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CIT’s SCITI Labs and George Mason University Collaborate on Smart Building Technology Research

First-of-its kind operational test will help enhance first responders’ safety and efficiency.

/EIN News/ -- Herndon, VA, Nov. 18, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Center for Innovation Technology (CIT) announced a collaboration with George Mason University through a four-year, $19 million contract awarded to CIT by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to continue research into smart building technologies that can help first responders save lives and improve public safety.

Those technologies were on display at Eagle Bank Arena on Mason’s Fairfax Campus on Monday, Nov. 18, in a first-of-its-kind operational test, which included local fire, EMS and law enforcement teams undergoing an active threat training exercise to help better understand how technology might enhance public safety and response effectiveness in emergency situations.

Approximately 70 first responders, law enforcement personnel and volunteers participated, along with Mason researchers and leadership, the CIT-led team of technology innovators, and Virginia political and business leaders.

The event was part of a SCITI Labs program, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate. SCITI Labs brings together leading innovators in the smart building/Internet of things space led by CIT partner Smart City Works with Mason’s research and emergency management communities to address issues of importance emergency responders and law enforcement.

“Smart communities are an important next step building on top of our universal broadband access because they enable better local government services to everyone in the Commonwealth,” said Virginia Secretary of Commerce & Trade Brian Ball.“ The SCITI Labs research, using smart buildings to improve public safety, is a key example of how this can work. The program is a showcase for the power of collaboration among federal, state and local government, and our university and industry partners.”

The technologies involved in today’s training included sensors and displays from a variety of technology innovators, designed to improve the operational and energy efficiency of the arena, enhance comfort and provide additional services to patrons, such as apps that can tell them the length of concession lines. Should an emergency occur these same sensors can be available to help responders more rapidly determine the location and type of emergency, help find victims more quickly and, ultimately, save lives. Key technology innovators include Mutualink, developer of the core IoT infrastructure, DataKwip providing the analytics platform to improve building operation on a daily basis, and EcoDomus, developer of a 3D digital twin visualization of the Eagle Bank Arena.

The simulation provided an important opportunity for real-world cycles of research and development associated with Mason’s new Center for the Advancement of Human Machine Partnerships (CAHMP).

“Smart building technologies need to be tested and evaluated by first responder teams and their leadership to provide direct input related to the viability and trust of current and future systems,” said Brenda Bannan, co-director of CAHMP and a Mason associate professor of instructional technology at Mason.

“CIT is pleased to be at the epicenter of facilitating smart technologies, not only in the Commonwealth of Virginia but across the nation,” CIT Chief Executive Officer Ed Albrigo said. “We are proud to enable commercialization, funding and deployment of these technologies. Smart innovations are an incredible opportunity for the Commonwealth and beyond. There is a tsunami of innovation happening in smart communities, and the Internet of things and smart buildings are a large part of that wave.”

Bill Bryan, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology in the Department of Homeland Security announced the new four-year contract awarded to CIT and SCITI Labs to continue this work. Mason researchers will work directly with CIT and SCITI Labs, conducting cycles of research and evaluation related to these smart technologies.

“This effort is a great example of collaboration between Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology and the commercial innovation community,” Bryan said. “The SCITI Labs ‘Commercial First Innovation’ approach rapidly brings the power of new industry partners to some of the most challenging problems of the Department of Homeland Security enterprise.”

Mason Interim President Anne Holton also expressed her enthusiasm for the innovative research and the public-private partnerships that have found an environment to thrive at Mason.

“I am thrilled that Mason has been able to contribute to such an inspiring collaboration and cutting-edge research on the intersection of smart technology and emergency response,” Holton said. “I am confident that together we can forge a future where such technology interacts with humans and our environment in similarly complementary, sustainable and progressive ways.”

About the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)
Investing for Commonwealth Growth | CIT concentrates on the early commercialization and seed funding stages of innovation, helping innovators and tech entrepreneurs launch and grow new companies, create high paying jobs and accelerate economic growth throughout the entire state of Virginia. Founded in 1985, CIT accelerates next generation technologies and technology companies through commercialization, capital formation, market development initiatives, and expansion of broadband throughout Virginia. Our programs include | CIT GAP Funds | Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) | Virginia Founders Fund | Broadband/Rural Broadband | Smart Communities | Cybersecurity | Unmanned Systems | SBIR/STTR Support (Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs) | University Partnerships | Startup Company Mentoring & Engagement. CIT’s CAGE Code is 1UP71. Contact: 2214 Rock Hill Road #600, Herndon, VA 20170 | 703.689.3000 | www.cit.orgYou can also follow CIT on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

About George Mason University
George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 38,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the last half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. Learn more at

Sara Poole
Center for Innovative Technology