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Five organisations selected for the first stage of Gov Tech Challenge Competition

11/03/2019 11:00

Five organisations have successfully progressed to the first phase of the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) Gov Tech Challenge Competition.

With the ambition to develop location tracking technology, in order to keep firefighting crews safe within buildings and structures, each organisation has been awarded up to £50,000, including VAT, to take existing technologies and combine them to develop a solution which can be used by all emergency responders at live incidents. 

The application process for the Gov Tech Challenge Competition commenced on 15th October 2018 and ran until 21st November. On Monday, 4th March 2019, Deputy Chief Fire Officer Rob Quin formally awarded contracts to five organisations to participate in the first phase of the competition.

The successful applicants are: Greeve Ltd, Brandwidth Ltd, STS Defence Ltd, Oxon Tech Ltd and DIREK Ltd.

This first phase of the competition will run for 3 months before the field of competitors will be narrowed down to two organisations. The two successful organisations will then proceed to the second phase of the competition and will be eligible to apply for up to £500,000, including VAT, and will continue to work with MAWWFRS for the following 12 months to develop this ground-breaking technology.

The Gov Tech Challenge Competition, to enable real-time tracking of Firefighters within buildings and structures, is set out in 4 parts.

1.How can we enable instantly deployable real-time tracking of Firefighters within buildings and their proximity to prevailing hazards at previously unknown locations?

2.How can we deploy mobile technology to allow the tracking of Firefighters which can instantly create a ‘digital network’ to share information at all incident locations?

3.How can we provide a software solution which improves the way we collect and share information with other Emergency Responders and partner agencies?

4.How can we present a real-time 3D map of operational environments, using virtual and augmented reality technologies, to enhance operational safety and post-incident review?

Group Manager Steve McLinden, T20-Digital Programme Manager for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said, “MAWWFRS are extremely impressed with the quality of the 49 applications received for the challenge. The five companies selected have done extremely well in offering innovative but realistic solutions to enable tracking of firefighters within buildings at operational incidents. As the challenge owner, I am looking forward to working in partnership with the successful companies during the first phase of the challenge. I am confident MAWWFRS will be able to pioneer the development of this important safety enhancement for our firefighters and the wider first responder community with the continued support of the GovTech and SBRI teams.”

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Rob Quin said, “This is an exciting and innovative journey that we as a Fire and Rescue Service are embarking upon. The safety and wellbeing of our firefighters are paramount.  I’m delighted, therefore, to be working with the Small Business Research Initiative and GovTech Catalyst to encourage industry experts to further enhance the level of protection that we provide to these brave firefighters.”

Andrew Ayling Head of R&D and CTO, Brandwidth Ltd said, "Brandwidth is delighted to be partnering with Mid and West Fire and Rescue Service to develop an exciting new innovation – leveraging AR technology to pinpoint firefighter locations in emergency situations.  Our team specialise in delivering practical yet transformation answers for our clients through a combination of creativity, technology and data, that in this instance will serve to enhance the safety of firefighters and first responders, whilst improving their ability for optimum performance in the most challenging of environments."

FiRST – Firefighter Rescue & Support Technology ® Business Development Manager, Robert Matthews, at STS Defence said “We applaud MAWWFRS for this initiative for the development of a solution for Location Tracking Technology to increase firefighter safety and welfare. The support provided by Gov Tech and MAWWFRS will help STS Defence Research and Technology team work with our technology partners, alongside the other four successful winning teams, to ensure a successful outcome for MAWW to the next phase, leading to a National and International success story.”

Click here to view a video of an overview of the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service GovTech Catalyst Competition

For further information, regarding the GovTech Catalyst innovation challenge, please follow this link