A TR35 Award Recipient – Flybits Founder Hossein Rahnama

TORONTO, August 21, 2012 —- Ryerson University today announced that Dr. Hossein Rahnama has been recognized as part of MIT’s Technology Review magazine’s 2012 list of the world’s top innovators under the age of 35. He is honoured for his groundbreaking work in context-aware and cloud computing platforms that can provide relevant information to mobile users while giving them full control on their privacy. Rahnama was selected as a member of the 2012 TR35 by a panel of expert judges and the editorial staff of Technology Review, who evaluated more than 250 nominations from around the world.

The TR35 recognizes the world’s greatest young innovators, spanning biotechnology, computer and electronics hardware and software, energy, the Web, and nanotechnology, among other emerging fields. Past winners of the award have included Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, creator of Twitter. All of the TR35 winners for 2012 will be featured the September/October issue of Technology Review and online at

“We are extremely proud of Hossein’s well-deserved recognition by MIT’s Technology Review. This is a great example of an innovative entrepreneur who applies his academic research not only to teaching and helping students, but also in pursuit of economic opportunities,” said Sheldon Levy, president of Ryerson University. “One of our goals as a university is to create an environment where our graduates can stay in Toronto and compete in the global economy. Hossein’s success demonstrates that by connecting our best, brightest and most passionate innovators to each other and to business, we can create an environment of unparalleled experiential learning and world-leading innovation.”

Whereas now we search for information on the Internet, Flybits technology creates geographical areas that intelligently understand the user’s location, context, needs and preferences then proactively provides helpful information exactly when the user requires it. For example, Flybits can create a zone at an airport. Once travelers enter that area, their smartphones recognize their location, context and intentions and deliver real-time, personalized information they need—be it about parking, flight times, gate directions, or nearby dining options. The Flybits app, being context aware, can easily shift to become a shopping concierge when the same user visits a mall and a transit assistant as they enter a train or subway station.


“I’m very honoured to be recognized among my distinguished peers as part of the TR35,” said Dr. Hossein Rahnama. “Flybits technology is changing how people use their mobile devices and helping them to address the issue of information overload by understanding their surrounding context and respecting their privacy. I am proud that this redefinition of innovation is emerging from Ryerson in Ontario.”

The patent-protected Flybits engine works to understand the user’s intentions and adapts accordingly using artificial intelligence techniques. Under this framework, every single building in the world can become an intelligent application store, delivering ubiquitous relevance to each user. Personal information is always kept confidential and privacy is respected. Flybits adheres to the principles and guidelines of Privacy by Design, a globally recognized Ontario program that puts privacy first.

“This year’s TR35 recipients are applying technology to some of our generation’s greatest challenges, and innovating to improve the way we live and work,” said Jason Pontin, editor-in-chief and publisher of Technology Review. “We look forward to watching these young technology leaders grow and advance over the coming years.”

Rahnama is a Ryerson professor in the RTA School of Media in the Faculty of Communication & Design as well as the Director of Research and Innovation in the Digital Media Zone (DMZ), Ryerson’s hub of digital media entrepreneurship and innovation. He is also the founder and CEO of Flybits, a Ryerson/MaRS Innovation software company. Rahnama’s work has received extensive support from prominent industry partners such as Cisco Systems and Apple Canada Inc. as well as government entities including the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation. In February 2012, Flybits was selected by the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation as a promising company in Ontario to present at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Additionally Wavefront and the UK Trade and Investment are enabling Flybits to enter Asia and the United Kingdom, respectively.

Additional information about past and present TR35 winners and judges is available at For more information about EmTech MIT 2012 please visit:

About Technology Review, Inc.

Technology Review is leading the global conversation about technologies that matter. An independent media company owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), more than 4.5 million business leaders, innovators, thought leaders and early adopters around the globe read our publications, in five languages and on a variety of digital and print platforms. We publish Technology Review magazine, the world’s longest-running and most respected technology magazine (established 1899); daily news, analysis, opinion, and video; and Business Reports, which explains how new technologies are transforming companies, disrupting markets, or creating entirely new industries. Technology Review also produces live events such as the annual EmTech MIT and international EmTech conferences, Technology Summits and Salons. The publication’s entrepreneurial community organization, the MIT Enterprise Forum, hosts events around the world.

About Flybits

Flybits was founded by Dr. Hossein Rahnama, a researcher, educator and entrepreneur, to commercialize a cloud-based platform for creating applications that deliver the ultimate mobile user experience. The company’s technology engine, FARE (Flybits Activity Recognition Engine) enables enterprises to benefit from ubiquitous relevance: customers, employees, suppliers—everyone receives exactly the information they want or need exactly when they want or need it. A personal Flybits application for crowdsourcing Ubiquitous Relevance will be launched in the fall of 2012. Flybits is a spin-off of Ryerson University, supported by the Digital Media Zone with the participation of MaRS Innovation. The company is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, with a location in the United Kingdom. For further information on Flybits, visit

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.

About the Faculty of Communication & Design
Canada’s premier school of broadcasting & media production, the Ryerson University Faculty of Communication & Design combines content creation for multiple platforms with media theory and business studies to create media leaders of the future.

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 more than 28,000 students, including 2,300 master’s and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and more than 140,000 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

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