Resilience Testbed

RISE brokers access to the region’s resilience testbed to innovators and businesses interested in testing, demonstrating new resilience-building solutions. RISE shepherds businesses through the testing, demonstration, and production processes by brokering between regional assets and innovators, identifying test sites, facilitating access to data and key stakeholders, and securing city permitting to allow equipment to be installed on city property.



The first step in establishing this testbed is the evaluation and selection of the communication networks. There are many currently commercially available and, in order to select the solution best for its needs, RISE is establishing a 4-month evaluation program to install several candidate networks for evaluation with a view to a system procurement at the end of the pilot project. Six vendors will each install a total of 6 wireless sensors, and RISE’s evaluation team will document the performance. The networks will be fully in place in early March 2018.

In 2018 RISE established and conducted a 4-month evaluation program to assess wireless communication systems to support the deployment of water sensors. In the future such sensors will support the development of mobile apps to provide residents and businesses with real-time awareness about road flooding. Five businesses installed their gateway radios and wireless sensors on City of Norfolk buildings, lamp posts and bridges. During the 4-month pilot period, RISE evaluated systems for:
• Ease of installation and operation
• Reliability
• Security
• Ease of data delivery and management
• Cost


RISE is providing support to three flood sensor companies funded by Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants through the Department of Homeland Security. In all, 30+ sensors in 10 different locations are being tested and evaluated in Norfolk’s urban environment over six months in 2018-2019. RISE is coordinating with the City of Norfolk, vendors and DHS to coordinate the use of the city as a resilience test bed for this project while advancing the City’s economic development goals and fostering the commercialization of low-cost flood sensors with DHS. Learn more here.


RISE is under contract with the University of Virginia and the City of Norfolk to coordinate the use of the city as a test bed for the National Science Foundation-funded dMIST project. dMIST will develop a system to assist municipal decision makers and stakeholders in day-to-day operations to mitigate the short-term impacts of road flooding. It will also offer decision makers novel ways of testing “what if” scenarios that stretch across interdependent infrastructure systems in order to guide how large investments are used to adapt infrastructure systems to a more resilient future state. Learn more here.

Bridge Installation

water sensors Norfolk VA

Lamp Post Installation

water sensor norfolk
norfolk water sensors

LoRa Gateway

water level testing norfolk