This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Thursday 3 December 2020
Defence Science Technology Laboratory

Android App to run an offline library against substances, local and in real time

5 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 1 large

22 Completed applications

21 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Published
Thursday 19 November 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 26 November 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 3 December 2020 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Summary of the work
The authority requires an android application to be developed to allow chemical compounds to be entered for query against a local database. This will identify immediate and potential hazards locally and allow for export of a report to a remote site.
Latest start date
Monday 18 January 2021
Expected contract length
3 months to deliver by 22nd March 2021
Location
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Defence Science Technology Laboratory
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
" The application will primarily be used by non scientific personnel to determine the immediate threat to individuals based upon substances that are present. This will reduce the threat to individuals and identify if the substances are hazardous or require specialist PPE.

In addition to the safety of the personnel in the vicinity of the substances, having an application containing an offline library will allow them to understand if the potential combined result of a number of the substances could have been used to manufacture/ produce a resulting compound that could be hazardous to the personnel in the near vicinity, but also to inform relevant authorities if it is believed a hazardous compound has been developed"
Problem to be solved
Scientific Subject Matter Experts cannot be in multiple places simultaneously and it often takes time or communication to get an assessment of chemical compounds to determine hazard to personnel or wider threat.
Who the users are and what they need to do
" DSTL Scientists need to be able to:
-deploy users to sites where there may be hazardous chemicals
-give non scientific users the ability to easily identify chemicals/ substances based on appearance/ labels/ names
-create/ modify a database to ne held on a android platform for a user to query against.
-give non scientific users the ability to determine if there is a threat/ need for PPE and what that threat is (eg corrosive/ flammable)
-give non scientific users the ability to determine if the chemicals/ substances present could have been used to manufacture/ mix into a different hazardous substance
-give non scientific users an (as near real time as possible) indication of what the potential threat could be, how that decision was reached and what the confidence level is
-give the user the ability (where possible) to export the data via a mobile phone standard messaging to the scientific SME for confirmation"
Early market engagement
" There are some applications available open source. these require an internet connection and/ or a subscription.

The library behind the applications/ website are suitable but the need for online connectivity is not,

DSTL cannot add its own fields to these open source applications/ websites (both from an individual compound and potential resulting compound)

DSTL will not specify the applications that have been used to date."
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
" The team will consist of:

Scientific Subject Matter Expert
Technical Authority
Project Manager
End User Representative
End User"
Current phase
Discovery

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Work can be carried out remotely at the suppliers premises but the supplier will need to attend meetings and workshops at DSTL Porton Down and potentially another site in the West Midlands
Working arrangements
The Supplier will work with the existing scientific research team at DSTL Porton Down. Some on-site meetings and workshops will be required at DSTL Porton Down and possibly a further site in the West Midlands, but remote working will be the standard. Travel & Subsistence will not be paid for as part of the contract. Where suitable meetings can be held at the supplier location.
Security clearance
Staff with access to project information must have a minimum of NSV MOD Security Clearance (SC) checks in place at contract start.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • Experience of building Applicatons to run on an Android OS platform
  • Experience of creating android applications that are standalone - i.e. does not require an Internet connection
  • Experience of creating databases and database relationships
  • Experience of creating an application that can interface with the native functions of the android OS/ handset.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of creating technical apps for non technical users
  • Experience of working with CESG/ JSP 440 security guidelines
  • Experience of creating android applications that are forward and backward compatible

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
8
Proposal criteria
  • Suitability of the provided outline work-plan, identifying relevant tasks, staffing, and technical and management approaches.
  • Evidence that the proposed staff have the requisite expertise and work experience to undertake their identified tasks.
  • How well risks and dependencies have been identified and whether offered approaches to manage them are appropriate.
  • Evidence that the required delivery date will be met
Cultural fit criteria
  • work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Be able to work with a mixed team of Military, MOD Civil Service and contractor personnel
  • Display values and behaviours in line with MOD core values
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

