The Vencore-IBM 2015 First Responder App Challenge was a resounding success! Many thanks to the participants, supporters (APCO and USGIF) and our co-sponsor IBM
and congratulations to the following innovative Solution Providers:
· Intrado, Inc. Grand Prize Winner for “Highest Overall Score”
· iHealth Ventures, LLC for “Best App using IBM Bluemix Services”
· LanguageMAPS, Inc. and Hitech Systems, Inc. for “Best App for First Responders”
· VTS, Inc. for “Best App using the IDEAS Application Ecosystem”
We received a total of 22 diverse unmet needs from the public safety community that providers were able to easily access in the IDEAS collaboration forum. Ten providers, almost 60% of those that reviewed the needs, delivered a solution including one team of providers who formed during the Challenge. The Challenge was a great example of how a virtual ecosystem makes it possible for responders and innovative providers across the nation to easily discover each other, work together using the advanced app developer tools available in the IDEAS solution ecosystem (IBM’s Bluemix), build and test a solution and then deliver it, all within the short timeframe of the Challenge. This was a unique opportunity for us to provide the community with a glimpse of the future FirstNet Application Ecosystem and its value in delivering public safety solutions quickly and effectively. The solutions provided are being added to the IDEAS catalog and will be available for community review and national showcasing in the coming weeks. All of the unmet needs, available in the IDEAS Forum, will be published so that providers can develop a solution for any unmet needs not addressed in the Challenge. The table below shows each solution developed by each provider and whether it is a new solution, a modified solution or one that was already available in the market.
Challenge registration was open for 7 weeks, including the 4 week solution development period, and attracted 45 organizations including 8 first responders, 32 provider/developers, 2 students, 2 content providers (including exactEarth provided by Harris, TomTom Traffic and others) and 2 FirstNet program reps. During the solution development period, 17 providers and 7 first responders accessed the IDEAS unmet needs collaboration Forum where we posted 22 unmet needs provided by APCO, South Eastern PA Search and Rescue, Atlanta Fire Rescue, NYC Dept. of Sanitation and 3 individuals that were both a responder and in industry.
Observations and participant feedback:
Outreach through the proper channels is critical for engaging both the provider community and the first responders. The value of an app ecosystem isn’t building apps, although that’s necessary. The real value is bringing the people with needs and the solutions together in a manner that makes it as simple as possible for each of them to interact. The unmet needs, crafted by the first responders themselves and often in a use-case style, gave providers first-hand knowledge of what the problem was and what they needed. The collaboration forum allowed those needs to be easily shared with providers where they had the opportunity to interact with responders if they needed to. Providers were also able to interact with each other which resulted in the sharing of capabilities, application services and API’s. The availability of IBM’s Bluemix application development services made it easy for providers to access new tools and API’s and use them to build new solutions, which were over half of those provided in the Challenge.
In the near term, the IDEAS catalog will include these solutions and others to make them more easily discoverable by the public safety community. Promotion efforts will include showcasing and the opportunity for first responders to download and use these solutions. Stay tuned for more information!