DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer



A public innovation challenge addressing public safety and health in the District of Columbia leveraging the availability of 5G capabilities

This challenge is closed

Live Demo Showcase at Futures Forum

This challenge is closed



The DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) and partners, invites local developers, engineers and innovators to think about how the future of public safety and public health technology will benefit from 5G.

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



DCx is a two-phased, reverse pitch competition in which competitors will submit proposed proof-of-concepts to develop and demonstrate gigabit app solutions that address public safety and/or public health challenges. In phase two, semi-finalists will advance their concepts and build prototypes of proposed solutions for a chance to receive one of two final awards. 

  • Phase 1 Proof of Concept: Up to four (4) semi-finalists will be invited to advance to phase 2 and will split $14,500 in award funds to reimburse costs associated with phase 1.
  • Phase 2 Prototype: Finalist(s) will receive or split $20,000 in award funds.

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. 

Inclusive Innovation

We want to ensure that we are solving real problems and are doing so with equity and accessibility in mind. DC values an inclusive environment that makes the lives of everyone in DC better and ensures no one is left behind.


What is a Gigabit Application?

With the emergence of gigabit services to the home and 5G wireless networks, capabilities enabled by such speed will rapidly become more main-stream. A next-generation or “gigabit” application is a high-performance application that leverage the power of gigabit-speed networks to address real-world challenges. Gigabit applications often rely on complex interactions of Internet of Things/cyber-physical systems and local cloud computing to enable the efficient processing of big data and low-latency response time.  


Potential DCx Solutions

  • How can patient data sharing between emergency medical responders and hospitals be improved?
  • How can systems, such as gunshot detection and video cameras and other data sources be integrated and synced to deliver real-time intelligence to responders?
  • How can body worn camera technology be optimized?
  • How can we use artificial intelligence and/or augmented and virtual reality to better train emergency services and first responders?
  • How can we make public data from DC cameras and other sensors for design or developers to access and model the data?
  • How can we use technology to respond and reduce the number of opioid cases in the District?




DCx Partners


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.



Phase 1: Proof of Concept

Your proof of concept will be judged on:

  1. Technical soundness and design (more on that below)
  2. Innovative approach and weight of impact
  3. Cost to prototype and potential ROI
  4. Team capability
  5. Inclusion, equity and accessibility
  6. Public benefit

5G Technical Requirements

This is a gigabit challenge after all. Your 5G enabled solution could show:

  • Use of greater bandwidth for applications
  • How lower latency is enabling your applications to deliver near-real-time updates and/or performs rapid data analysis
  • Better management of a multitude of connected devices that can provide critical data for optimizing public safety or health systems

Before you submit, please consider the following:

  • Operational Efficiency + Resiliency 
    DC prioritizes maximizing public benefit and ensuring financial, operational, and environmental sustainability.
  • Equity + Accessibility
    Always check for and address barriers in your  solution that may result in inequitable service delivery or unintended biases.
  • Do you know DC? 
    No really, do you? The quickest way to our heart is to show us how your product or service addresses the needs of DC.
  • The District places a high value on open data, privacy and cybersecurity. Show us you do too. 
    Do your policies comply with existing best practices?
  • Are you solving a real problem?
    Strong and well evidenced use cases which demonstrate need, business case and public benefit.
  • Don’t submit a pre-formatted sales pitch.
    We can tell when companies CTL-FIND-REPLACE City X with DC. Not cool.

Technical Assistance

For teams chosen to advance to the second phase an optional working event/build day will be offered at the Verizon 5G lab at the Alley in DC if there is enough demand. Please fill out the pre-registration form by July 15 form to help us gauge interest in such a resource.


Semi-Finalists: Up to four (4) selected will split up to $14,500
Finalist: $20,000

Eligibility Requirements

  • 18 or older at the time of entry
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. or its territories
  • Affiliated with a US-based, non-profit organization (including educational institutions) or for-profit organization (LLC, etc.)
  • Not an employee(s) of the District of Columbia Government.



Challenge Updates

Semi-Finalists Announced!

