The Canadian startup reelyActive creates smart spaces by collecting and analyzing data from people and things in these spaces. In the following interview, the founders of the CODE_n finalist explain a little bit more in detail, including the kinds of scenarios they try to enable.
Where did your idea for the company come from?
Jeffrey Dungen (reelyActive): The idea for reelyActive came from the perceived need for a simple, accessible platform for identifying and locating people and objects via wireless devices. How simple could we make the technology? Simple enough for the average person to set up? Probably. How disruptive could we make the business model? Disruptive enough to open a variety of new markets? Sure!
Drawing on over twenty years of domain experience, we embarked full time on the project as soon as we signed up our first client: a smart parking startup. Then, within a year, the Internet of Things hype had exploded and our timing could not have been better! This was our chance to show the world how our idea could drive IoT adoption, creating efficiencies and at the same time promoting transparency in a fully-connected society.
For which kind of audience is your product or service intended and what problem is it solving?
Jeffrey Dungen (reelyActive): The reelyActive platform enables Smart Spaces, creating a marketplace for real-time, real-world contextual data on a human scale. In other words, our platform tells a story, showing who and what is present in a space to whoever can make use of that information. Because all participants are in complete control of the story they choose to share about themselves, their objects or their space, the list of potential applications is almost unimaginable.
Today our Smart Spaces are driving new social interactions in co-working spaces, facilitating friendlier retail experiences and providing personalized building automation, among other applications. In most cases we work with domain-specific partners, enhancing their existing client solutions and enabling their next generation of products and services. The elegance of our technology and business model simplifies integration, keeping solutions at the competitive forefront, and offering the best to clients and end users.
Tell us a bit about the company’s founders like their professional or industry background and the origins of the founding idea.
Jeffrey Dungen (reelyActive): The reelyActive co-founders first met over ten years ago when we got involved with a startup that was developing novel real-time location systems (RTLS). As engineers and physicists, we were responsible for the R&D of the project which involved hardware, software and algorithms. At the time, the combination between RTLS and radio-frequency identification (RFID) promised to revolutionize logistics, supply chains and change the world. Alas, those aspirations did not come to fruition because of technological and commercialization hurdles, but over the course of a few years, our team gained a truly unique and profound understanding of both the business and the technologies themselves.
We founded reelyActive, taking advantage of our unique experience and many insights fuelled by previous insights. And as mentioned before, our timing could not have been better as today we have the opportunity to contribute significantly to the emerging Internet of Things!
Can you explain a little bit more about the kinds of scenarios your customers are already using your RFID tags in, in combination with Reelceivers? What would be the perfect setting for your product?
Jeffrey Dungen (reelyActive): Imagine a retail experience where everyone can tell the right story to the right audience to receive the best experience. A customer is looking for an obscure item but doesn’t speak the local language. She shares this story simply by carrying her smartphone. An employee is notified of her story because he’s in the best position to assist, which he does. Not only does she receive the best possible experience, but because she also opted in and made her story public to brands, they pay her a small dividend to study her browsing habits. The retailer reduces its operating costs because the lighting and climate is optimally controlled by a third-party service which benefits from the presence data we provide. Moreover, their rent and taxes are correctly adjusted, based on the pedestrian traffic we detect at the storefront, sharing the anonymous data with the landlord and municipality. And, in a crisis, we can share invaluable real-time information with emergency services so that they can assist intelligently and efficiently. In each case, all concerned parties benefit from receiving the right story at the right place at the right time, and reelyActive benefits equally by collecting a tiny fee for facilitating each data transaction.
See reelyActive live on the CODE_n Stage on Thursday, 19.03.2015.