Frequently Asked Questions

Every team must have at least one member who is defined as a U.S.-based individual or private entity:

  • Individual: a person age 18 or older at time of entry and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its territories.
  • Private Entity: a company, institution, or other organization that is incorporated in and maintains a primary place of business in the United States or its territories.

Teams are not eliminated if they are not deemed prize winners in the first two phases. Teams who do not win prize money in Phase 1 may continue in the challenge and enter Phase 2 and/or Phase 3. However, only some teams will be invited to Phases 4 and 5, as there is limited availability for in-person testing.

Yes, individual participants may join existing teams, or new teams may enter the competition for Phase 2 or 3 without having participated in the earlier phases. In fact, we anticipate that many early-round teams’ solutions may be missing certain key components or technologies to be a latter-phase holistic solution. Because of this, is our intention to fully encourage new entrants and team re-assignment during the first three phases. 

Phases 4 and 5 are invite-only for our finalist teams.

Participants can initially register as individuals and use the challenge website to find teammates. Team rosters won’t be locked, so there is plenty of time to find collaborators.
While many applications come to mind for firefighters, this technology could be used by any public safety agency – fire, police, EMS, or other first responders.

Support for this research comes from award 70NANB21H022 of the Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program (PSIAP) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division. The PSIAP utilizes grants and cooperative agreements to stimulate critical R&D for public safety communications technology and provide access to cutting-edge technologies and applications that will enable responders to better carry out their mission to protect lives and property. For more information, visit

The competition has travel funds set aside for teams who are selected for the live field testing in Phases 4 and 5.

Submissions to this competition may utilize any technology they require; however, teams should consider practicality, cost, and durability (relative to first responder budgets and scenarios) in their designs.

Phases 1-3 require whitepapers and proof-of-concept videos, whereas Phases 4 and 5 are extended to allow more time for solution building, testing, and iteration.

Prize winners will be invited to share their innovations at the 2022 PSCR Stakeholder Conference.

Yes. Precautions will be taken to avoid conflicts of interest in both the submission review and judging processes.