Ottawa Becomes World’s First City to Deploy Context-aware Computing Strategy

The City of Ottawa and Ryerson University spin-off company Flybits announced this week the release of a free mobile app called Ottawa Nav.

The app leverages the Flybits platform to connect users to municipal services and infrastructure in real-time—offering information from construction updates to collisions or speed limit notifications in construction and school zones.

Flybits is helping communities adopt technology that dramatically improves the quality of life,” explains Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy. “The company was founded two years ago by Ryerson professor Hossein Rahnama and his students and has already gone international, making the case for building Canadian leadership supporting startups and innovation.”

The Ottawa Nav application maps the city into zones, associating contextual data with every location. As commuters move throughout the city, they receive information based on their location and travel preferences.

“Ottawa is the first city in the world to deploy a context-aware computing strategy,” noted Dr. Hossein Rahnama, Founder and CEO of Flybits. “The system senses and interprets contextual parameters—such as location, day, time, mobile and personal preferences—surrounding each individual user, delivering relevant and customized services to make the most out of their mobile experience.”



The app’s functionality differs depending on whether the user is a driver or a passenger. While driving, the mobile app delivers audible instructions to inform users of events occurring in their area of travel. While in passenger mode, users can tap into the City and Ministry of Transportation of Ontario’s traffic cameras to access live feeds from the traffic situation within and near their immediate location.

“Ottawa Nav is launching with a focus on intelligent traffic solutions, but the same framework can be used to disseminate all useful information pertaining to Ottawa,” he added. “By utilizing this powerful tool to connect city services and make them available to residents in real time, the City of Ottawa has become a pioneer in the discovery and actualization of a smarter, more connected city.”

Ottawa Nav is now available for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play for Android devices.