IoT Blog

mangOH Red Enables Public Safety Innovation at AT&T Civic Hackathon

by Ashish Syal, Chief Engineer
When it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), there is no shortage of brilliant ideas for applications that can help businesses and organizations operate more efficiently, provide better customer service and increase profitability. However, not all of these ideas come to fruition. Turning an idea into a prototype and then a product that can be produced on a large-scale isn’t an easy feat – it can be expensive and time consuming. We need to support companies large and small by enabling them to iterate quickly and in the most cost-effective way. 

That’s where mangOH® Red comes in. The feature-rich, industrial-grade, open source hardware platform makes designing and deploying cellular IoT prototypes and products quick and easy. Design house Glassboard recently proved this at the AT&T Civic Hackathon, where their IoT solution was named “Best Use of an AT&T Starter Kit.” 

Bringing Hardware Ideas to Life

Glassboard is a product design and development company that helps businesses of all sizes, from startup to Fortune 500, create and deploy solutions for their specific needs. With skill sets ranging from electrical and mechanical design to system integration and digital validation, the multi-disciplinary team works with customers to turn an idea into a physical product or a new service. 

When the Glassboard team was presented with the opportunity to participate in the AT&T Civic Hackathon this April, they couldn’t resist putting one of their own ideas – On Scene Equipment Tracking (ONSET) – to the test. 

On Scene Equipment Tracking Keeps First Responders Fully Stocked

The AT&T Civic Hackathon asks innovators to create solutions that help first responders better respond to emergencies and keep communities safe. Recognizing how vital it is for first responders to keep all of their equipment perfectly stocked and ready to go, Glassboard set out to develop an asset tracking solution designed to give first responders a mobile, real-time inventory of the items that they commonly carry. 

For example, imagine an ambulance responds to a car crash with multiple victims. Working urgently to treat victims and transport them to the hospital, the paramedics accidentally leave their EMS bag at the scene. Thanks to ONSET, the paramedics will be alerted that the bag is not in their vehicle when they leave the scene, prompting them to restock at their next hospital visit. The solution also updates the dispatcher on the status of first responders in the field, providing a view into inventory levels across an emergency event or region.

Most solutions on the market today are challenged by the lack of portability and integrated connectivity of RFID readers. But ONSET, aimed at organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), hospitals and local, state and federal disaster response personnel, is portable, battery-powered and connects to the first available cellular network. 

From Idea to Proof-of-Concept in 24 Hours 

Knowing that ONSET would be built within a short time frame – 24 hours at the hackathon – the Glassboard team needed to be sure that they could create the solution quickly and easily. After learning about mangOH Red at a Future Electronics event, the team was immediately attracted to the easy-to-use interface, custom boards and features, battery power and cellular connectivity of the open source hardware platform. 

“The mangOH red development kit allowed me and my hackathon team to quickly build and test a new and innovative mobile RFID and GPS tracking solution that will assist first responders in their response to disasters and emergencies," said Drew Westrick, VP of Technology, Glassboard.

With 90% of the prototype delivered out-of-the-box, Glassboard’s developers didn’t need to worry about the inherent pressure and time constraints of a hackathon. mangOH’s compact size – smaller than a credit card – built-in features, scalability and industrial-grade components ensured that the solution would meet the needs of first responders in the field.  

The open source hardware platform has already won the approval of developers in a broad range of industries, from Bosch’s connected agriculture, to automotive businesses tracking vehicles to innovators harnessing telemetry data from a solar boat

A Trusted Partner in Innovation

Being able to track important assets, whether it’s an EMS bag in an ambulance or flares in a firetruck, is key to the ability of first responders to perform their jobs. By enabling innovators like Glassboard to easily prototype quality IoT applications quickly and reliably, mangOH Red helps developers bring their ideas to life. 

To get started on your own IoT application, Start with Sierra. Our expert staff can propose the best solutions for your application. Visit for more information and to purchase mangOH Red.