SD Team Heads to US Ignite Summit to Advance Emergency Mobile App

A San Diego software development team with an idea for an emergency mobile app that it said would be faster than calling 911 is headed this week to US Ignite’s Application Summit in Kansas City, MO.

The team (pictured above right) emerged as the judges’ top choice among 12 pre-qualified entrants that competed in San Diego on March 15th in the first round of the US Ignite Smart Gigabit Communities Reverse Pitch Hackathon. With support from the National Science Foundation, the nationwide competition is intended to encourage developers to create “smart gigabit applications” for communities in four categories: wireless healthcare, climate action, city permitting and registration, and public safety.

US Ignite has so far designated 25 U.S. cities as “smart gigabit communities,” including San Diego, Madison, WI; Flint, MI; Austin, TX; and San Francisco. In each smart gigabit community, organizers are inviting local entrepreneurs, hackers, makers, and developers to compete for prizes by designing next-generation applications and services to solve real-world municipal problems. Applications developed under the auspices of US Ignite are available to other cities at no cost at a “smart cities app store.

The winning San Diego team—Tristen Tyler Blake, Alexandra Leonidova, and Elijah Grady—said their emergency response app “would serve as a kind of crowd-sourcing between citizens and government agencies, and greatly reduce emergency response time in every emergency category.”

Users with the mobile app (called “Tap”) on their smartphone, could alert first responders to emergencies such as traffic accidents and fires, and notify other users about road construction, broken traffic signals, potholes, and even suggest parking availability.

The team, which dubbed themselves “The Data Traffickers,” presented its concept to a five-member panel of local tech leaders and experts at a “reverse pitch hackathon” on March 15 at the Nest CoWork space near downtown San Diego.

Top honors for The Data Traffickers includes a $5,000 prize and an expenses-paid trip to the 2018 US Ignite Application Summit in Kansas City, March 26-29. They will continue work on their app as part of the San Diego smart gigabit communities challenge through June 15, coinciding with the close of San Diego Startup Week.

Teams that compete at the national application summit in Kansas City have the opportunity to win additional prizes and an expenses-paid trip to the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, in mid-November.

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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