Hossein Rahnama, CEO of Flybits, a MaRS Innovation spin-off company, appeared on CBC’s Lang and O’Leary Exchange on August 24, 2012.
Watch Rahnama’s interview on CBC’s Media Player. The interview begins at the 13:40 mark and runs to 19:30.
Rahnama, who is also a professor at Ryerson University and and research director at Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone, was recently named to the MIT Technology Review’s prestigious 35 Inventors Under 35 list for 2012 along with fellow MaRS Innovation inventor Joyce Poon.
He describes his context-aware mobile technology, the importance of adapting research to solve real-world problems, the advantages to running a start-up in Toronto, and growing Flybits while keeping the business in Canada.
Here’s what Rahnama had to say about how Flybits fits into the emerging future of mobile technology:
“The challenge that the mobile world has now, and our point of view, is that the relevance is not there. So you see a lot of location-based apps and they are losing their relevance because they only process location.
“So what we are trying to do is to say, we can help companies, more on the business-to-enterprise or business-to-business side, let’s say for workforce management, asset management, but also use the same technology to allow people to communicate better with each other.
“You go to a train station, your phone will turn into a transit assistant. You take the same app to the airport, it becomes an airport assistant.
“Protect your privacy, but deliver relevant data to people — so that’s what we’re trying to do on Flybits.”
Rahnama also references the government programs that have supported his fledgling company, such as MaRS Innovation, the Federal Economic Development Agency (FedDev), the Ontatio Centres of Excellence (OCE), and the MaRS Discovery District, among others.
He also notes the changing landscape for entrepreneurial undergraduate and graduate students, and suggests universities should recognize entrepreneurship activity with academic credits.
Posted by Elizabeth Monier-Williams, marketing and communications manager.