By Astoria Luzzi
Biz & Tech Editor
The Digital Media Zone (DMZ) at Ryerson is a workspace for new entrepreneurs and companies developing innovative and problem-solving products and services for industries. Emerging digital media teams collaborate and network here with easier access to investors and partnerships. The DMZ opened in April 2010 and now lives on three levels of 10 Dundas Street East. It has created over 600 jobs in two years and currently incubates 47 companies.
Over the next few weeks, three teams supported by the DMZ will be launching their projects Ryerson-wide. The first is SoapBox.
The Voice: Brennan McEachran
What it is: An online platform that can be used by organizations, schools and companies that allows users to post and discuss their ideas and vote on which ones they would like to see put in action. The most popular ideas are forwarded to the decision makers to be reviewed and perhaps put in action. The companies Indigo, Vitamin Water and The Walrus have already begun to use SoapBox and many ideas have already been implemented.
What sparked the idea: McEachran and his friends were throwing around some ideas one day on how the Ted Rogers Building could be improved. “I didnt know what to do with them, I was a second year student. So we just kinda left and I went home and stayed up till 1 a.m. with these ideas stuck in my head and I ended up just emailing the president of the school. I was like ‘Hey Prez let’s meet, I have some cool ideas’, and I debated whether or not I should send it because it was a really weird email but I needed to sleep so I just hit send”.
Two weeks later, McEachran had gotten a reply, and a meeting was arranged. After hearing his ideas, Levy directed McEachran to the DMZ where he began to develop SoapBox.
Benefit to Ryerson Students: “Sheldon Levy does not register for classes; he’s done his schooling. So he does not know the kind of stuff that we stub our toes on every single day.” A pilot run of the platform was done at Ryerson’s Library, with approximately 800 students participating. “We extended the library hours as one of the completed ideas, because students were asking for a later time period during exam time.”
Once the platform is launched Ryerson-wide, students will be able to post their ideas on how to improve Ryerson, discuss them and then vote to decide which are the best or worst. The highest voted ideas will be sent off to the decision makers at Ryerson. Who knows, maybe we can get a petting zoo in the Quad.
Launch date: August 24
How to get access: Look for a tab on my.ryerson.ca. It will automatically log you into the site.