Verizon Connected Futures III

This is the third year of NYC Media Lab’s prototyping and talent development program with Verizon Open Innovation. 


Check out the videos from Connected Futures I and Connected Futures II to get a sense of the program’s success stories. We support rapid prototyping in emerging media technology (examples: VR, AR, IoT, AI, Machine Learning) with graduate students from across NYC’s engineering, design and data science campuses.

Connected Futures III will focus solely on technology from Verizon’s envrmnt team. Recruitment for the program and the application process will take place in the Fall 2017 semester.  At the time of application, graduate students must be currently affiliated with a NYC university. Teams (2 to 4 students) will be eligible to apply for grants of up to $10,000 from NYC Media Lab. The program will run for 6 weeks with a kickoff in January and weekly check-ins. The program will conclude with a Demo Day in late March 2018.

The main themes are: augmented, mixed and virtual reality

A few challenge questions:

  1. Consider the variety of use cases and experiences around AR marked tracking. How can we use AR markers to visualize and enhance everyday use cases that users perform? What design concepts and templates could be used so AR can reach broad penetration and user adoption?

  2. Consider interaction with other people with VR/AR. How can we empower multi-person communication and enable social (i.e. collaborative or competitive) virtual or augmented environments?

  3. Consider the intersection of AI and VR/AR. How can we imagine use cases of voice assistants or chatbots in virtual or augmented environments?

We are open to your creativity regarding these challenge questions!

A major part of the program is mentorship from Verizon executives who are working on the cutting edge of augmented, mixed and virtual reality experiences for consumers and enterprises. Mentorship includes 1:1 meetings, feedback sessions, and career talks about what it is like to build, launch, and scale prototypes into useful products.



  • Christian Guirnalda, Director, Open Innovation

  • Joshua Ness, Manager, Open Innovation

  • Phil Marchetti, Product Strategy Manager, Open Innovation

  • Christian Egeler, Head of VR/AR, envrmnt

  • Craig Brown, Lead UX Designer, envrmnt

  • Jessica Lauretti, Head of RYOT Studio, RYOT

  • Zeda Stone, Head of Business Development, RYOT

  • More to be announced



NYC Media Lab will host a number of information sessions about the program across NYC. Representatives from Verizon will visit NYC campuses this Fall to meet with faculty and graduate students for information sessions on Connected Futures III. These sessions are open to all NYC university graduate students, not just students who are affiliated with the university host of the session.



  • New York University (Washington Square Campus)

Leslie eLab, 16 Washington Place near Greene Street

October 10 at 3:30pm

Sign up to attend this session!


  • School of Visual Arts (SVA)

MFA Interaction Design, 136 West 21 Street, 3rd Floor

October 17 at 12:30pm

Sign up to attend this session!


  • Pratt Institute

School of Design, 2nd floor gallery of the Juliana Curran Terian Design Center 

Brooklyn Campus: 200 Willoughby Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11205

October 18 at 12:00noon

Sign up to attend this session!


  • Parsons School of Design

MFA Design + Technology, 6 East 16th Street, 12th Floor

October 25 at 3:00pm

Sign up to attend this session!


  • New York University (Tandon School of Engineering Campus)

NYU Tandon MakerSpace, 6 MetroTech, Brooklyn NY

November 1 at 12:00noon

Sign up to attend this session!


  • CUNY

Zahn Innovation Center, City College, 160 Convent Ave, Marshak Building Room 052

November 2 at 12:30pm

Sign up to attend this session!


  • Columbia University

Columbia Design Lab at Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Dr, Room 430

November 9 at 10:30am

Sign up to attend this session!

There will be also be two ideation sessions about product-market fit with envrmnt and Verizon Open Innovation for high-potential candidates of the program. These will be invitation-only sessions for NYC graduate students who intend to apply to the Connected Futures III program.


September 28, 2017        Application for Connected Futures III goes live

Throughout October        Public information sessions on NYC campuses

November 3                       BYO Idea: Talk-Through your Product-Market Fit. This is an ideation session with envrmnt at The Alley, powered by Verizon.

November 15                     BYO Idea: Talk-Through your Product-Market Fit. This is an ideation session with envrmnt at The Alley, powered by Verizon.

November 19                     Application Deadline

December 1                        Interview Day

December 8                       Finalists Notified

January 26, 2018              Connected Futures III Kickoff

Between the Kickoff and the Demo Day, there will be weekly meetings with Verizon. 

March 23, 2018                 Connected Futures III Final Presentations & Demo Day



If there are any questions about this program, please contact Amy Chen, Manager of Partnerships at amy.chen[@]