Connected Futures Research & Prototyping Challenge

In partnership with Verizon Open Innovation, NYC Media Lab executed the Verizon Connect Futures Research & Prototyping Challenge which propelled the development of new media and technology projects from universities across New York City. The Challenge linked students and faculty with industry experts.

The program initiated with a call for applications on September 25, 2015 at NYC Media Lab’s Annual Summit. Representatives from Verizon and NYC Media Lab visited over a dozen NYC university classrooms, studios labs across the city in a four month recruitment process that culminated with a competitive application pool.

The program awarded $250,000 to 14 R&D projects across five NYC campuses in disciplines ranging from design to engineering. Verizon designated specific topic areas for the challenge: The World Without Phones, Empowering Citizen Journalism, Smart Home, and Virtual Reality.

Following a kickoff session in January, the project teams gathered for monthly feedback sessions with Verizon executives to share how their research, rapid prototyping, and user testing were progressing. The program concluded with a final demo day in May 2016.

Additional support for the challenge included matching funds from from The New York State Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications and Distributed Information Systems (CATT) at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

The Challenge resulted in new technical and creative hires to Verizon’s Concept Studio and other departments.