Photo: Ryan Marsh

Ryerson is looking to modernize horse racing

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By Sylvia Lorico

Have you been to the races lately? Ryerson and Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) are partnering to modernize horse racing.

In August, WEG announced a partnership with Ryerson iBoost Zone and Ryerson’s Office of the Vice President, Research and Innovation (OVPRI). The partnership launched a program, Horse Racing 3.0: Changing the Game, to improve the sport of horse racing with ideas from young entrepreneurs, startups and developers across Canada.

In recent years, revenue has fallen in gaming hubs, leading businesses to move away from gambling—notably in Las Vegas.

On Sept. 23, participants in Horse Racing 3.0 will compete in a day-and-a-half-long design challenge where they will develop their ideas. From there, participants will have three months to make their ideas commercially viable.

“Working with industry partners like Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG), who are interested in commercializing innovative technology, creates great opportunities for our Zones, the companies they support, and our researchers,” said John MacRitchie, Senior Director of Business Development and Strategic Planning at the OVPRI in an email.

Zones are programs at Ryerson where people pitch and develop business and technology ideas. The iBoost Zone focuses on customer service.

Selected participants from the Horse Racing 3.0 competition will be able to work with mentors chosen by WEG and their innovation team to develop technologies that will be used by the company after the competition.

A total of $21,000 in cash prizes will be split between the challenge’s top three teams, along with enrollment for eight months in iBoost.

This is the second initiative that the OVPRI has held with partnering companies. Following a SportsHack weekend in November 2015, a two-day event in which teams of programmers developed sports-related software for the Canadian Football League, WEG approached the OVPRI with plans for a similar partnership.

“An open innovation model allows Woodbine Entertainment to meet a large group of innovators and consider ideas they would never have considered their own,” MacRitchie said.

“The interaction should help ideas to be developed into applications more quickly and improve the chances that the application will have a good fit to the market,” he said.

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