The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program recently awarded $981,657.52 to Hillsborough, North Carolina-based Device Solutions, Inc. to develop a secure, standards-based, public safety one-way digital paging system. Currently, many emergency medical services (EMS) agencies rely on analog voice pager infrastructure to communicate during emergency incidents. The new capabilities will use the Advanced Television Systems Committee 3.0 (ATSC 3.0) standard, providing responders with improved pager coverage capacity, quicker dispatching, and overall improved situational awareness.
“It is vital that we develop and implement the most advanced interoperable communications technologies so our emergency responders can to do their jobs effectively, protect the public, and remain safe themselves,” said Kathryn Coulter Mitchell, DHS Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology. “We must continue to leverage technology advancements, and by using the ATSC 3.0 standard to develop a more robust digital paging system, we can address the substantial challenges of slow speed, limited coverage, and capacity found with existing analog voice paging systems.”
The DHS SBIR Program, administered by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), selected Device Solutions Inc. for a Phase II award following the company’s successful demonstration of feasibility in Phase I and the proposed Phase II development of its Digital Paging over Public Television solution. Device Solutions will develop two robust paging receiver designs using public television ATSC 3.0 that leverage open standards, broadcast and public safety infrastructure, modern network devices, and new wireless electronics—one based on a stand-alone model, and the other based on a smartphone integration that supports additional emergency information such as maps, images, and texts.
“The SBIR Program allows us to tap into the power of small business to develop innovative technology for emergency responders,” said S&T Program Manager Norman Speicher. “Developing an interoperable paging solution that has increased bandwidth, speed, and coverage will allow EMS personnel to more effectively communicate and respond to daily and urgent disaster and emergency situations.”
At the completion of the 24-month Phase II contract, SBIR awardees will have developed a prototype to demonstrate the advancement of technology, spearheading the potential for Phase III funding.
Under Phase III, SBIR performers will seek to secure funding from private sector and/or non-SBIR government sources, with the eventual goal to commercialize and bring to market the technologies from Phases I and II.
“Supporting and partnering with small businesses is key to their success,” said DHS SBIR Program Director Dusty Lang. “And their innovative technologies can play an important role for meeting first responders needs in communities across the homeland.”
For more information on the DHS SBIR Program, visit: https://sbir2.st.dhs.gov or contact STSBIR.Program@hq.dhs.gov. Visit the DHS SBIR Success Stories page to see past projects and visit our Deconstructing SBIR webinar series page for more on the program.
For more information on S&T’s innovation programs and tools, visit: https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/work-with-st.