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CHIPS Articles: Palmetto Tech Bridge Announces Three Winners of Inaugural Prize Challenge

Palmetto Tech Bridge Announces Three Winners of Inaugural Prize Challenge
By Steve Ghiringhelli, Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic - March 24, 2021
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic announced on March 10 the winners of its first Palmetto Tech Bridge Prize Challenge, an initiative aimed at continuing the Navy’s expansion of collaborative off-base ecosystems of innovation.

The open public competition selected three companies that presented promising technologies in the areas of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT).

“We were very pleased with the innovation displayed with these technological concepts,” said Don Sallee, NIWC Atlantic’s acquisition planning services manager. “The ideas these industry partners are proposing will further accelerate our efforts to provide warfighters the automated systems and precision PNT they need to win the information war.”

Client Solution Architects LLC received a $10,000 cash prize for its RPA technology while Brandywine Communications Inc. and Wiser Systems Inc. each received $10,000 for their expertise in PNT capabilities.

The NIWC Atlantic-funded prize challenge was organized by the Palmetto Tech Bridge and administered through the General Services Administration’s platform.

In recent years, more federal agencies are turning to prize challenges as a way to crowdsource technical concepts and solutions directly from the public. Dual-use capabilities developed by the Palmetto Tech Bridge meet the technological needs of both the national defense and regional economy sectors.

Michael Merriken, director of the Palmetto Tech Bridge, said prize challenges play an important role in the development of these off-base partnerships.

“The best way to find rapid solutions for our warfighters is to partner with the countless businesses residing outside our fence line that are dedicated to innovation and scientific advances,” Merriken said. “We are constantly looking for ways to strengthen our connection with not only traditional defense industry partners but also startups, small businesses and research institutions — relationships that will forge the Palmetto Tech Bridge into one of the nation’s premier centers of excellence.”

In addition to engaging the public through initiatives like prize challenges, NIWC Atlantic has also sought to fast-track various procurement options through grants, purchase order requests, cooperative agreements, partnership intermediary agreements and small business innovation research funding mechanisms.

The Palmetto Tech Bridge, the sixth U.S. Navy tech bridge to be established in 2019 under the Naval Agility Office (NavalX), engages everyone from private industry to academia to work together to solve complex Navy problems in numerous arenas, including cybersecurity, autonomous systems, 5G communications and advanced manufacturing.

“The Palmetto Tech Bridge provides an agile approach to identifying technology solutions alongside civilian innovators,” said Peter C. Reddy, NIWC Atlantic executive director. “To build a more lethal, resilient and rapidly innovating Naval and joint force, it’s critical to engage these commercial entities and work hard at turning the ingenuity of Americans from various industries and perspectives into the U.S. military’s latest technologies.”

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.

Charleston, S.C. (March 10, 2021) Don Sallee, Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic’s acquisition planning services manager, kicks off the oral presentations/judging portion of the Palmetto Tech Bridge Prize Challenge. Three winning companies were selected during the virtual event for their promising technologies in the areas of Robotic Process Automation and Positioning, Navigation and Timing. (U.S. Navy photo by Joe Bullinger/Released)
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