Categories: Spotlight on our Network
We spent some time chatting with Ethan Do, a Lime Network member and founder of OverAir Proximity Technologies Ltd. Ethan shares with us a bit about his company and some of the exciting apps they have created...
Hello Ethan! Tell us about yourself.
I'm a 3rd year student at McMaster University in Business Informatics, a Combined Applied Sciences program in computing sciences and commerce, under the Faculty of Engineering. Last October I founded OverAir Proximity Technologies Ltd. (www.OverAir.ca), a company specializing in the supply and implementation of Near Field Communication (NFC).
We hear you developed a few apps, including one that helps people in crisis. Can you share with us how these ideas came about and a bit about the development process?
NFC is predominantly known for mobile payments, where you simply tap to pay, such as Google Wallet or Visa Paywave. It's sort of like a cross between WiFi and QR codes. However, unlike QR codes, there are no apps to download or camera to aim, you simply tap your NFC-enabled smartphone and your phone will automatically pull up a website, or call a number, etc.
At OverAir we leverage this technology to simplify the delivery of information using passive NFC tags (non-powered). For example, on my business card I have an NFC sticker, when a phone taps my card, contact information is automatically loaded into the person's address book.
So we are one of the first company supplying these tags, but our secret sauce is a unique tag management portal that has many applications. For example Pattison Signs used our tags on transit posters, where people would tap and automatically download a coupon. Not only does our portal provide them with analytics, but with the ability to change the function of the tags in the middle of their campaign, so now people tapped and a map to the nearest store popped up.
Another example is if disabled student tapped an NFC in a bookstore, the book can be automatically downloaded in the correct format, such as audio file or large fonts. Quadriplegics can simply approach an emergency panic stations and an alarm can be triggered. The possibilities are endless.
What has the feed this back from new app been like?
I'm very lucky, I entered several Business Competition and won most of them, such as Innovation Night and Dx3 Intertainment media, where OverAir took home the grand prize of $25,000, and recently landed 2nd in Canada at Enactus National Student Entrepreneurship competition.(enactus.ca). I have also been very fortunate to have appeared in dozens of media, such as BNN The Pitch, Metro, TechVibes, Hamilton Spectator, etc.
Has this experience ignited your inner entrepreneur? Will you continue to try to develop new programs to help others?
Receiving validation from people that our solutions simplify peoples' access to information is very rewarding. Also, finally being able to create jobs (3 full-time positions), makes me feel that I am giving back to this country which has been very supportive for my own shortcomings.
Anything else you'd like to share with our Network members?
Everything starts with a dream, whether it becomes reality, it's entirely up to you. Don't over think, just do it. Otherwise, if you have any ideas about an NFC application, please contact me!
Thank you so much!!