First responders have one of the most challenging jobs and are on the front lines keeping our communities safe. They already carry heavy and cumbersome equipment, so we know they are looking for new technology they can wear or that could be integrated into their existing gear. At the same time, the private sector is making advances in wearables that we can capitalize on.
That is why we are focusing our EMERGE Accelerator Program for a second time on wearable technology. This program brings together entrepreneurs, industry partners, technologists, investors, and the public sector to work in concert to find breakthrough solutions.
We announced the EMERGE 2016: Wearable Technology topic in August and I am excited by the response we received. With our partners, we evaluated more than 260 startups and worked with more than 200 accelerators, incubators, and university partners across 149 cities. We selected 10 startups to be part of this year’s program: Augmate, CommandWear, HAAS Alert, Human Systems Integration, Lumenus, LuminAID, Pear Sports, Six15, Vault RMS, and Visual Semantics.
Each of these startups is focused on engaging with first responders, strategic industry partners, and investors. All 10 startups are working on solutions that can help the Responder of the Future. For example, one of the companies is developing LED lights for responder uniforms and gear that change colors to indicate vital health information like oxygen levels. Another designed software that will allow first responders to quickly assess and react to situations in the field using real-time facial recognition.
We had a tremendous response and I personally want to thank each of the startup companies that submitted a proposal. Your ideas were not only innovative, but also inspiring for where we are taking wearables for first responders!
With our selected companies, we are already hard at work. Just last week, I spoke at a two-day interactive session with two dozen first responders, several homeland security personnel, and EMERGE partners. There was tremendous value in bringing these two groups together. First responders got a chance to see the technology first hand and share their feedback, and the startups got a chance to hear about a day in the life of a first responder.
While much work needs to be done, I am excited about the work we are doing on EMERGE!