Literally every second counts in public safety response to emergency situations. Data-informed tools to alert public safety officials to emergencies, improve their situational awareness, and assist them in making fast and effective deployment decisions that save lives, property, and infrastructure are critically needed. Public safety operations have an ever-increasing amount of live streaming data available to them from public safety communications, sensors, social media, and other publicly available sources of information. Information contained within these data can help public safety make faster and more informed decisions in responding to emergencies. However, identifying and leveraging the nuggets of critically important information in the tremendous mass of ever-expanding data in time to make effective use of it in response decisions is both an opportunity and a challenge to public safety operations.
Currently, analyzing all of this data is tedious, time-consuming, and requires significant human resources. As these streaming data resources grow, public safety is reaching a point of diminishing returns in its ability to manually monitor and analyze these data streams during emergencies since such analyses require increased time and coordination as the number and nature of data resources expand. Since time is of the essence in responding to emergencies, there is an urgent need for advanced real-time analytic tools to support public safety in wading through this mountain of data in detecting, understanding, and responding to emergencies so that precious time isn’t lost in comprehending the data.
Creating the technologies to concurrently digest the many forms and streams of data flowing into public safety operations and support the development of comprehensive, effective, and efficient real-time public safety emergency situation analysis solutions is an unprecedented challenge. This challenge requires innovations that combine the state-of-the-art in artificial intelligence, real-time computing, and high-speed communications, multimodal information analysis and visualization, decision management, advanced information visualization, and user interfaces, and beyond.
The ASAPS Challenge
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Public Safety Communications Research Division (PSCR) is launching the Automated Streams Analysis for Public Safety (ASAPS) Challenge to address this need by fostering ground-breaking multidisciplinary research and innovation in real-time emergency data analytics. The overall vision of this program is to provide public safety with advanced real-time emergency detection, situational awareness, and decision-making capabilities from many live unstructured data streams.
The overall goal of the ASAPS Challenge program is to stimulate R&D in critical technologies that will lead to future products providing public safety with advanced real-time emergency detection, situational awareness, and decision-making capabilities based on input from many live, unstructured data streams. The program is designed to stimulate research in critically important technologies such as AI-based streaming data analysis, evolving emergency event understanding, highly actionable analytic information visualizations, and highly intuitive analytics-driven response-support interfaces that maximize situation awareness while minimizing response time. Additionally, we seek to leverage cross-participant knowledge and expertise, inspire the spirit of competition, and garner potential wins at all levels – from low-level data stream analysis to information fusion to real-time information delivery and interaction.
The ASAPS challenge will play a critical role in improving public safety readiness by accelerating innovation and advancements in:
Agile multimodal analytics and fusion models for streaming data from video, audio, text, social media, and sensor data.
Reusable R&D and test and evaluation frameworks.
Open source analytics development tools and analytic solutions.
Highly actionable analytic information visualization, intuitive information interaction, and decision-support interfaces for emergency situation awareness and response.
Scalable, deployable event detection and analysis tools and methodologies.
Critical mass in R&D related to scalable real-time analytics for public safety.
Research for future analytics interoperability standards.
The ASAPS contests
This ASAPS contest 1 is now open for submissions! This contest is the first in a series of four and is designed to jumpstart the ASAPS Challenge by assessing today’s state-of-the-art and envisioning new ideas to better leverage multi-modal data streams and real-time data processing in the public safety emergency response environment. This first contest anticipates awarding up to a total of $150,000 for the most compelling ideas.
The second contest, ASAPS Contest 2, is scheduled to launch in the summer of 2020. In this contest, which is open to everyone, contestants’ algorithms will be tested for their ability to perform live, automated emergency event analysis across many streams of data flowing from a variety of sources and modalities. Potential contestants of this first contest may view their participation as preparation for the second contest.
What is public safety?
Public safety is broadly defined as the welfare and protection of the general public. Public safety departments operating at different levels of government (municipal, county, state) ensure the protection of citizens. This protection is afforded through a wide portfolio of services, including law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, and 911. NIST PSCR works collaboratively with the public safety community to identify technology requirements that are critical to advancing communications capabilities that will enable first responders to more effectively carry out their mission.
