The Center for Innovation Technology (CIT) announced a collaboration with George Mason University through a four-year, $19 million contract awarded to CIT by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to continue research into smart building technologies that can help first responders save lives and improve public safety.
Those technologies were on display at Eagle Bank Arena on Mason’s Fairfax Campus on November 18, in a first-of-its-kind operational test, which included local fire, EMS and law enforcement teams undergoing an active threat training exercise to help better understand how technology might enhance public safety and response effectiveness in emergency situations.
Approximately 70 first responders, law enforcement personnel and volunteers participated, along with Mason researchers and leadership, the CIT-led team of technology innovators, and Virginia political and business leaders.
The technologies involved in the training included sensors and displays from a variety of technology innovators, designed to improve the operational and energy efficiency of the arena, enhance comfort and provide additional services to patrons, such as apps that can tell them the length of concession lines. Should an emergency occur these same sensors can be available to help responders more rapidly determine the location and type of emergency, help find victims more quickly and, ultimately, save lives. Key technology innovators include Mutualink, developer of the core IoT infrastructure, DataKwip providing the analytics platform to improve building operation on a daily basis, and EcoDomus, developer of a 3D digital twin visualization of the Eagle Bank Arena.
“Smart building technologies need to be tested and evaluated by first responder teams and their leadership to provide direct input related to the viability and trust of current and future systems,” said Brenda Bannan, co-director of George Mason’s new Center for the Advancement of Human Machine Partnerships (CAHMP).
“CIT is pleased to be at the epicenter of facilitating smart technologies, not only in the Commonwealth of Virginia but across the nation,” CIT CEO Ed Albrigo said. “We are proud to enable commercialization, funding and deployment of these technologies. Smart innovations are an incredible opportunity for the Commonwealth and beyond. There is a tsunami of innovation happening in smart communities, and the Internet of things and smart buildings are a large part of that wave.”
Under the new four-year contract awarded to CIT, Mason researchers will work directly with CIT and SCITI Labs, conducting cycles of research and evaluation related to these smart technologies.
“This effort is a great example of collaboration between Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology and the commercial innovation community,” said Bill Bryan, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology in the Department of Homeland Security. “The SCITI Labs ‘Commercial First Innovation’ approach rapidly brings the power of new industry partners to some of the most challenging problems of the Department of Homeland Security enterprise.”