Last year, the Smart City Challenge sent a shockwave of excitement among city governments as the U.S. Department of Transportation dangled $40 million to the city with the most inspiring “smart” vision for its future. Ultimately, Columbus, Ohio emerged as the Smart City winner of that contest.
This year, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is doing the same for the public safety sector via its Public Safety Communications Research Division. The PSCR is awarding a $30 million grant as part of its Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program.
The grant is open to “academic and industrial researchers (in both technology and human/social areas), public safety agencies, and product or system developers.”
In an interview with PSCR Director Dereck Orr, FirstNet Chief Technology Officer Jeff Bratcher highlighted the underlying mission of the grant program.
“The idea behind this is that we want to help public safety envision what the future looks like for them. Not two years or three years from now – but what does 10 years or 15 years look like for you? For example, what does it look like for you to really be able to have the type of location-based services that you would have if you could have it any way you want?” said Bratcher.
For this first grant program, NIST is specifically “looking at the lanes of location-based services, mission-critical voice and analytics.”
Submissions for the accelerator program are due by Feb. 28.