St. Louis Launches Technology Integration Pilot with US Department of Homeland Security

The city of St. Louis, Missouri and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (DHS) are launching a smart cities technology integration pilot using sensor-based technologies designed to improve situational awareness and response for first responders. The Open Geospatial Consortium – an international geospatial standards network – will be the lead technology partner of the city and DHS throughout the pilot. The program will take place in downtown St. Louis’ technology innovation center, “T-Rex.”

“With this pilot, we will be able to engage stakeholders in St. Louis to test how their technology can meet real city needs,” said William Bryan, senior official performing the duties of the under secretary for science and technology. “The City of St. Louis joined the federal Smart Cities Initiative in an effort to improve public safety, among other objectives. We, at DHS S&T, are honored to work with the city and OGC as we continue to serve our colleagues in public safety.”

The Smart Cities Interoperability Reference Architecture pilot – SCIRA – will test prototypes of systems using video cameras, environmental sensors, and in-building Bluetooth beacons beginning in October. The pilot will end with live demonstrations in December of this year – with first responders using the technology to enhance computer-aided dispatch, in-building navigation and dynamic route-planning, among other systems.

The goal is for DHS to create a best-practices guide for cities of all sizes that are interested in using “smart city” technology from different manufacturers. Technologies will include those involved in assisting with flooding, structure fires and outreach to vulnerable populations. Sensors made by one company may not integrate well with those made by another, and cities often seek the opportunity to switch vendors easily.

“You’re talking about a pretty wide variety of technologies,” DHS science and technology directorate program manager, Norman Speicher said. “We’re not talking about a single standard by any regard – there are communications standards, data standards and many different elements there. What we’re providing is guidance and a best practice that can be validated and replicated for any size of municipality.”