COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX)- Web coders from around the nation attended this year’s Tech to Protect coding challenge at Texas A&M University.
These web coders were tasked with the challenge of developing an app in a weekend that can help first responders.
“Software and functionality specific for public safety rather than just the commercial apps that are available to the general public,” said FirstNet Senior Public Safety Advisor Thomas Randall.
The ideas presented in the final round of judging were GPS tracking for first responders, offline voice-assist, facial recognition software, and a photography app to streamline crime scene photos safely.
“What are some gaps, what are some things that if an application really existed could make their lives easier,” said Walt Magnussen, Texas A&M University Director of Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center (ITEC).
Apps like these can cost more than $100,000 to develop. We looked at an app already available to first responders through FirstNet, called PulsePoint.
The app allows citizens who are CPR certified to be alerted when there is someone in need of CPR near them. Right now, there is a one-time implementation fee of $10,000. Then, there is an annual fee that ranges anywhere from $8,000 to $28,000, depending on the size of the population served.
For this weekend’s event, coders worked closely with EMS, law enforcement, and firefighters.
“They are learning from the subject matter experts and actually using that to write code and use software that will actually be specific to what that first responder would need,” said Randall.
The goal is to make these apps easy to use, especially in a crisis. Not just in the Brazos Valley, but across the nation.
“First responders will be able to use on the scene with a connected device to be able to make them more efficient and safer,” said Randall.
At the end of the weekend, three teams were awarded top marks in their class.