65%

Cultural fit

5%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Are the questions to be answered here being used as an initial down select prior to a technical proposal?
Yes, that is correct.
2. Could you please advise what the budget for this project is
The Authority has not contracted this aspect of work previously. Competitive firm quotes are encouraged from bidders
3. If companies were to have a BA as the sole person to analyse documents shared by the you and gather requirements while the developers were to be committed to develop the application only, who do you believe will require SC in this instance? Would only the BA having security clearance suffice?
Providing the management/ administrator in the team have SC at contract start, and should follow on work be deemed suitable; other employees must be prepared to go through the NSV SC clearances. The company must be prepared to satisfy the authority in  their response that they are a: prepared to drop this and b: have the mechanism (ie list X access) to facilitate the additional vetting.
4. What’s the communication link to the SME? SMS, MMS, SMTP? Tactical radio?
For the purposes of this task the communication links will be the native functionality of the android handset.
5. Do users need to be trained and is this in scope for this phase?
User training should be catered for in this phase to include both use and administration of the application
6. How will conflicts be managed i.e. multiple field users sending/making updates?
It is proposed that any updates will be done in a central location by an admin level user. Updates will not be made ‘in the field’. Should an unknown compound/ chemical be identified and entered it should be included in the exported report back to the SME for the two o assess and if needed enter into the database. This could then be uploaded as an updated database back to the end user device.
7. What is the criteria for determining a “combined result”?
Where it is possible to produce more than one threat agent from the precursors found, the application should list all the threat agents which could be produced from the precursors.
8. Any specific native functions of interest, or particular issues of concern?
The ability to export to native apps in some manner ‘browse to’ ‘attach file’ to multiple applications native to the handset/ OS is the area of interest.
9. What aspects of compatibility are a concern? Communicating between different versions of an app, or ability to deploy a wide a range of OS versions and vendor devices, (for example Huawei with standard functions missing)?
The user has a mixed fleet of android handsets and associated OS. The application should not be limited to only a specific version of android or make of handset to allow the widest possible deployment of the application.
10. What is the key information (metadata) that needs to be captured for database records?
Any entries into the database should be tagged with DTG (date time group) as a minimum and location (if available - from native handset functionality)
11. How much intelligence is expected within the database?
Apologies, but the Authority is unaware on what this question refers to
12. "Are there any particular security requirements?
a. Do users need to login to the database?
b. Are there permission sets needed?
c. Read/write access?
d. Is encryption required?
"At this stage the task is to develop the application in a research environment and will not be subject to full penetration testing or accreditation. Should the task be successful in developing a usable application it is envisaged (without commitment) that it will be utilised on a in service platform with MOD accreditation. To this end it is encouraged to apply best practise of security at this time including:
-password login to application for user query entry, file export
-admin login for maintenance
-native function encryption "
13. Is there any requirement for a receiver system where messages are sent? i.e. an end point
The application should output a results file. The authority is not stipulating the format, however if the resulting file can have the option to be produced for transmission and review without the need for additional applications this would be encouraged. The option to send the raw data to a specialist back end application is not ruled out.
14. How frequently does the database need to be updated?
As and when new entries have been made. This will not be a scheduled event
15. Is a “Combined result” hard coded or derived using rules/algorithm or some expectation of AI?
Bidders are encouraged to propose solutions for database queries and subsequent results
16. "The requirements suggests a need is for a native android database application running stand-alone without ""requiring"" access to the internet.
Could you expand on the connectivity and integration requirements:
1. Installing from an appstore or via local copy.
2. Exchange of data between the local database and other devices or a central database.
3. Use of different types of communications to underpin data transfer, and on what basis?
"
" the app should be supplied as a APK to allow the authority to install on a platform with no access to open source App Store/ with no App Store installed

each device should operate as a standalone database/ independent fo any other device

query results should be output to native functions. "
17. "The requirements suggests a need is for a native android database application running stand-alone without ""requiring"" access to the internet.
Could you expand on the connectivity and integration requirements:
1. Installing from an appstore or via local copy.
2. Exchange of data between the local database and other devices or a central database.
3. Use of different types of communications to underpin data transfer, and on what basis?
"
" the app should be supplied as a APK to allow the authority to install on a platform with no access to open source App Store/ with no App Store installed

each device should operate as a standalone database/ independent fo any other device

query results should be output to native functions. "
18. "Do you have any requirements for specialist communications software to be incorporated,
such as for example 2iC Lean Services software. Even if there is no specific requirements for
this, would the ability to use a range of communications bearers and channels be a benefit?"
"Communications is currently out of scope of this task in regards to functionality not already available on the android platform.

The ability to transmit over Multiple communications bearers is of interest to the authority but not in scope of this task."
19. "Will devices be hand held in benign environment or normal office environment or do you
anticipate devices being deployed unattended into hazardous environments."
Devices will be utilised in benign and non permissive harsh environments
20. Is there an incumbent? Is there a preferred supplier? Is there a preferred device manufacturer.
"No incumbent
no preferred supplier
the user currently operates Samsung handsets"
21. "Do you envisage using standard COTS devices or are you intending to use bespoke or
re-engineered special purpose equipment? If so will there be a standard or bespoke version
of the Android OS, in which case will there be free of charge customer supplied equipment
for the duration of the project. Will there be any constraints to the design approach
if non-COTS products are used?"
For the initial task a standard COTS handset should be used. The user operates both standard COTS and modified (software) platforms. Should the task be successful implementation onto modified handsets can be investigated. Hardware is not going to be GFE.