City un­veils new real-time com­mut­ing app

Orleans Star - - LOCAL NEWS - Cather­ine Kitts cather­ine.kitts@tc.tc Twit­ter @catkitts

The City of Ottawa and Ryerson Univer­sity spinoff com­pany Fly­bits of­fi­cially re­leased a mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion called Ottawa Nav, Mon­day. The com­mut­ing tool aims to de­liver up-to-the-minute, cus­tom­ized road in­for­ma­tion to com­muters. The app is free and avail­able for iOS and An­droid de­vices.

"Our city is go­ing through sig­nif­i­cant trans­for­ma­tion over the next few years to keep our econ­omy mov­ing,"said Mayor Jim Wat­son. "This new app of­fers another means to con­nect with res­i­dents and pro­vide ad­di­tional on-de­mand in­for­ma­tion to give res­i­dents bet­ter nav­i­ga­tion through Ottawa and to help re­duce traf­fic con­ges­tion."

Fly­bits has mapped the city into a mul­ti­tude of zones, as­so­ci­at­ing con­tex­tual data with ev­ery lo­ca­tion. As com­muters move through­out the city, they can re­ceive use­ful and rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion in real time based on their lo­ca­tion and travel pref­er­ences. Man­aged through a se­cure web con­sole, City staff can pro­vide up-to-the minute up­dates and no­ti­fi­ca­tions within a zone—mak­ing any crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion in­stantly avail­able.

"The so­lu­tion is like a mini-trav­eler in­for­ma­tion cen­tre right on their mo­bile de­vice,"said Coun­cil­lor Keith Egli, Chair of the Trans­porta­tion Com­mit­tee. "The sys­tem is flex­i­ble to en­able City staff to com­mu­ni­cate the rel­e­vant trav­eler in­for­ma­tion based on the mo­torist’s lo­ca­tion and the sit­u­a­tion, in a safe, re­li­able and con­ve­nient fash­ion."

The app’s func­tion­al­ity dif­fers de­pend­ing on whether the user is a driver or a pas­sen­ger. While driv­ing, the mo­bile app de­liv­ers rel­e­vant au­di­ble in­for­ma­tion to users in­form­ing them of events oc­cur­ring in their area of travel, in­clud­ing con­struc­tion projects, col­li­sions and other un­planned in­ci­dents.

Ottawa Nav can also pro­vide, where ap­pli­ca­ble, no­ti­fi­ca­tions of a re­duced speed limit in con­struc­tion and school zones. While in pas­sen­ger mode, users can tap into the City and Min­istry of Trans­porta­tion of On­tario’s traf­fic cam­eras to ac­cess real time im­ages to view traf­fic con­di­tions near their im­me­di­ate lo­ca­tion.

This sys­tem was de­signed and de­vel­oped by Fly­bits Inc., a Ryerson Univer­sity spinoff com­pany and Cana­dian leader in con­textaware in­tel­li­gent mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions. The Fly­bits plat­form fea­tures scal­able soft­ware that en­ables City st aff to share per­ti­nent ap­pli­ca­tions, web pages and other in­for­ma­tion in­stantly with­out any in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment or de­mands. Pow­ered by Fly­bits, Ottawa Nav is a one-stop-shop plat­form for res­i­dents seek­ing trav­eler and mo­bil­ity in­for­ma­tion in the City.

"Ottawa is the first city to de­ploy a con­textaware com­put­ing strat­egy,"ex­plained Dr. Hos­sein Rah­nama, Founder of Fly­bits - Di­rec­tor of Re­search and In­no­va­tion - Ryerson Dig­i­tal Me­dia Zone.

The Ottawa Nav ap­pli­ca­tion is now avail­able for free on the Ap­ple App­Store and Google Play for An­droid de­vices. Other plat­forms will be­come avail­able in the fu­ture.

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