ANDRO & MV EDGE Receive FuzeHub Grant; Plan to Test “2ndNet”
ROME — The team of ANDRO Computational Solutions, LLC―a scientific research and development company, in collaboration with the Mohawk Valley EDGE―a nonprofit economic development organization, was recently awarded a $50,000 prize under FuzeHub’s Manufacturing Grants Program and its Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund. The grant will be used to conduct a pilot of “2ndNet”―a wireless rapid alert and intelligent emergency management system for mitigating active threats in schools and public spaces.
FuzeHub, a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Albany, annually sponsors multiple grant opportunities providing resources for startup, small, and mid-size manufacturers and technology companies in New York State. Their funding programs and resources are targeted at the manufacturing and technology sectors to accelerate manufacturing competitiveness and technology commercialization. FuzeHub’s funding partners include Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation.
The Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund provides over $1 million in annual allocations of direct assistance for manufacturing, research and development, technology and entrepreneurial endeavors that support activities designed to spur technology development and commercialization across the state. A total of 10 business teams were awarded $50,000 grants during a recent first round conducted earlier this year. Each collaborative team consists of a small-to-medium industry manufacturer, not-for-profit partner, and may include participation by other startups and medium-sized companies.
Dr. Andrew Drozd, president of ANDRO stated, “The grant represents a strategic lead investment by New York State in small business technology developed here in the Mohawk Valley, derived from Federal/Defense Department research; this investment opens the door to private investor matching to bring the prototype to full manufacturing and commercialization readiness.”
ANDRO productizes software defined radios and embedded software products. The company concentrates on prototype product development for pre-production readiness. ANDRO has access to a network of industry partners to help test, validate, and field protype capabilities for a variety of military and commercial customers.
When asked about the “2ndNet” name, Drozd said, “We already have a nationwide broadband emergency management system called FirstNet operated by AT&T. The 2ndNet provides a secondary safety net, an extra layer of protection. With the exponential rise in school violence and active shooter threats, an urgent need exists for reliable personal communication devices that provide real-time situational awareness during crisis situations.”
Drozd further explained, “Any delay in responding to an active threat in our schools is a threat to the lives of our children and safety of teachers because of a lack of two-way communications and real-time situational awareness. It starts with the rapid detection of an emerging threat and its precise location all the way up to alerting school officials, law enforcement and first responders of the situation without delay. We exploit military technology to fill the gap―a logical step of repurposing a military solution in reply to a ‘demand signal’ to meet a civilian sector need.”
Per Drozd and according to educators who contacted ANDRO during the latter part of 2022, most solutions on the market lack desirable features for rapid alert, communications and coordination. The educators became aware of ANDRO’s wireless Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) technologies and wanted to explore whether such solutions could provide improved rapid alert and robust communications for delivering situational awareness when and where needed.
ANDRO’s mesh networking expertise was identified as the key enabler in the roadmap for a 2ndNet deployment in schools and draws on their patented SPEARLink® radio technology. SPEARLink® was developed for the U.S. Army by ANDRO’s Marconi-Rosenblatt AI/ML Innovation Lab led by director Dr. Jithin Jagannath and co-director Anu Jagannath. SPEARLink® devices establish an adaptable mesh network to assure broadband coverage, connectivity, and availability even if traditional broadband access (Wi-Fi, Internet, cell) is sparse or disabled. “The idea is to ensure broad coverage 24/7, when and where it is needed, to rapidly alert all parties concerned, and assure sustainable communications to rapidly and reliably negate the threat,” said Drozd.
ANDRO operates a SPEARLink® fulfillment center to process customer orders and seeks to expand its operations to serve the future 2ndNet market with the help of the FuzeHub grant.
Per Drozd, the 2ndNet is anticipated to demonstrate an unparalleled breakthrough in rapid alert/response to save lives. He envisions one or more pilot projects under the grant program over the next 9-10 months to install, test, and demonstrate the 2ndNet system in participating schools to gather performance metrics and incrementally improve performance towards achieving market readiness.
Drozd noted that the collaboration with the Mohawk Valley EDGE provides a key differentiator and strategic benefit for the project. Tim Fitzgerald, EDGE Vice President of Economic Development, is ANDRO’s not-for-profit counterpart on the project collaborating to help develop a sustainable commercialization plan focused on manufacturing readiness and rolling out strategies to realize economic benefits. Fitzgerald adds, “We hope to guide the steps toward manufacturability and profitability, including matchmaking support to ensure a successful project outcome.”
Visit https://fuzehub.com/ for more information on all of the first-round grants awarded.
CONTACT: Amy Singletary, Community Relations & Communications, ANDRO Computational Solutions, LLC | Phone: (315) 527-6030 | Email: email@example.com