DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer



Propose and build apps that advance DC in the areas of city mobility and the environment through the use of gigabit-speed internet.

Challenge Overview

The Pitch

The DC Office of the Chief Technology Office (OCTO) invites area application developers and entrepreneurs to compete in the Gigabit DC Challenge (GigabitDCx). DC seeks next-generation, high-performance applications that advance opportunity and solutions in the focus areas of city mobility and the environment.

GigabitDCx is a two-phased, reverse pitch competition in which competitors will submit proposals to develop and demonstrate gigabit app solutions in the described focus areas. 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: Up to six (6) finalists will be invited to advanced to phase 2.
  • Phase 2: Up to two (2) awardees splitting $34,000 in award funds.

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


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.  

City Mobility Solutions

Mobility is the lifeblood of every city and has a direct link to factors such as quality of life, economic development and prosperity, as well as, equity and inclusion. For mobility in the District to be successful, it must be high-performing, resilient, and accessible.  How then, can gigabit technologies enhance the way we move people and inform intelligent decisions in mobility and streetscape planning?

Example solutions may include:

  • Traffic Safety
    Solutions that make District streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers, including capabilities such as incident recognition and alerting systems for any form of mobility (in line with DC Vision Zero goals).
  • Traffic Management
    Solutions providing visibility, understanding, and alerting of traffic abnormalities—such as unexpected traffic congestion or an unusual amount of foot traffic in a section of the city—that require immediate city agency response.
  • Promoting Multi-Modal Options
    Solutions providing visibility of modal options to residents, commuters, and visitors, especially more environmentally friendly options (walking, biking, public transit, etc.).


Environmental Solutions

The District of Columbia is committed to improve and protect the natural resources of the city as well as residents’ and visitors’ health and safety. The District seeks innovative and inclusive gigabit solutions that enhance its ability to reach the goals of Sustainable DC, Climate Ready DCClean Energy DC, and the District’s Resilient DC initiative.

Example solutions may include:

  • Air Quality Sensing
    Solutions providing actionable insights using urban air quality data; enhanced enforcement capabilities of air quality regulations; or alert systems that better inform residents and visitors on health-related air quality factors.
  • Water Quantity and Quality Sensing
    Solutions providing monitoring, measuring, and alerting on District waterways. This capability could help inform District environmental, planning, and public safety response agencies with real-time information such as water quality and rising levels (especially in flood plain areas).
  • Smart Building Sensing
    Solutions enhancing building energy and other efficiencies in support of the District's Clean Energy plan and the mission of BuildSmart DC.
  • Smart Waste Diversion 
    In an effort to advance the goals of Zero Waste DC and the Office of the Clean City, solutions could enable residents and visitors to quickly locate waste, compost and recycling options based on location through gamification and reward incentives.

Inclusion Matters

Through GigabitDCx, OCTO seeks to foster the growth of DC’s technology innovation community and strengthen DC as a smart city. However, success isn’t just measured in how we leverage gigabit technology, but in how we use technology to support an inclusive environment that makes the lives of everyone in DC better and ensures no one is left behind.


Support the Challenge

  • Share the challenge on social media with your friends, your family, or anyone you know who has a passion for innovation.
  • Click "Follow the Challenge" to recieve status updates.
  • Submit an idea! Click "Accept the Challenge" to register to enter.


GigabitDCx is led by the District’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) in coordination with the SmarterDC initiative. Award funding is made available through DC’s partnership with US Ignite, a nation-wide nonprofit focused on spurring the creation of next-generation applications and services that leverage advanced networking technologies to build the foundation for smart communities around the country and world.  Developer resources and space is made possible by WeWork Labs, a host partner for GigabitDCx. StateScoop is the official media partner for GigabitDCx.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, but it’s quick and easy. Just click the “Join Us” button at the top of the page and follow the instructions to complete your registration. All you need to provide is your name and email address.

If you have a question not answered in the FAQ, we recommend that you post it in the Forum where someone will respond to you. This way, others who may have the same question will be able to see it.


To create a team on a crowdsourcing project or competition, you will first need to register by clicking the “Accept” button on the HeroX page:

Step 1 Register.JPG

Once you have reviewed and accepting the intellectual property and legal agreement, you will be given the opportunity to invite team members via email:

Step 3 Invite.JPG

Once you click “Create” in the upper right corner, an invitation will be sent to the email addresses you typed in with instructions to create a HeroX account and join your team.

If you originally skipped this step, you can still create a team by going to the “Community” section and clicking on the orange “Create a team” button:

Step 2 Create.JPG

You can also create a team of one by not entering any email addresses and just clicking the orange “Create” button in the upper right corner:

Step 3 Invite.JPG

If you create a team of one but decide to invite others to join later, you can do so by going to your team page and clicking the “Invite” button.

Team page.JPG

You can get to your team page by going to your profile and clicking on the “Teams” tab, and then clicking on your team

Finally, if you wish to invite already existing HeroX members to your team, simply send them a link to your team profile, which you can locate from your individual profile:

Teams section.JPG

Screenshot of which URL to send to the existing HeroX member and the Join button they will need to click on:

Join team.JPG

To change captains, the current team captain will need to add/invite their replacement from the team page. Once the replacement captain has created their HeroX account and joined the team, then the current captain will be able to finalize the change from their team page by clicking on the "Leadership" link underneath the replacement captains profile.


Yes, you may. However, if selected as a finalist, you may only move forward with the app idea that was selected. 

No, it does not - it can be any software application that leverages high-bandwidth, low-latency Gigabit Internet technology.

Submissions shall be from an individual or a team affiliated with a U.S.-based non-profit organization (including educational institutions) or for-profit organization (eg. LLC).

  • If you are submitting as an individual, you must be age 18 or older at the time of entry and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. or its territories.
  • If you are submitting as a team, and one or more team members is under 18, at least one team member must be age 18 or older at the time of entry and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. or its territories. This team member will serve as the “team sponsor” and will take responsibility for the team output and any legal agreements.
  • The submitting affiliated organization will be a U.S.-based non-profit organization (including educational institutions) or for-profit organization (eg. LLC).

*Employees of the District of Columbia Government are not eligible to compete in GigabitDCx.  

You may work with any government entity, or quasi-agency such as WMATA, as subject matter experts but they cannot submit a project on behalf of a team.