Smart City Challenge hackathon winners announced; FCEDA’s Victor Hoskins is a Virginia Business ‘Heavy Hitter’


Smart City Challenge hackathon winners announced

The first Smart City Challenge, a virtual hackathon in which participants developed projects that use technology to address societal issues, announced the competition’s award winners following its February 25 live pitch competition.

The five Smart City Challenge winners are (click here to see the video pitch and executive summary for each finalist team’s project):

  • Autonomous Incident Response System: an incident response system that uses 911 geolocation and drones to improve public safety response times and reduce uses of force and casualties.
  • Databuoy: a gunfire detection system integrated with drones to decrease law enforcement response times to shooting incidents.
  • TRAXyL: optical fiber “painted” onto existing pavement to deliver high-speed broadband services.
  • VIA: an artificial intelligence assistant that guides people with vision loss.
  • Haven (student team): a wastewater analysis system that uses data to improve nutrition and address food insecurity.

Each winning team received $12,000 in cash; $10,000 in Amazon Web Services credits; seven months of free membership at Refraction, and free access to entrepreneurship programs at George Mason University.

In addition, Fairfax County and Fairfax City each announced their intention to move toward pilot projects with two Smart City Challenge teams. Smart City Works Venture Labs also offered two teams the opportunity to participate in its accelerator program.

Fairfax County Pilot Winners:

  • History through AR: History Through AR utilizes augmented reality technology as a tool for historical tourism.
  • KnishKits: an online marketplace that lets local businesses reach customers directly without having to pay a third-party platform. 

Fairfax City Pilot Winners:

  • Engage Art: an Augmented Reality (AR) technology unlocking the past, present and future of cities.
  • WISE Cities: theWISE app and physical interactive city space will be targeted to the elderly to include several realms including exercise, social interaction, and health.

Smart City Works Accelerator Winners:

  • Haven (student team): Haven is a data analytics consultancy on a mission to solve health challenges and ensure equity in health outcomes.
  • Onclave Networks: IoT cybersecurity company.

People’s Award Winners: (voted on by the audience)

  • VIA: an artificial intelligence assistant that guides people with vision loss.
  • Haven (student team): a wastewater analysis system that uses data to improve nutrition and address food insecurity.

Hosted by Refraction, Smart City Works, Fairfax County, Girls in Tech DC, Virginia Tech, and The Universities at Shady Grove, the Smart City Challenge teams focused on a wide range of high-impact solutions addressing the toughest smart city challenges in housing, transportation, health, broadband, energy, water infrastructure and public safety.

Launched on January 23, the month-long innovation competition attracted 49 teams from across the nation that worked with Challenge mentors and experts to refine their solutions and pitches. At the February 25 event, 11 finalist teams pitched their projects to a panel of six judges who selected the winning teams based on “innovation, regional and sector impact, practicality, and equity,” according to the Smart City Challenge.

Judging the entries were Fairfax County Supervisor Walter Alcorn (Hunter Mill District); Lee DeLong, division president, Mid-Atlantic Region, Clark Construction; Kathryn Falk, vice president and market leader, Cox Communications; David Heyman, CEO, Smart City Works Venture Labs; Anne Khademian, executive director, The Universities at Shady Grove; and Esther Lee, CEO, Refraction.

“The inaugural Smart City Challenge has proven that we have great innovative minds in our region working on the most pressing challenges in our communities,” said Lee, who is also a former secretary of commerce and trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia and a past member of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority Commission. “We were overwhelmed by the many creative and powerful solutions we received. We want to thank all of our partners, mentors, and judges for their hard work, commitment, and generosity. We can’t wait to host an even more impactful Challenge next year.”

Click here to learn more about the Challenge. And check out Tysons Reporter to see its coverage of the event.


Fairfax County EDA’s Victor Hoskins named on Virginia Business ‘Heavy Hitters’ list of business leaders

Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax EDA was named in Virginia Business magazine’s annual list of “Heavy hitters: The 2021 list of business leaders shaping Virginia” for the second year.

“Since landing Amazon.com Inc.’s $2.5 billion HQ2 East Coast headquarters deal for Arlington County in 2018, Hoskins has been laser-focused on bringing economic prosperity not only to Fairfax County, where he moved in August 2019, but to the entire Northern Virginia region,” Virginia Business said. “In 2019, he started working with 10 Northern Virginia jurisdictions to establish the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance, which will help the region compete for large projects and promote economic development cooperation.

“In 2019, Hoskins took his magic touch to Fairfax County, which, since his arrival, has snagged major deals from Microsoft Corp., Google LLC, Facebook Inc., Amazon Web Services and Volkswagen Group of America,” the publication noted. “A $64 million Microsoft investment will establish a new software development and R&D regional hub at Fairfax County’s Reston Town Center, creating 1,500 jobs, and Volkswagen Group of America Inc. signed a 20-year lease agreement in Reston Town Center, where it will be the anchor tenant in Boston Properties’ under-construction 1.1 million square-foot development.”

The March issue of Virginia Business also has a Q&A with Hoskins that focuses on regional collaboration and economic recovery. The fitting headline: “As resilient as you get.” Click here to read it.

Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority

“I am honored to be included among this group of influential business leaders,” Hoskins said. “All of these leaders contribute immensely to the dynamic economic growth across the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

The 2021 Heavy Hitters list “includes entrants reflecting the importance of diverse leadership, as well as the continuing and growing significance of Northern Virginia’s government contracting community to the commonwealth’s overall economic health,” the magazine said. The list also includes these Northern Virginia leaders:

March 4, 2021