Aug. 14, 2019, 1:18 p.m. PDT by DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer

Bowser Administration Announces DCx Semi-Finalists

Three Teams will Continue on to Compete to Win $20,000 in Award Funding for their Next-Generation Solutions



Washington, DC --  The Office of the Chief Technology Office (OCTO) is pleased to announce three semifinalists from the DC area will advance to phase two of DCx, a public innovation challenge, where they will advance their submissions to workable prototypes for a final chance to win or split up to $20,000 in award funds.


“These semi-finalists have submitted thoughtful solutions that address key city challenges.” said Lindsey Parker, Chief Technology Officer. “From addressing Vision Zero to increased safety for first responders to equal access to quality health care, these solutions show the potential of how next-generation tech can help us improve the quality of life for every resident in DC.”


DCx brought 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 developers, engineers and innovators to think about how the future of public safety and public health technology will benefit from 5G. 


The semi-finalists selected are: 


  • Haven of Washington, DC, submitted the"Self-Action For Everyone"(S.A.F.E). card which would use 5G to empower all DC residents to access emergency care with a single button. S.A.F.E. is an IoT card that fits in a purse or wallet and allows the owner to trigger emergency care with a single button press. S.A.F.E. offers 3 modes: 1. trigger an emergency request for an ambulance, 2. notify emergency contacts with real-time updates, and 3. request care guidance recommendations on your phone. 
  • ENGR Dynamics, of Silver Spring, MD, submitted Public Safety Sensor Fusion (PS2F), which increases first responder safety and effectiveness via automated video analytics and sensor fusion. PS2F's mission is to create better situational awareness, delivered through mobile devices, allowing a real-time assessment of vehicular and personnel requirements; this could both shorten response times and improve utilization of reserve vehicles.  With 5G, PS2F has the potential to utilize precise indoor positioning to track personnel on-scene and gigabit networking to stream sensor data to mobile devices.
  • Daniel Bernstein and Brendan Freehart of Arlington, VA, submitted Safe Lane, a distributed monitoring system that leverages deep learning and existing traffic camera feeds to provide bike lane enforcement officers with real-time notifications of bike lane obstructions as well as historical analysis to arm District public safety agencies with the information they need to prioritize resourcing and staffing to reduce traffic fatalities and accidents on the road.


Semifinalists will also demonstrate their solutions live in front of the judges, District leaders, and the general public at the WeDC Futures Forum on October 2, 2019 at the Eaton Hotel.  Members of the public are invited to attend for free.


Launched June 17, 2019, DCx is the second public innovation challenge the Bowser Administration has run in partnership with US Ignite and the Smart Gigabit Communities program and the National Science Foundation. Access and follow the challenge at:




About the WeDC Campaign:


The WeDC Campaign, which stands for “we the people of Washington, DC,” was developed by the Washington DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP) in partnership with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) to promote the District as the “Capital of Inclusive Innovation.” The campaign is used for programming, activations and events with a goal of supporting business attraction and retention in the District, and to showcase the city’s dedication to inclusivity, diversity and innovation with a focus on its communities, workforce and residents. For more information visit


Congratulations Teams! Semi-Finalist Date Announcement Update

Aug. 8, 2019, 10:21 a.m. PDT by DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer

Hello DCx competitors!

We want to take this opportunity to thank you for submitting your innovations to our challenge!

We also wanted to update you on the judging process.

Our evaluation panel has gone over all of the submissions and due to complexities of solutions have reached out to several teams for clarifying information. 

Due to this need to gather clarifying information we will be announcing the semi-finalists next week, Monday August 12 pending all semi-finalist teams have been contacted and agreed to move on to phase 2.  

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask us directly or leave a comment on the Forum of our crowdsourcing page.

Warm regards,

The DC Office of Chief Technology Officer

DCx Submissions Due Thursday!

July 30, 2019, 8:39 a.m. PDT by DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer

It's not too late! There are 2 more days to submit your innovative ideas for DCx. All submissions must be submitted by 11:59pm ET on Thursday, August 1, 2019.

In order for your entry to be eligible, your submission must meet the requirements outlined on our crowdsourcing page. And remember to tell us how your solution will benefit from 5G!

We recommend you hit "begin entry' so you can check out the submission criteria. TIP: In order to streamline the award process and meet US Ignite grant requirements, we will need your business license and W9 forms, so make sure you get those ready!

View the How to Submit your entry video at the following link:

We are excited to review all of your amazing ideas!