DC launches competition for next-gen environment, mobility apps
- Washington, DC will sponsor a competition for civic-focused apps to run on the ultra-fast speed from 5G wireless networks, reports StateScoop. The GigabitDCx competition will focus on apps in the areas of mobility and transportation.
- The "reverse pitch" competition will see competitors submitting proposals for gigabit apps, which the competition website defines as a “high-performance application that leverage[s] the power of gigabit-speed networks to address real-world challenges.” For example, sponsors suggest that mobility apps could work on traffic safety or directing users to multimodal transportation options near them; the environment apps could work with data from air or water quality sensors.
- The two-phase competition kicks off on Oct. 13, with semi-finalists announced on Nov. 15. The two final award winners, who will split $34,000 in prize money, will be announced in February 2019.
As the telecom industry races to get 5G installed, cities are starting to figure out what to do with the networks, which promise blazing fast speed and more reliable connections. Washington, DC has been named one of Sprint’s initial 5G cities, and Verizon has tested its network in the city.
The network won’t just offer city residents and visitors faster downloads — the ultra-fast connection will support more advanced applications and internet of things (IoT) tools. The GigabitDCx challenge will help planners see what is possible, and how the network can support the city’s existing sustainability and mobility goals. It’s similar to the work cities have done to let developers handle big data — New York City, for example, held a competition resulting in apps around tree survival rates and the city budget, while Columbus, OH held a hackathon on transportation solutions.
U.S. Ignite, the national nonprofit on next-gen apps, is DC’s partner on the project. The company recently distributed tens of thousands of dollars in funding through the Smart Gigabit Communities program, including to a virtual training program to help educators overcome bias and a system that provides home-based analytics of body motions to assist in physical therapy and rehabilitation.
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