Who doesn’t know the frustration of trying to find the exact information on a smartphone exactly when you need it? The biggest hassle is we usually have to use a smartphone the way we browse on a computer, searching for bits of information and clicking on links only to find that’s not quite what we’re looking for, so we go back and search again.
Through his company Flybits, which was started at Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ), Hossein Rahnama, 32, has been working to make mobile software that takes into account your location or time of day to immediately find information that will be most relevant to any search you attempt. Rather than you adapting to the slow limits of what your smartphone can do, Flybits software adapts the smartphone to continually understand your needs and be ready with any information you might request.
Say, you’re travelling and just landed at an airport. The software already knows which airport you’re at because it’s “location aware”. When you search for “car rental”, your smartphone guides you right to the rental counters. Or, you’re in downtown Toronto and want the nearest Starbucks. Presto – a map leads you to the closest one.
Flybits’ cloud-based software is part of a new wave in computing called “context-aware” and Rahnama’s platform is so advanced in this field that he was awarded a spot on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) annual Technology Review international list of 35 Innovators Under 35. And getting on that list is a really big deal since past names on it include Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin!
The Tech Review’s description of Rahnama’s software says his work is “changing the way people retrieve information on mobile devices by placing it in context using factors such as location, social network, time, even how much battery life is left. A phone becomes a transit assistant at a station, forwards calls when you have a meeting, or only lets family and friends find you after office hours.”
Flybits is already being used by the Paris Transit Authority to provide useful information to its passengers and Ontario’s Metrolink is using it too for its GO Mobile service.
Rahnama is one busy guy. Besides being the founder and CEO of Flybits, he’s also associate director of Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone which is an incubation hub for entrepreneurs in digital media innovation, collaboration and commercialization. On top of that, he’s the research director of the Ubiquitous Computing Group at Ryerson which is a specialized research lab within the Department of Computer focusing on the convergence of artificial intelligence, computer mediated social networks and mobile computing.
Tech entrepreneurs like Rahnama are a growing breed. They have a vision for what’s possible and won’t stop until they achieve it. If you’re interested in what it takes to have a career as an entrepreneur see the CareerMash Tech Entrepreneur profile.