SOFWERX announces At the Edge Integration Virtual Tech Sprint

On May 11, the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) announced the At the Edge Integration Virtual Tech Sprint. Solution submissions are due no later than June 9.

SOFWERX, in concert with the USSOCOM Science and Technology (S&T) Office, will host a Virtual Tech Sprint to identify technology solutions that will provide advanced computing to support localized SOF teams in degraded, disconnected, and contested or anti‐access/area denial (A2/AD) communications environments.

Problem Statement
Data collection, management, storage, and dissemination have become complex and will continue to increase in complexity. In addition, body-worn Internet of Things (IoT) to Battlefield of Things (BoT) sensing has not been effectively integrated into an open architecture, system-of-systems design for next-generation computing at the edge.

Special Operations Forces (SOF) require real-time situational awareness and connectivity in the highly-contested future operating environment. SOF require portable, interconnected sensors that enable data fusion, networking, and processing at the edge. Such edge computing solutions will deliver increased Warfighter safety and mission effectiveness by providing real-time information that is not dependent on distant command resources. Edge computing hardware solutions must be able to process and analyze data from multiple sources to deliver a holistic picture of the operating environment. Edge computing hardware solutions miniaturized to a minimal form factor (i.e., individual chips) that will allow for body‐worn hardware components supporting either individual or multiple functions in a lower‐power consumption manner than most traditional commercially sourced edge compute offerings. Edge computing hardware solutions must facilitate numerous varieties of evolving analytical software and toolset processing needs. These requirements will need to deliver an edge compute solution that delivers a holistic picture of the operating environment for the SOF Operator. The following attributes are preferred:

  1. Provide low-power-consumption computing relative to existing, Commercial‐Off‐The‐Shelf (COTS) CPU/GPU hardware
  2. Support software applications that provide advanced data analytics and visualization tools
  3. Provide the ability to compute and derive insights at multiple points within a tactical network before reach‐back to an enterprise‐level network connection
  4. Support networking of multiple body‐worn computing chips that are capable of fusing numerous data types
  5. Provide the ability to host Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning software that conducts face‐to‐face engagement with non‐English speaking individuals with a wearable system that automatically changes the words spoken into the desired language and transversely converts the foreign language back to English.
  6. Novel, new smart sensors for collection and filtering
  7. Low signature management should be considered. This includes visual, electro-magnetic, infrared, etc
  8. If proposed solution utilizes communication between various points, then Low Probability of Intercept/Low Probability of Detection methods should be incorporated
  9. Ability to be used in Air, Maritime, and Ground Environments

Desired End State
The event’s end goal is to create an integrated, body-worn, sense, and compute system of systems that aggregate useful data, provide analytics, and visualization to Operators at the edge.

Event Overview

Phase 1 – 11 May 2021 to 09 June 2021 Submissions Open: Interested respondents who could potentially provide solutions that meet the needs of the Government Stakeholders are encouraged to submit their solutions per the instructions below NLT 09 June.

Phase 1b: 27 May 2021 Q&A Telecon: Interested offerors may participate in a virtual Q&A session to better understand the intent of the At the Edge Integration Virtual Tech Sprint by USSOCOM. The telecon will take place on 27 May from 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET.

Phase 2 – 10 June 2021 to 21 June 2021 Downselects: USSOCOM will downselect those respondents/submissions they feel have the highest potential to satisfy their technology needs. Companies with favorably evaluated submissions will receive an invitation to the Virtual Tech Sprint (Phase 4) o/a 22 June.

Phase 3 – 30 June 2021 Kick-Off: Selected participants will engage in a kick-off meeting to discuss the 05 July to 06 August Tech Sprint. During this meeting, the various participants will discuss the most optimal ways to integrate/combine their technologies (as required). Based on the outcomes of this exchange, the participants may enter into B2B agreements (as required) with SOFWERX to mature and/or integrate their technologies to potentially satisfy USSOCOM needs. Agreements will be made according to the amount of work required and/or the associated business models of the various participants.

Phase 4 – 05 July 2021 to 07 October 2021 Virtual Tech Sprint: During the Tech Sprint, selected participants will virtually collaborate to further develop and integrate, body-worn, sense, and compute system of systems that aggregate useful data, provide analytics, and visualization to Operators at the edge.

Phase 5 – 06 October 2021 to 07 October 2021 Deliverables/Demos: Respective capabilities will be demonstrated to Government Stakeholders for assessment and evaluation. TBD whether virtual or in-person.

Full information is available here.

Source: SAM