Innovation Challenge winner gets NATO contract

Innovation Challenge Winner gets NATO contract

NATO Transformation Command (ACT) has contracted out the winners of the Innovation Challenge to develop their solution, iHelp.

The winning team gathers professors and students from Old Dominion University who have now created a start-up company, Polares LLC, to pursue the journey with NATO.

iHelp is an algorithm optimizing and visualizing the logistics of a crisis-, or disaster-, response operation. It has the ability to map all logistical needs and resources. Therefore it exploits data from all operational stakeholders and from open sources. Its goal is to identify the best plan to assign logistical resources across the operational theatre. The information that iHelp takes into account includes all existing resources, transportation capabilities and constraints, weather conditions, supply and demand from all stakeholders. First responders will be able to interact with iHelp in real-time, provide updates and request support through their common mobile devices.

ACT intends to demonstrate the operational value of iHelp. Therefore, an initial contract of $70,000 will ensure the development of one NATO iHelp prototype this year. Further improvement of the prototype is planned for 2020 under a follow-on contract. The final goal is to test a Minimum Viable Product with operational users in the first semester of 2020.

Besides its NATO applications, iHelp will also be made usable by professionals from the private sector and other crisis response organizations.

This development project is conducted at the NATO Innovation Lab, by (ACT’s) NATO Innovation Hub.