R2 Network Partners Provide Project Update, Highlight Coming Features
Tuesday, June 22, 2021 | Comments
Members of the organizations involved in the R2 Network project provided an update on the progress of the project and provided a look at features that will be added to the network later this year during the National Institute of Science and Technology’s (NIST) Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) division’s 2021 Digital Experience.

The R2 Network project is aimed at creating a public innovation network that will bring together the first responder and entrepreneur communities to help solves challenges faced by first responders.

The development of the network is a public-private partnership between RapidSOS, Responder Corp, the Western Fire Chiefs Association (WCFA) and the Orleans Parish Communications District in New Orleans.

“Our goal with this network is to improve the process in which technology and innovative resources are delivered to first responders, so they can better protect our community and respond to resiliency and response challenges,” said Responder Corp Co-Founder and President Bryce Stirton.

The project has three main stated goals: empower public-safety agencies to get the technology they need into the field, enable innovators and entrepreneurs to provide that technology by giving them various resources and connecting those two communities to collaborate on the development of that technology.

To that end, the R2 Network is comprised of three components: R2 Learn, R2 Portal and R2 Connect. The project is funded in part by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) and NIST.

Stirton noted that there is a steep learning curve for entrepreneurs and companies moving into the public-safety space. The R2 Learn component is aimed at providing resources to cut that learning curve and more quickly preparing entrepreneurs and innovators to participate in the public-safety ecosystem.

The R2 Portal is an online location for innovators and first responders to connect. In the portal, innovators can present their products and gather feedback and interest from first responders. That portal will be free of charge and open to the whole public-safety industry, Stirton said.

In April, the R2 Project partners launched the product builder tool. This tool allows companies to add their solutions to the network so that they can eventually get feedback on it from the public-safety community. Stirton encouraged entrepreneurs and companies interested in the network to begin uploading their products to the portal so that there will be many ready for display when the project’s product finder tool launches in July. That tool will allow public-safety stakeholders to find technology that may fit their needs and connect with the providers of that technology.

The R2 Connect component is aimed at hosting events, both online and in person, to bring together stakeholders in the public-safety ecosystem to work together on technology innovation. Initially, the events will be regional and online, but the project plans to host a national event in 2023, Stirton said. The project launched the first part of this component in June with the event finder tool.

In addition to the already released elements, the project plans to release several more tools, including a grant finding tool, in September and beyond.

“By the end of the year, we are excited to have a platform that will support the complete ecosystem within public safety and really expand that beyond in 2022 and 2023,” Stirton said.

Find more information on the R2 Network here.

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