North Carolina Firm Receives DHS Funding for ATSC Public-Safety Paging Solution
Tuesday, August 17, 2021 | Comments

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program awarded $981,657.52 to Hillsborough, North Carolina-based Device Solutions to develop a secure, standards-based, public-safety one-way digital paging system.

Currently, many emergency medical services (EMS) agencies rely on analog voice pager infrastructure to communicate during emergency incidents. The new capabilities will use the Advanced Television Systems Committee 3.0 (ATSC 3.0) standard, providing responders with improved pager coverage capacity, quicker dispatching, and overall improved situational awareness.

“It is vital that we develop and implement the most advanced interoperable communications technologies, so our emergency responders can do their jobs effectively, protect the public and remain safe themselves,” said Kathryn Coulter Mitchell, DHS senior official performing the duties of the under secretary for science and technology. “We must continue to leverage technology advancements, and by using the ATSC 3.0 standard to develop a more robust digital paging system, we can address the substantial challenges of slow speed, limited coverage and capacity found with existing analog voice paging systems.”

The DHS SBIR Program, administered by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), selected Device Solutions for a phase two award following the company’s successful demonstration of feasibility in phase one and the proposed phase two development of its digital paging over public television solution. Device Solutions will develop two robust paging receiver designs using ATSC 3.0 that leverage open standards, broadcast and public-safety infrastructure, modern network devices and new wireless electronics. One device will be based on a stand-alone model, and the other based on a smartphone integration that supports additional emergency information such as maps, images and texts.

“The SBIR Program allows us to tap into the power of small business to develop innovative technology for emergency responders,” said S&T Program Manager Norman Speicher. “Developing an interoperable paging solution that has increased bandwidth, speed and coverage will allow EMS personnel to more effectively communicate and respond to daily and urgent disaster and emergency situations.”

At the completion of the 24-month phase two contract, SBIR awardees will have developed a prototype to demonstrate the advancement of technology, spearheading the potential for phase three funding.

Under phase three, SBIR performers will seek to secure funding from private sector and/or non-SBIR government sources, with the eventual goal to commercialize and bring the technologies from phases one and two to market.

“Supporting and partnering with small businesses is key to their success,” said DHS SBIR Program Director Dusty Lang. “And their innovative technologies can play an important role for meeting first responders needs in communities across the homeland.”

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