NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C.
Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic announced the winners of its Palmetto Tech Bridge (PTB) Prize Challenge on Dec. 9 during the Charleston Defense Contractors Association (CDCA)’s annual gathering.
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) received the $7,500 top prize for its platform designed to provide attribute-based, access-controlled multilevel security (MLS) applications. SAIC also won $7,500 for its LoRa/LoRaWAN geolocation submission to provide warfighters Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing (A-PNT) in environments where signals are either denied, degraded or unreliable.
The PTB Prize Challenge is one of several agile and innovative approaches used at NIWC Atlantic to help the U.S. Navy and its joint partners identify technology solutions that turn the ingenuity of everyday Americans into the warfighter’s most advanced technologies.
The winning submissions were announced during the closing ceremony of the CDCA, one of the East Coast’s largest conferences for connecting military engineers and scientists with leading technology developers.
NIWC Atlantic Executive Director Peter C. Reddy thanked the crowd for attending and congratulated the prize challengers and winners.
“Discovering new technologies that increase the resilience and effectiveness of the warfighter is a driving force behind much of what we do at NIWC Atlantic,” Reddy said. “We welcome these latest technology proposals in the MLS and A-PNT domains and thank each one of these innovators who took the time to apply, plan and present their ideas.”
Runners-up in each category received honorable mention: Sertainty for its MLS submission and Laine Technologies for A-PNT.
In collaboration with the PTB Prize Challenge, the CDCA ran an “Innovation Pitch Jam” competition in additional technology focus areas. Approximately 1,500 attendees voted on the presentations, and each winner received the CDCA’s “People’s Choice Award.”
“Running the pitch jam with our CDCA partners is just one example of how the Navy and industry are working together to seek innovative technologies that provide improved capabilities to our warfighters,” said Don Sallee, one of NIWC Atlantic’s top experts in acquisitions planning.
In recent years, more and more federal agencies are turning to prize challenges as a way to crowdsource technical concepts and software-based solutions directly from the public. Prize challenge submissions may lead to additional follow-on, proof-of-concept presentations and acquisition opportunities.
Sallee said one of the challenges with prize challenges is in defining the exact nature of the problem, also known as a capability gap.
“As an organization that wants to build off of innovative ideas and various acquisition approaches, we don’t want to too narrowly focus these challenges,” he said. “If we do, it limits an innovator’s ability to really understand what we are getting at or how their technology may be applicable.
“That’s why we are working very hard to understand this new innovation ecosystem comprising start-ups, academia, industry and public institutions,” he added. “By expanding our partnerships, we will more rapidly transition advanced capabilities to our men and women in uniform.”
This was the PTB’s second prize challenge in a year. In addition to exploring prize challenge opportunities, the PTB engages off-base entities across South Carolina and the greater Southeast Region to encourage creative research, facilitate rapid acquisition actions and sponsor unique problem-solving events among diverse industry and academic partners.
PTB emphasizes “dual-use” technologies — solutions that benefit both national defense and regional economy interests.
About NIWC Atlantic
As a part of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, NIWC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, cyber and information technology capabilities.