Who can participate?
All stakeholders are welcome to join our growing community of interest. Successful outcomes will require collaboration among contestants with skill sets from across many academic disciplines, sectors, organizations, and technical communities, including:
Computer Vision, Human Language Technology, Automatic Speech Recognition, Information Filtering and Retrieval, Information Extraction, Sensor Data Processing, Geographic Information Systems, Knowledge Engineering and Management/Expert Systems, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Predictive Modeling, Data Science, High-Performance Computing, Distributed Processing, Cloud Computing, Information Visualization, Augmented/Virtual Reality, Operations Research, Public Safety Communications, and Operations.
Contestants may join as individuals or under their affiliation with R&D centers, laboratories, academia, large or small business, industry, and other organizations. There is no requirement for affiliation for contestants, but there are some exclusions detailed in the Terms and Conditions. Please ensure you are eligible to participate and comply with your affiliated organization’s rules of conduct, ethics, and other restrictions specific to your organization.
Contestants from a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences, and disciplines (not necessarily all captured above) are welcome to participate in the challenge. The Official Representative submitting (individual or team lead, in the case of a team submission) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its territories. International contestants can collaborate on a team with a team captain who meets the U.S. requirements. In the case of submissions from a business or other organization, it must be incorporated in and maintain a place of business in the United States or its territories.
To register for the challenge, click the orange button below.
You are one of the early contributors to the ASAPS challenge! How does this first contest, in a series of four contests, kick-start the overall ASAPS challenge?
In this new challenge, we need new kinds of teams. We need to work with many different disciplines ranging from core AI to speech processing to computer vision processing to knowledge understanding and engineering to visualizations. The goal of these early projects in ASAPS is to provide an opportunity for folks to generate ideas, form teams, and develop joint knowledge around the problems that they are going to face and potential solutions.
Success in this ideation contest is dependent upon a clear vision of the components, platform, and novel approaches that fulfill the functions of real-time information extraction, live dynamic information fusion and representation, and evolving emergency event analysis. Contestants are encouraged to team up to build multidisciplinary teams.
Hear from John Garofolo on how this first contest kick-starts the overall ASAPS Challenge:
In what ways will public safety benefit from the successes resulting from the ASAPS Challenge?
Public safety is going to continue to be inundated with new forms of data that we can't even envision at this moment. Hear from John Garofolo at NIST on how your solutions will help to create the beginning of new research, innovation, and products leading to tools that will help public safety be more effective with an ever-increasing amount of data available to them.
Thank you to everyone who participated in yesterday's webinar. We are thrilled with the response and participation.
We strongly encourage you to begin forming your teams and starting to work on your submission. If you are looking for information on how to get started forming a team, please take a look at this post. As a reminder, international competitors can participate on a team as long as they have a team lead who is a US citizen or permanent resident.
If you missed the webinar, you can view the recording here.
Whether you have just found out about the ASAPS Contest or you are well on your way to building your team and solution, be sure to attend Wednesday's Challenge webinar.
In this webinar, you will have the opportunity to hear from the NIST PSCR team and public safety leaders to get the inside scoop on the challenge design and the opportunities for innovation to better support critical public safety needs. There will also be time to answer your questions.
When: Wednesday May 6th at 1:00 pm Eastern Time (New York).
We will be hosting a Challenge Webinar next Wednesday May 6th at 1:00 pm Eastern Time (New York). Register Now -->
In this webinar, you will have the opportunity to hear from the NIST/PSCR team and public safety leaders to get the inside scoop on the challenge design and the opportunities for innovation to better support critical public safety needs. There will also be time to answer your questions.
One of the experts you will hear from is John Garofolo. Watch the video below to hear what the objective is of the ASAPS Challenge.
We were able to work with HeroX to draft challenge guidelines, promote the challenge to a targeted audience of interested parties, and ultimately draw a crowd of innovators from across the globe to submit proposals to address our challenge. We were quite satisfied with the number and diversity of both individuals and proposals that the challenge drew.