This week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) evaluated a suite of in-building sensors developed through the Smart City Internet of Things Innovation (SCITI – pronounced “city”) Labs effort during a live active shooter exercise at George Mason University’s (GMU) Eagle Bank Arena. The event was the culmination of a two-year partnership with the Center of Innovative Technology (CIT), aimed at advancing smart technologies with DHS stakeholders.
Hosted by GMU, CIT, and Smart City Works, the exercise demonstrated how smart building technologies can inform daily operations and improve public safety and response effectiveness in emergency situations. SCITI Labs performers from EcoDomus, Inc.; Mutualink, Inc.; and Datakwip Holdings supported the deployment and test of Wi-Fi detectors, blue force tracking, LiDAR occupancy detectors, particulate and environmental sensors, and 2D/3D visualization tools. All of this information was pulled together into an integrated sensor platform that supported facility analytics and automated alerting.
Hundreds of first responders, researchers, and volunteers participated in this large-scale effort along with technology innovators and Virginia political and business leaders.
“This event demonstrates what homeland security research and development is all about: bringing operational users together with academia and public and private sector partners to invest in technologies that keep our citizens safe,” said William N. Bryan, DHS Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Undersecretary for Science and Technology.
“Virginia is proud and honored to host and participate in the SCITI Labs program. Given the number of emerging threats and challenges our public safety officials face on a daily basis, we must seek out new technology to help better protect our communities,” said Brian Moran, Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security. “This program highlights the collaboration between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Center for Innovative Technology, and our first responders. The rapid development, implementation, and testing of new technologies, such as the building sensors and connected technology seen demonstrated at George Mason University, will greatly assist our efforts to better protect our public.”
Mr. Bryan extended a challenge to event participants asking, “How can we move these capabilities into the mainstream of critical infrastructure to give universities and schools the tools necessary to prepare for and respond to incidents, natural or manmade?” Mr. Bryan also announced the follow-on Commercial First Innovation contract with CIT, with a ceiling of $19M and adding GMU as a new part of the team, that will build upon this innovative research approach to address more challenging problems for homeland security stakeholders.
The SCITI Labs team will continue to work with these industry partners, as well as government agencies, public safety officials, infrastructure owners, and private sector investment partners, to further design, develop, and operationally test and evaluate these capabilities to ready them for adoption.