In emergency and life-threatening situations, it is extremely important for first responders to know who they are helping, and that they are authenticated and authorized to identify and help those in need. Several companies have risen to the occasion in tackling the implementation of digital identity for first responder technology.

One such company that has recently been in the limelight is Waverley Labs, a cybersecurity and digital risk management company. In early August, Waverley Labs announced that it has been awarded a $1 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. They were chosen as one of two small businesses that will develop technologies to support the security, scalability, and interoperability within a first responder organization’s information technology infrastructure in the second phase of the DHS’s Identity, Credential and Access Management (ICAM) On-the-Fly SBIR project.

In particular, Waverley Labs was awarded the contract after their preliminary work on the development of a mobile application prototype that allowed first responders to scan their credentials and get them digitally signed by the sponsor of the credential. With the contract, Waverley Labs is set to continue research and development and begin deployment of their Dynamic AccessID Network and Toolkit to further improve identity verification and proofing as well as access management for crisis and emergency response managers.

Oasys International Corporation, an information technology consulting firm, was the second company who received the DHS grant through the Small Business Innovation Research Program. As a corporation that specializes in solving technological problems using a Structured Ability framework, Oasys aims to continue development of their Event Management System, a system designed to support enhanced and streamlined ICAM functionality for first responders at large planned public events.

Together, the work being done by both Waverley Labs and Oasys International Corporation represent two important applications of digital identity for first responder technology. Both solutions create progress towards the goals of the ICAM On-the-Fly project, with Waverley Labs securing an identity-based perimeter for first responders to access databases and personal information, and Oasys International Corporation managing application access and what data responders can and cannot see.

First Responder Digital ID Solutions

The applications of digital identity for first responder technologies are rapidly expanding, with companies developing digital ID solutions for all aspects of first-responder needs. Waverley Labs’ Dynamic AccessID Network and Toolkit and Oasys International Corporation’s Event Management System are two examples; other companies in the space include RapidSOS and First Responder Technologies.

More on Waverley Labs

To delve deeper into Waverley Labs’ Dynamic AccessID Network and Toolkit, the solution enables emergency responder Incident Managers to quickly and efficiently identify, vet and approve first responder personnel based on existing provided identification credentials. The infrastructure allows for the dynamic association of disparate credentials and devices with first responder systems and physical security systems. The Network plans to provide not only a multi-jurisdictional trust mechanism for any specific emergency, but also a secure way to onboard first responders to use said emergency systems.

The Dynamic AccessID Network will help alleviate challenges faced by first responders, including assisting cooperation between first responder communities, successfully establishing a consent-related trust mechanism, integrating third-party cards and credentials, as well as allowing for the specific onboarding of applications for first responder communities. Furthermore, with the dynamic nature of the Network, the necessary security infrastructure will be capable of rapid deployment, and the risks to external systems and databases will be minimized. Once officially implemented, the Network aims to provide the necessary identity proofing capability for a Zero Trust implementation that will aid in the network’s future commercialization.

“For the first time, crisis and emergency managers can stand up secure ephemeral networks, dynamically federate participants and onboard privately-owned systems on-the-fly while ensuring that access control continues to be managed by the system owners,” said Juanita Koilpillai, founder and CEO of Waverley Labs. “This much needed ability to proof identities as part of the ICAM process represents the last mile in achieving a true Zero Trust solution.”

Rapid Response Industry Players

On top of Waverley’s and Oasys’ work are solutions from companies like RapidSOS and First Responder Technologies. As a technology-focused company for public safety, RapidSOS has embarked on projects including working with first responders to build the emergency response data program, delivering critical, real-time data including precise location data, medical profiles, and sensor data to 911 to empower improved emergency response.

In particular, RapidSOS’s solutions include Data Connect, which enables companies and organizations to send incident and user-specific data directly to 911, Voice + Data Connect, which also shared specific data with emergency contacts, and Monitoring + Data Connect, which simultaneously shares data with first responders and professional monitoring centers who call on the customer’s behalf. These secure, privacy-focused solutions help first responders access important data instantly, allows for friends and family to verify emergencies, and drastically reduces the number of false alarms with data-driven verification.

Another prevalent company in the industry is First Responder Technologies, a company dedicated to developing tools to enable first responders and security professionals to more effectively protect the lives of innocent people against acts of violence in residences, commercial premises and public spaces. Their main solution focuses include Sentinel Wifi Detection Device & the Sentinel Vision smart AI camera (which are part of the entire Sentinel security system) which utilize machine learning and artificial intelligence to generate early warning alarms for potential threats and detect concealed weapons in a cost-effective way. This is useful to improve CCTV footage usability, and in places like TSA security checkpoints, concert venue entrances, schools, and more.

The applications of digital identity in the world of first responder technology are critical, with solutions ranging across all aspects of the first responder industry in order to help improve public safety.