COLLEGE STATION — The TEEX Product Development Center has received a 3-year, $1.5 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative (DPSI) to transition defense technologies into the emergency response and homeland security marketplace.
Under the contract, TEEX will assist DPSI in its congressionally mandated mission to identify technology and equipment that have the potential to enhance public safety and improve homeland security.
“At TEEX and the Product Development Center, we offer the unique capability to constantly monitor the pulse of the entire first response community,” said Caleb Holt, Manager of the Product Development Center. “We can serve as a gateway for DoD-developed technologies to gain access to real-world training facilities and hands-on, end-user engagement. Through the PDC’s Think, Build, Sell process, we can assist technologies in every phase of the development process and position them for successful market entry.”
In the initial phase of the contract, the PDC will identify priority focus areas and work with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense to research and identify DoD technologies in those focus areas that could be transitioned and commercialized to enhance public safety and security.
“Our consistent and ongoing relationship with first responders across the country will allow high priority technology focus areas to be guided by end-user feedback,” Holt said. “We will ask responders about their technology needs, and we will listen. We are going to search the country to find the best solutions for them. We will start by interacting with emergency responders during the vendor show prior to the Municipal Fire School in July.”
A national first responder technology showcase is planned for the fall to introduce at least a dozen technologies that have been identified for potential benefit to the response community, he added. A panel of first responder chiefs, business entrepreneurs and investors, product development experts and university researchers will evaluate the finalists in the showcase and recommend up to three technologies to DPSI for commercialization. “We are looking for the technologies that solve a need and have a real chance of being successful,” Holt said.
The selected technologies will be eligible for comprehensive product development services through the PDC. Those companies will be provided guidance, mentors, testing and evaluation, scenario integration and feedback from some of the world’s most actively deployed responders, Holt added.
In Phase II, TEEX will guide the companies through a continuous product development cycle of Think, Build, Sell. The focus will be on prototype development, first responder customization, and potential integration with existing first responder systems, Holt said.
More than $100,000 has been designated in the contract to assist each company with the Think, Build, Sell product development process for moving the technology toward manufacturing. “The selected companies will have access to research faculty of a major university system, top-notch facilities for hands-on realistic scenario testing and end-users of their product — the public safety and emergency response community and a FEMA-sanctioned urban search and rescue team. The Texas Center for Applied Technology (TCAT), a center within the research-oriented Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), will provide the test design and evaluation engineering services for all technology testing.
Selected technologies will be paired with product managers, an emergency response subject matter expert (SME) and a business advisor. Technologies will have testing and evaluation plans developed and executed utilizing TEEX facilities such as Brayton Fire Training Field and Disaster City®. In addition, each technology will develop a business strategy for transitioning their technology from DoD clients to the first response community.
“Two resources that are virtually unmatched at TEEX are our access to first responder subject matter experts (SMEs) and realistic training facilities,” Holt said. “When these two resources are combined with our long-standing partnership with Texas Center for Applied Technology, we add engineering expertise to develop and execute testing protocols for some of the most innovative technologies in first response. For this reason we can proudly offer all technologies selected for DPSI’s Technology Transfer Program to become TEEX TESTED®.”
About the Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative (DPSI)
The Department of Defense Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative (DPSI), in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security, coordinates DoD efforts to identify, evaluate, deploy and transfer technology, items and equipment to federal, state and local first responders. Through this initiative, the DoD fulfills Congress’ intent to support public safety and homeland security by leveraging taxpayer investments in defense technology and equipment. The goal is to protect and secure the homeland by sharing expertise, equipment and technology, as appropriate, across military and civilian boundaries.
About the TEEX Product Development Center
The Product Development Center, a center within the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, helps manufacturers, product developers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and businesses move products from an idea or concept to the global marketplace. The Center serves as a gateway to the engineering expertise, experienced market analysts, laboratories, and real-world facilities of The Texas A&M University System in order to ensure a product or technology stays on the path to commercialization. Using the proven process of THINK | BUILD | SELL, the PDC helps companies develop methodologies, recruit subject-matter experts, assess partnerships, and test and evaluate their products. The Center also offers TEEX TESTED, a third-party, unbiased testing and validation that a technology performs reliably in real-world conditions.