How do we increase the speed of innovation? How do we get the right tools into the hands of first responders and other homeland security operators faster? Without a crystal ball that sees into the future, how do we prepare for threats five or 10 years down the road?
At S&T, we think the answer is to bring the right mix of people together to talk about these important questions.
S&T is refining how government, innovators, entrepreneurs and industry collaborate and drive solutions to the homeland security enterprise. I have two recent examples to share with you, both of which tie into S&T’s National Conversation on Homeland Security Technology.
On March 13, we hosted an interactive workshop, “Reinventing Government R&D to Save Lives,” at the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival in Austin, Texas. The Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Robert Griffin and I led a two-part open forum conversation with partners from state and local emergency response and innovation offices and representatives from our own recently launched EMERGE! Accelerator Program. This event, which focused on wearable tech and the Internet of Things, challenged SXSW participants to think differently about the role technology plays in saving lives and consider opportunities to modify consumer technologies for the public safety marketplace.
The SXSW platform enabled us to connect with a broad range of entrepreneurs, technologists, innovators, and public safety officials. Feedback validated our belief that our business accelerator program provides a trusted mechanism for building new industry partnerships and reinventing research and development. By hearing directly from emergency responders, industry representatives gained a heightened understanding of public safety needs and were able to generate cool ideas on how wearable tech solutions might be tailored to responder uniforms.
The following week, at the International Wireless Communications Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, we asked members of the communications industry how wireless technologies can revolutionize response efforts. Through a town hall and various technology demonstrations, we gained invaluable insights into what our stakeholders—industry, responders, innovators and more—expect from S&T in preparing for the future. We know wireless communications technologies, wearable technologies and the Internet of Things will serve as anchors for delivering innovative solutions across the country. We want to part of that solution.
These conversations fuel S&T’s way ahead while bridging the gaps between the different groups involved: innovators, small businesses, big businesses, end users, and the government. We’re not only showing how to work better with the government, we’re laying out our focuses, our initiatives, and our needs, as well as linking end users with innovators.
If you’re not part of this conversation, we invite you to join. Our National Conversation is online, but we also have upcoming events where we have in-person discussion. We may be participating in an event near you.