Overheard: Word of the Day

Mar 23 2009   3:04PM GMT

Overheard – Military COTS are not for sleeping

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

David Braue Military training rooms that once would have housed purpose-built, machine-based systems now resemble internet cafes, with up to 100 standard desktop PCs in a line networked together to let trainees explore the boundaries of collaborative training scenarios.

David Braue, Behind Pretend Enemy Lines

Every once in awhile I come across some marketing term that pushes some button and I feel compelled to talk to a vendor and ask “What were you thinking?”  Case in point: Microsoft’s Hailstorm.  (Ironically, Hailstorm was probably Microsoft’s first venture into what we now refer to as cloud computing.  I have to say, they did a much better job picking their new name, Azure.  I’d rather have blue skies than hail stones ruining my garden and denting the hood of my car any day.)

But I digress.

Last week when I was posting a new BigDog video from Boston Dynamics,  I went to their corporate website and saw a large graphic image for their military simulation COTS.  (COTS is just an industry term for custom commercial-off-the-shelf software.)

Now, my son just entered the military and one of the things I’m interested in learning more about is how the military is using virtual worlds and simulation games for training.

I’ve seen some video clips of how the military has been using video games and 3-D simulation in centers called The Army Experience, so when I saw that Boston Dynamics had developed a COTS for training, my first thought was to read more. I was actually kind of excited.

That is, until I saw that their product is called DI-Guy.

What an unfortunate name. It pushed some button deep inside me that I didn’t even know I had.

I wrote to the company, asking why they would name their military simulation COTS DI-Guy (DIE GUY???) and a very nice man named Marc Raibert wrote back — almost immediately — to inform me that the product’s name is pronounced D. I. Guy and that D-I is a military acronym for dismounted Infantry.

I understand the name better now — but I still don’t like it.

The military is notorious for its use of acronyms.  I find it hard to believe that the only good fit was DI. But what do I know? I’m just a mother.

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