TORONTO (May 22, 2012) — Flybits CEO and Founder Hossein Rahnama was among the entrepreneurs of Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) to meet the Prince of Wales and demonstrate his cloud-based and context-aware software solution.
Flybits Inc., a Mars Innovation spin-off company from Ryerson University where Rahanama is a professor and research director of the DMZ, has developed an innovative, context-aware software as a service framework called FARE (Flybits Activity Recognition Engine).
It allows mobile application developers to rapidly build intelligent mobile applications that address the needs of multiple vertical markets without excessive infrastructure requirements.
Flybits’ mobile software framework combines artificial intelligence, context-aware computing, and principles in crowd sourcing and social network analytics to permit a user’s mobile device to respond to situational factors while conserving their privacy.
Rahnama demonstrated several Flybits technologies for His Royal Highness.
Flybits Magic Signage: Using a combination of augmented reality and context processing, people at London Olympics, for example, could use landmarks, images and this technology to find points of interest.
- The demonstration showed how tourists might go from Buckingham Palace to Clarence House and then to Westminster Abbey.
- Using the Prince of Wales’ coat of arms as a context object, Rahnama retrieved a video of him and translated it, in real time, for thousands of viewers worldwide. The sample video footage used was Prince Charles’ recent appearance on BBC Scotland to read the weather forecast.
- Rahnama showed Prince Charles how this technology can keep buildings’ architecture intact yet allow them to become smart and context-aware without sophisticated electronic infrastructure.
Accessible smartphone mobile services: This technology allows low-vision and blind passengers to navigate transit systems more effectively.
- Accessible smartphone mobile services have many potential applications for public spaces, including tourism, educational settings and public transportation systems.
- Rahnama is currently working with GO Transit and the CNIB to release series of applications for blind and low vision passengers in Ontario.
- Go Transit is running a version of this application with more than 100,000 users.
Robotics and Mobile Technology: A programmable humanoid robot running an instance of the Flybits framework used context awareness and facial-recognition to greet Prince Charles. After bowing, the robot welcomed Prince Charles to Toronto and handed him an augmented reality code that he then used to send a tweet using his Clarence House Twitter account (@ClarenceHouse).
The visit also coincides with Flybits’ launch of a corporate presence in the United Kingdom. Its London office will be located in East London Tech City, which is also known as the Silicon Roundabout.
“Flybits’ London office will allow us to more effectively target the UK and European market and build on existing relationships with our current European partners,” said Rahnama. “Toronto and London are becoming major tech hubs with very supportive infrastructures. We would like Flybits to exemplify how collaborations between Canada and UK can produce fast-growing ICT companies.”
Flybits has received a great amount of support from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and will continue this collaboration as European operations intensify.
“Flybits is at the forefront of the mobile computing world,” said Henry Long, UKTI investment officer. “They are the type of revolutionary tech company the UK is keen to attract.”
His Royal Highness spent an hour meeting with teams of researchers, students and alumni who are working in Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone to develop innovative, entrepreneurial ideas into businesses.
Education and entrepreneurship opportunities for young people are two of Prince Charles’s interests.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Glen Murray and Ryerson President and Vice Chancellor Sheldon Levy escorted Prince Charles during his tour.
The visit is part of a four-day tour of Canada to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.
Flybits is a software company that designs and develops cloud-based and context-aware mobile solutions that are adaptive and scalable. Flybits is a world leader in developing front end/back end mobile application development platforms that simultaneously support both the consumer and enterprise market sectors. Flybits FARE (Flybits Activity Recognition Engine) is a proprietary, patent protected solution that allows developers to rapidly and cost-effectively build and deploy intelligent and adaptive applications. FARE allows companies to graphically “plug in” their business rules and compose new behaviors for their mobile applications in different situations and locations. Leveraging many years R&D, Flybits solutions have been used to develop and deploy large-scale solutions in verticals such as: opportunistic social networks, retail solutions, e-health, unified communications, intelligent transport systems, airports simplified passenger travel solutions and manufacturing.
About MaRS Innovation
MaRS Innovation (MI) is the commercialization agent for the exceptional discovery pipeline from 16 leading Ontario academic institutions. As a single-entry point to total member research activity of $1B in annual research and development, MI provides an easy gateway for investors and licensees who wish to gain access to technology assets in Ontario. Supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence, by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and by its member institutions, MI is a transformational partnership that turns research strengths into real commercial opportunities. MI’s portfolio includes the most promising assets and advances commercialization into global markets through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation.
About Ryerson University
Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to 28,000 students, including 2,000 master’s and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and more than 130,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past four years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada’s leading provider of university-based adult education. For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca.
About the Digital Media Zone
Opened in April 2010, Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone is a multidisciplinary workspace for young entrepreneurs infused with the energy and resources of downtown Toronto. Set atop Yonge-Dundas Square, this hub of digital media innovation, collaboration and commercialization is home to both entrepreneurial startups and industry solution-providers. With access to overhead and business services, students and alumni can fast-track their product launches, stimulating Canada’s emerging digital economy through spending and job creation. Since its launch, the Digital Media Zone has incubated and accelerated 43 companies to initiate more than 79 projects. Currently the Zone houses 165 innovators in 38 teams. For more information on the Zone, visit www.ryerson.ca/dmz.
About UK Trade & Investment
UK Trade and Investment is a Government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in an increasingly global economy and assists overseas companies in bringing their high-quality investment to the UK’s dynamic economy — acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. With professional advisers across 96 international markets, offering bespoke services tailored to the needs of individual businesses to maximise their international success, UK Trade & Investment provides support and advice to investors at all stages of the business planning cycle, from inception to completion through expertise and contacts within a network of international specialists throughout the UK, and diplomatic posts around the world.
By Elizabeth Monier-Williams, marketing and communications manager.