We Won NATO’s Defense Innovation Challenge and Got to Present Our Solution at NITEC18!

May 30, 2018 - 8 minutes read

mobile app development

The last month has been an absolute whirlwind for Dogtown Media. Not only were we chosen as a winner of the third annual North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Defense Innovation Challenge, but we got to present our solution at NITEC18 last week!

Read on to learn about Battlefield One, our unique solution, and how innovators around the world are coming together to keep NATO’s technology on the cutting-edge.

A Competition to Catalyze Innovation

The Defense Innovation Challenge is a competition hosted by the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency. It was created to foster innovative technological solutions that could address some of the biggest problems facing NATO. This challenge and NITEC, an annual three-day tech summit, are part of NATO’s largest initiative to modernize its technology since the end of the Cold War!

As Kevin J. Scheid, General Manager of the NCI Agency, puts it: “We are seeking to broaden engagement with innovative technology drivers as NATO undergoes its largest technological modernization in decades.” Open to small and medium enterprises as well as all academic institutions from all 29 NATO Nations, the contest is generally “aimed at accelerating transformational, state-of-the-art technology solutions from small businesses and academia in support of NATO C4ISR and cyber capabilities.”

This year’s challenge focused on digital innovation, specifically in areas such as natural language processing, utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT) for security, autonomous sensors, and mobile app development for both defense and government organizations. We’re extremely proud and honored to be picked as winners of the “Mobile Apps for Defense Users” category!

An Event to ‘Expand the Ecosystem’

NITEC is organized by NATO, the NCI Agency, and the Federal Ministry of Defense of Germany. With well over 600 world leaders in attendance, the event serves as an opportunity for leaders in tech, politics, security, and military sectors to examine and address the current technological obstacles that NATO faces.

This year’s summit, NITEC18, was held in Berlin, Germany, from May 22nd to the 24th. Its theme was ‘NATO’s Digital Endeavour: Expanding the Ecosystem’. Winners of this year’s Defense Innovation Challenge were invited to receive their awards and showcase their solutions to the NATO leaders and stakeholders in attendance.

We knew we couldn’t miss this event. So we sent Marc Fischer, our CEO and part-time digital nomad, all the way from our HQ for development in Los Angeles to Berlin, Germany.

All of the Action in Berlin

From the beginning of the first day, NITEC18 was non-stop action. The three days of the event were comprised of discussion sessions, workshops, and presentations aimed at revamping NATO to be prepared for the digital age. One of Marc’s favorite parts was the conference kickoff at Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defense.

This was a great chance to meet and mingle with a plethora of people from different walks of life. Government officials from all 29 NATO Nations and many more organizations got the opportunity to have candid one-on-one discussions with thought leaders from pioneers like Boeing, Belkin, and Airbus.

After the kickoff, a variety of workshops were given. They touched upon important topics like successful project bidding, NATO procurement procedures, and commercialization of products. Similarly, the presentations that followed afterward were also full of valuable information. Speakers included Thomas B. Modly, the Undersecretary of the U.S. Navy; Roger Krone, the CEO of Leidos; and Erich Staudacher, General Manager of AFCEA Europe.

While the events of NITEC ran the gamut in terms of variety, they were all laser-focused on one objective: innovation. Particularly, how do we bring new types of technologies to one of the most respected military forces in the world? Parts of NATO’s bureaucracy, a system formed during World War II, are in dire need of an update. International threats have not rested on their laurels; neither can NATO. Creating value for this international coalition that has defended the freedom of many countries across the world was undoubtedly the main focus of the event.

Battlefield One

While there were plenty of potential show-stealers, Marc’s favorite moment from NITEC18 was presenting Dogtown Media’s winning solution of the Defense Innovation Challenge to hundreds of leaders from around the world. After blending elements of IoT development, encryption, and wearables, we came up with Battlefield One, a solution that optimizes the battlefield performance of soldiers.

Battlefield One boils down to a wearable device and a paired, secure mobile app. Basically, a soldier wears the wearable device, which allows for his/her health to be monitored remotely in real-time. The soldier can send out an encrypted distress signal if things begin to look dire. This signal allows for a medic to be deployed to their location and administer life-saving treatment in the event of an emergency.

The current wearable prototype is equipped with sensors and scheduling mechanisms to ensure that wellness parameters like hydration are kept at safe levels. Battlefield One was designed to be used out in the field, either for training purpose or for real battle scenarios. There is still room on the wearable to include other sensors or equipment, depending on your particular needs.

Like any work-in-progress, there are still many factors and variables to attend to before Battlefield One reaches a final release iteration. NITEC18 served as a wonderful chance to gather great feedback and learn about awesome opportunities to bring Battlefield One to fruition and test it out on the field or maybe even commercialize it. No concrete plans have been set in stone, but there sure are a seemingly infinite number of possibilities in store for Battlefield One.

We’d like to take one last moment to thank NATO and the NCI Agency for choosing us as winners of the Defense Innovation Challenge and inviting us to NITEC18. It was an unforgettable experience, and it’s made us more excited than ever for the future of digital innovation.

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