DHS Science and Technology Directorate's (S&T's) SCITI Labs initiative leverages cutting-edge Smart City and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to enhance public safety in communities across the country. SCITI brings together key government and private sector partners to identify new and existing technologies that both meet first responders’ operational needs and enhance commercial buildings, ensuring the nation’s critical infrastructure and those who protect it are secure and resilient.
About SCITI Labs
S&T established the SCITI (pronounced ‘CITY’) Labs initiative in collaboration with the Center for Innovative Technology, TechNexus and Smart City Works to focus on applying new and existing technologies to public safety needs, with an emphasis on extensive validation and go-to-market support through industry partners. In its first year, the SCITI Labs partnership funded development and initial testing of several prototype technologies in three overarching program areas. Moving forward, the ultimate goal is to make Smart Cities and IoT capabilities commercially available for industry, public safety and national security partners by 2020.
“Commercial First” Approach
S&T is adding value at the intersection of Smart Cities and IoT by taking a two-phased approach. First, after a highly competitive selection process, 12 performers were awarded funding in Phase I to develop initial prototypes of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), in-building sensors and a SmartHub. SCITI Labs identified new and existing public safety technologies in these areas, assessed prototype capabilities and gained end-user and stakeholder input—particularly from industry partners who are critical to bringing these tools to market.
Looking toward the future, S&T is leveraging this “commercial first” approach by working with technology innovation companies, government public safety officials, infrastructure owners and private sector investment partners to further design, develop and operationally test and evaluate these capabilities for commercial adoption. To achieve this, in coming months S&T will implement a streamlined path-to-market process focused on technologies that are useable, affordable and scalable to suit the mission needs of responders and industry.
Autonomous navigation for indoor Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS): support for indoor search and rescue in difficult environments, such as tunnels or collapsed or damaged structures, where missions are difficult and endanger responders and those they aim to rescue.
Intelligent building sensor suite (digital imagery, video, thermal or Wi-Fi finder): development of intelligent suites (digital imagery, video, thermal or Wi-Fi finder) that can be mounted on fixed indoor building features, such as smoke detectors or exit signs. This will allow building operators to improve day-to-day operations and first responders to rapidly prioritize search and rescue areas when emergencies occur.
Body-worn interoperable platform: development of a SmartHub that integrates personal area network communications with third-party sensor packages. The SmartHub will enhance emergency responder situational awareness and support enhanced mission-critical operations.
SCITI Phase I Performers
- Airgility, Inc. developed 3D printable multi-mission UAS, designed to conduct search and rescue operations in degredated environments; their systems can be used on the ground or in the air.
- CommandWear Systems, Inc. developed a situational awareness software platform designed to improve the accuracy and speed of response while enhancing responder safety. Using tablets, smartphones and smartwatches, the platform can help with asset tracking, event playback, two-way messaging, and biometric monitoring in order to improve response time and accuracy, and enhance personnel safety.
- Coolfire Solutions’ developed a platform that integrates multiple data systems and sensors and supports real-time incident management, multi-directional communication, mapping, tracking, and reporting activities.
- EcoDomus, Inc. focused on modeling buildings in 3D, using standards-based Building Information Modeling, to improve the ways buildings are designed, built, managed and retrofitted.
- Excession Technologies Ltd.’s platform offers mass scale data processing, asset tracking, real-time analytics and incorporates multiple sensor types, as well as video, photo, and audio sharing.
- Known Quantity Sensors, Inc. developed a proprietary software and IoT edge sensor platform that uses artificially intelligence-backed, image-based processing to quantify and locate human occupancy.
- Mutualink, Inc. developed a secure multimedia communications network that enables real-time exchange and sharing of any media between any agencies, over any networks and provides unified agency communications capabilities.
- Third Insight’s software converts off-the-shelf unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into artificially intelligent, autonomous vehicles. The UAVs can act autonomously to find signs of life or search out, identify and track targets of interest. Real-time video, 3D mapping and sensor fusion are used to navigate indoors and in environments where GPS is intermittent or unavailable.
- The University of Cincinnati used ultrasound and other sensors to localize, map and navigate indoor and unstructured environments for UAS.
- The University of Dayton developed an open, secure, expandable platform to connect various sensors and actuators; the platform has a base visualization system and can perform command and control operations of these devices.
- Wireless System Solutions, LLC developed end-to-end multi-standard/band wireless network solutions that provide connectivity from the macro cellular network to the end point gateway and/or sensor.
- Zello’s system is a fluid LTE-to-LMR push-to-talk solution. Their app is founded on 'live' voice and can be used anywhere in the world with a smartphone. It is a low-cost, reliable, secure alternative to traditional radios, and is also being widely adopted by the public, additionally enabling selective public communications.
Next Steps and Path Forward
SCITI Labs will launch Phase II in early 2019. Phase II will focus on path-to-market strategies for the technologies selected. These efforts will be closely aligned to DHS S&T customers from the first response community, DHS Components, and partners from the private sector. Operational tests will be conducted, providing the opportunity for continued technology enhancement, refinement, and application to customer requirements.
SCITI Press Materials
- Fact Sheet: Smart City Internet of Things Innovation (SCITI)
- Snapshot: S&T is Delivering Emerging Smart Cities Technologies to First Responders, Industry
- News Release: DHS S&T Awards $4.8 Million to Center for Innovative Technology to Enhance Smart Cities
- News Release: DHS S&T Seeks Innovators to Collaborate on Smart Cities Technologies
- News Release: S&T Partners with New Innovators to Bring Smart Cities Technologies to First Responders