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Bowser Administration Announces DCx, a Public Challenge for Innovative Solutions in Public Safety and Health

Thursday, June 27, 2019
DCx follows on heels of DC’s GigabitDCx challenge earlier this year which attracted over 116 innovators and received 21 submissions


Michael Rupert, (OCTO) – (202) 724-5178; [email protected]
Nina Liggett, (OCTO) – (202) 724-6548; [email protected]

(Washington, DC) Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) invite application developers and entrepreneurs to compete in DCx – a public innovation challenge asking how the future of public safety and public health technology will benefit from new high-speed 5G networks.

DCx follows on heels of DC’s GigabitDCx challenge earlier this year which attracted over 116 innovators and received 21 submissions.

“We want to solve real problems, we want to help our fellow agencies to solve real problems, and we want the public to be a part of that,” said Lindsey Parker, Chief Technology Officer. “Our DC values include an inclusive innovative environment that makes the lives of everyone in DC better and ensures no one is left behind.”

“Making sure that people have safe and healthy homes and communities to return to at the end of the day is of paramount importance and part of Mayor Bowser’s commitment to build a safer, stronger DC, that is why we are focused on public health and public safety,” Parker said. “So, let’s use our tech skills and work together to solve some of our toughest challenges.”

The new competition will have two phases where, after Phase 1, semi-finalists will split a $14,500 award stipend to advance their concepts and build prototypes of proposed solutions for a chance to receive or split up to $20,000 in finalist award funds. Participants will use an online challenge platform set up by OCTO to submit concepts, engage with District agencies, and even communicate with fellow competitors. DCx brings together East of the River Services, the DC Police Department, DC Fire and EMS, and DC Health to partner with Verizon’s 5G Lab, US Ignite and Mapbox to work with local engineers, developers and innovators on issues that impact every resident, visitor and business in DC; health and public safety.

“Committed to improving the public safety and public health issues in our neighborhoods, we are excited to partner with OCTO and the entire DCx team to add a diverse perspective about building technology that will directly impact our communities,” said Tim White, Executive Director of DC’s East of the River Services. “We also look forward to fostering a challenge that provides opportunity for women and people of color in the DC tech community to help us identify and solve these important issues the District faces.”

From virtual command centers to augmented reality training simulations; drone assisted disaster response to AI health screening, the next-generation of broadband, 5G, is predicted to empower first responders, health professionals and community organizations to deliver vital services faster, securely and equitably.

“The public safety and health challenges facing our city are complicated. New technology like 5G will open new approaches, like the living map we're building at Mapbox, driven by real time changes sensed in the environment,” said Mikel Maron, Community Team lead at DC-based Mapbox. “To apply new technology effectively, we need everyone from different parts of the city – residents, companies, non-profits, educators and the government – working together.”

Competitors will have access to engineer mentors and subject matter experts to advise and answer questions throughout the process. Proposals can focus on one or both challenge areas.

"We’re excited to help make this innovation challenge possible knowing that new applications will contribute to a culture of innovation and support economic development throughout the region,” said Bill Wallace, Executive Director, US Ignite. “We’re thankful for DC’s leadership and look forward to the public health and safety solutions this competition will create.”

For this second challenge, DCx is looking to empower teams with access to a working 5G node by partnering with the Verizon 5G Lab in DC. Pre-qualified teams can sign up to test their ideas in the development round at the Lab.

“Verizon is committed to expanding digital inclusion in the District, and through the DCx Innovation Challenge partnership we will help enable entrepreneurs, DC start-ups and the public to innovate and create practical solutions to improve public safety and public health in the District's diverse communities,” said Mario Acosta-Velez, Director of State Government Affairs at Verizon. “By leveraging our 5G Lab in DC, we are inviting innovators and creators from across the diverse community in DC to think beyond the previous constraints of bandwidth and latency to solve the problems of today with the technology of the future."

Access and follow the challenge at:

The award funding for DCx is made available through DC’s partnership with US Ignite and the Smart Gigabit Communities program funded by the National Science Foundation.