Spotlight: SURVIVR uses VR to transport trainees and officers into different situations

Company name: SURVIVR
Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
Signature Product: SURVIVR simulator

1. Where did your company name originate from?

Our company name came from our goal to help police officers and first responders make it home at the end of their shift. The unique spelling of SURVIVR is a play on our use of virtual reality (VR) to create the simulator. We believe by enhancing training and allowing law enforcement agencies to practice and train for a wider variety of situations, we can increase the effectiveness of the officer’s response and create safer better outcomes.

2. What was the inspiration behind starting your company?

SURVIVR was born out of another company called Immosis. Founders Brian Hoang and Marwan Kodeih began the company while in college and consulted on several virtual reality projects spanning healthcare, education and gaming. While demoing one of their products, a retired law enforcement officer approached them and explained how he thought their use of virtual reality could significantly improve training for a community often overlooked by cutting-edge technology. The founders went to the drawing board and worked with several local law enforcement agencies to create the earliest SURVIVR simulator and scenarios.

3. What is your signature product and how does it work?

Our signature product is the SURVIVR simulator. We use virtual reality to transport trainees and officers into different situations, which are entirely customizable in real-time. Once the trainee places on the headset, the trainer can control the type of call the officer must address and has full control of the simulation while it is in progress. The trainer may place weapons, drugs and other contraband into the scenario or have the suspect have warrants. Due to the instructor’s control level in real-time, these scenario platforms can evolve in an almost endless enumeration of outcomes. The instructor can even voiceover as the suspect or witnesses.

This simulator is very different from the legacy, video-based technology because trainees can communicate with the suspects, witnesses and complainants. They can also give verbal commands and receive compliant or non-compliant responses. The level of reactivity from the system means officers now are not only training for the use of force, but more importantly, de-escalation, officer safety, critical decision making and protocol.

The system has every weapon found on a duty belt and squad car, and we match the standard-issue weapons by the individual department. The weapons are specially created to match the look, weight and feel of the actual weapons the officer or trainee would use in the real world. The detail placed on the weapons is significant in our efforts to help build muscle memory and avoid training scars.

The scenario platforms we use for training come from real situations experienced by law enforcement agencies. Our clients submit a wish list of scenarios they would like to see and provide great detail regarding the location, circumstances and contributing factors that led to the call. In other words, our simulator comes from real-life events in which officers need to train. These scenario platforms from one agency benefit agencies across the country in return.

Last, we can create custom locations based on soft targets in our clients’ jurisdiction. We create 1:1 environments to allow officers to virtually train within schools, malls, places of worship and other locations in their city they deem high-risk.

4. Why do you believe your products are essential to the law enforcement community?

We believe officers will work the way they train, and through better training, we can improve officer safety and save lives. By providing the most realistic simulator on the market, officers gain valuable experience within a training environment’s safe confines.

5. What makes your company unique?

Our company leadership mainly consists of prior law enforcement officers and combined their talents with experts within virtual reality and training. The leadership continually monitors our simulator to ensure the system is accurate and accessible to law enforcement agencies. We are often contributing unique ways to include it within each departments’ training programs for booth academies and in-service training. SURVIVR is truly a simulator made by cops for cops.

6. What do your customers like best about you and your products?

We often receive compliments on our graphics’ high quality and accuracy, and many of the users become so immersed that they forget that they are inside a training environment. Trainers especially love how flexible and adaptable the simulator is and how they can quickly make situations evolve and become more complex depending on the training intention.

7. What is the most rewarding part of serving the first responder community?

We believe our simulator and the training officers receive save lives and create better community outcomes for all. It’s our goal. It’s our dream. It’s our passion. We want to make policing safer for all. This reason is by far the most rewarding thing about serving the law enforcement community. Many SURVIVR’s employees have lost friends in the line of duty, and our work is dedicated to their memory.

8. Is there any fun fact or trivia that you’d like to share about your company?

Sometimes we catch glitches during the testing phase of our simulator. These bugs never make it into the finished product, but they make for a hilarious gag reel.

9. What’s next for your company? Any upcoming new projects or initiatives?

We are continually rolling out new features to our simulator. Stay tuned to our company page on Police1 and to learn more.

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