At the end of February 2020, we already shared with you our joy of being selected as part of the 2020 Transit Tech Lab in New York City with our Evelity wayfinding app for people with disabilities. Today we are proud to announce that we launch a pilot on the NYC subway system. After going through all the stages of a tough selection, Evelity won the Accessibility challenge of the Transit Tech Lab. Our indoor wayfinding solution for people with disabilities will therefore be implemented in a subway station to be subjected to technical and user tests. Let’s look back on the course of this New York adventure!
The Transit Tech Lab was created by the MTA and Partnership for New York City. It is an acceleration program for start-up companies offering innovations to solve the current major challenges of transit systems. Its ambition is to make New York City the global leader in public transit!
For the second edition of the Transit Tech Lab Challenges, launched at the end of 2019, 130 companies from all over the world applied for the three themes selected by mobility actors: accessibility, income generation and curb coordination.
In January 2020, we were honored to be one of the 22 start-up companies selected for a very structured pitch session in front of a jury of 8 experts representing the main New York transit agencies. The next day, only 15 of us remained for the demo day during which Sylvain Denoncin and Damien Brosseau, heads of Okeenea Digital, answered sharp questions from around a hundred outstanding professionals in the mobility sector.
The results of this first round fall at the end of February 2020: 9 finalists were selected to test their solution in real conditions as part of an 8-week pilot. Evelity was still racing! However, being a finalist is certainly no easy matter. You have to get organized quickly to set up the pilot installation. Jay St-MetroTech Station in downtown Brooklyn was ideal for the project. It had already been the place of experimentation for accessibility solutions. But the day we had to fly to New York to install the necessary infrastructure and put it into operation, our team remained grounded by the first lockdown. This new constraint forced us to reinvent our methods in record time, and our team took up the challenge with flying colors!
Only one day was necessary to install 41 beacons to cover 50,000 square feet. “It was an amazing experience in a very short time. The help provided by the Transit Tech Lab team was invaluable in achieving our goals so quickly”, said Sylvain Denoncin, our CEO.
MTA staff continues to test Evelity in the field, as user testing was delayed by the ridership downturn.
Today we have the great pleasure to be one of the 8 pilot winners of Transit Tech Lab Challenges and one of the 4 companies in the Accessibility challenge! Being a winner represents for us the opportunity to develop Evelity in real conditions in one of the busiest transit systems in the Western world by annual ridership and the largest in the world by number of stations. This is the opportunity to implement all the features of our Evelity app in this new area, starting with tailored navigation based on the user’s physical or sensory limitations. This is a great victory due to the perseverance and agility of our talented Okeenea Digital team, as well as our technological choices and our user-centric approach which made all the difference!
Damien Brosseau, Head of Okeenea Digital
“The MTA is an extremely demanding organization that is very well-informed about the technologies available around the world to meet its accessibility challenges. Our solution has come out of the Transit Tech Lab further strengthened,” said Damien Brosseau, head of Okeenea Digital.