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CivTechSA Announces 2021 Residency and City’s Civic Challenges

Published on Friday, May 7, 2021

CivTechSA Announces 2021 Residency and City’s Civic Challenges

Registration to Apply NOW OPEN

CONTACT: Cailin Cowart, caitlin.cowart@sanantonio.gov
Michelle Vigil, michelle.vigil@sanantonio.gov

 

At A Glance:

  • CivTechSA has announced the launch of the 2021 Residency, with registration available here.
  • There are four main challenges to be solved, including sustaining business during construction, carbon footprint for energy retrofits, power outage emergency communication, and hand sanitizer refill.
  • There will be a Q&A for interested applicants, virtually, on May 13.

 
SAN ANTONIO (May 7, 2021)  – CivTechSA, powered by the City of San Antonio and Geekdom, have announced the 2021 Residency, which will provide the opportunity for respondents to transform the City using technology and business ideas to build innovative solutions to civic challenges.
 
Registration for the Residency Program opened on May 5, 2021. Interested parties are invited to apply to the program to support enhancements in various City departments. Registration will be made available at www.civtech-sa.com/residency-program/.
 
A Virtual Challenge Q&A session for the Residency will be held on May 13. In order for a vendor, startup, or company to be considered for the Residency Program, proposals for the selected Residency Challenges must be submitted by June 9, 2021.
 
Last year, CivTechSA's Year 3 Residency Program saw much success with Rubicon Global after creating and testing a cutting-edge technology solution that helps reduce the amount of contamination entering the recycling stream and helping the City to reach its recycling rate goal of 60% by 2025. RedSquared Consulting, LLC also very successfully created the framework towards a solution in response to the City's challenge of finding a unified interface by which citizens of San Antonio can interact with various City services. The solution will provide a one-stop mobile app where citizens can pay for and request various City services, connect with related vendors, and connect with events and organizations in the community in a simplified way. During the second half of the Residency, RedSquared partnered up with local civic technology company, Irys, to develop their app prototype.
 
For more details on CivTech SA and the Residency program and registration, visit: https://www.civtech-sa.com.
 
The challenges are as follows:
 
#1 Sustaining Business During Construction: The Department of Public Works
Construction, routine maintenance, and utility emergencies can negatively affect businesses
due to road closures, barricades, and a disruption to their accessibility. Customers often do not know about these instances before venturing out to the businesses, and often do not have the necessary information to navigate a business that is still open and accessible even when it appears to not be. This can lead to major loss in revenue, and long-term customer gains that affect businesses beyond the time of the obstruction.
 
The Challenge to Answer: How can businesses communicate vital information to customers during periods of construction, so customers know that they are open, and how to navigate any physical barriers?
 
#2 Carbon Footprint for Energy Retrofits: The Department of Historic Preservation
The Office of Historic Preservation has worked to establish itself as a resource for owners of aging or historic buildings. We frequently receive inquiries on how to make existing structures more energy efficient, especially in our warming climate. Often, the initial thought from property owners is to remove original materials, but research has proven that less invasive retrofits provide a greater return on investment while aiding in efficiency. This also prevents the
detriments of unnecessary construction waste, which is the largest single-stream waste source in the United States.
 
However, there is currently no way to quickly quantify or visualize the outcomes of various available energy efficiency interventions, including: investment cost versus rate of return; energy and water use impact; and total overall life cycle impact, from resource extraction to manufacturing to installation to projected end of life. There are also no central resource bank listing service providers for energy upgrades, including City programs.
 
This challenge is in direct response to the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan locally and the global challenge of climate change and should help the city meet CAAP goals and empower property owners with the knowledge to make the best decisions possible for the longevity of their investment.
 
The Challenge to Answer: How do we help property owners and developers calculate the carbon footprint of renovation projects and suggest ways to make an existing or older home greener through adaptation strategies?
 
#3 Power Outage Emergency Communication: The Department of Innovation
After an unprecedented winter storm blew into Texas leaving inches of snow and below freezing temperatures, our state's power infrastructure gave way leading to severe power outages, and little to no running water for many. Residents and service providers were unprepared for the severe weather event, as emergency alerts leading up to the winter storm only addressed the freezing temperatures and hazardous road conditions. As events rapidly unfolded, residents were left without information on the status of public services, and relied primarily on neighbors, family, friends, and social media to report, seek, and find answers and help. Each public service entity and emergency response service used its own communication channels to provide sparse information, mostly via social media.
 
The Challenge to Answer: During a sudden crisis or emergency event in which widespread power outages occur, how can emergency status updates from various public service entities be effectively communicated to residents?
 
How do we help residents report issues, data, or resources to the City to identify and expedite emergency response? How can the City identify/track crisis, crowdsource reporting and share resources?
 
#4 Hand Sanitizer Refill: The Department of Aviation
The City of San Antonio Aviation Department manages hundreds of hand sanitizer stations throughout the San Antonio International Airport. When the levels of the sanitizer stations get low, the device provides a notification. However, this notification can only be seen upon employees visiting the physical sanitizer station unit. This creates inefficiencies in employee’s use of time checking stations for notifications, as well as prioritizing the distribution of sanitizer station refills based on the actual need.
 
The Challenge to Answer: How do we efficiently refill hand sanitizer stations without employees visiting each unit to check its status? How can that solution be used for other use cases?
 
The Residency Program provides a unique opportunity to connect startups with City Departments in a way that fosters a relationship and relevant development for innovation and improvement. To learn more, visit https://www.civtech-sa.com.
 

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