opportunity for us to support existing customers as well as to work with new ones in new markets. Having the financial stability afforded by a large company puts us in a strong position to continue offering world class solutions for all our customers. Where we’re sure to expect some organizational bumps in the road typical of any acquisition, we’re sure the end result will position us strongly for the future.

This will be interesting for both Virtual World Vendors and Consulting firms.

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Lee Rushworth said...

This is yet another significant development point in the virtual simulation space. At the turn of the year, many commentators were forecasting a grim picture for simulations providers in 2010 and it seems that where many saw grim pictures, others saw opportunity and this Forterra takover here is a great example that supports a different future for immersive learning simulations.

A future that will see even more global consultancies like IBM and Accenture continue to drive partnerships with real 3d simulations companies in order to take immersive learning out into the wider, more strategic marketplace.

The truth, then, perhaps, is that the story of virtual worlds and immersive learning simulations is not coming to it's end, but is actually only just beginning.

Karl Kapp said...


Agreed, I think of what consultancies did for the ERP industry and how they drove the adoption of that software and how they are integrated into many organizations and industries, I think these types of organizations can drive virtual immersive environment adoption in a big way if they decide to offer these solutions to enhance some of their current offerings.

It seems like a good fit, time will tell.

Unknown said...

Hey Karl,

How did you get the scoop on this news flash :)?

I am glad to see that Forterra was purchased and did not go under. They have a product that has a lot to offer. OLIVE, the Forterra software package, is very robust and allows for full simulation and co-creation capabilities.

This is a tough industry and we are going to have to see some standards develop in the same way that Flash emerged as the standard for elearning development. Although is is open source, 3D Unity is looking like a contender for a standard in 3D virtual live development.

Ditto on what Lee said .. "time will tell."

Take care,
Brian Miller