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5G First Responder Lab Reveals First Cohort of Companies

Five companies have three months to work with Verizon’s new Washington, D.C., lab and its 5G network to produce next-generation solutions for first responders, with help on marketing and use-case testing.

Four months after announcing the creation of a 5G First Responder Lab in Washington, D.C., for public safety innovation, Verizon and Responder Corp., a group of first responders and investors, have named the lab’s first five tenants.

Comprising the first of three cohorts, the five companies will each get three months of access to the lab and its 5G network in order to develop new 5G solutions for first responders, as well as the chance to work with Verizon and Responder Corp. on use-case testing and market strategies. Two more cohorts of five companies apiece will follow later this year.

The D.C. lab is located in a space owned by Alley, a membership community for entrepreneurs with locations in multiple states, all of which use Verizon’s 5G network.

According to a news release Tuesday, the following Cohort 1 participants came from an applicant pool of more than 50 companies:

  • Adcor Magnet Systems, which makes sensors and reality-augmentation software
  • Aerial Applications, which makes drone data and mapping software
  • Blueforce Development, which makes software for networks of interconnected devices to improve situational awareness for first responders
  • Kiana Analytics, a cloud software company that collects information from wireless devices to inform decisions about the physical security of an environment
  • Qwake Technologies, which uses sensors and augmented reality to help firefighters see in environments with zero visibility.
The news release said these were chosen based on their likelihood of helping first responders with at least one of the following: preparation for and prevention of an emergency; reacting to, managing and executing a response during an emergency; returning a community to normal after a disaster; and rebuilding and applying lessons from a disaster to prevent future loss.

“There’s a clear excitement in the program to experience how 5G will bring these already powerful solutions to new heights,” said Bryce Stirton, co-founder and president of Responder Corp., in a statement. “There’s even more excitement to see how these 5G enabled technologies will help first responders.”

Applications for the second cohort of the 5G First Responder Lab are open through April 5. Interested technology developers can learn more and apply at

Verizon’s labs and partnerships are part of a concerted effort among telecommunications companies to bring 5G to the table in various industries, and the field of public safety specifically has been a common testing ground. After AT&T won a contract in 2017 to update infrastructure for FirstNet, the national interoperable emergency responder communications network, Verizon responded with a plan to build out its own network.

Andrew Westrope is managing editor of the Center for Digital Education. Before that, he was a staff writer for Government Technology, and previously was a reporter and editor at community newspapers. He has a bachelor’s degree in physiology from Michigan State University and lives in Northern California.
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