Q&A with the team at Quantifly
“We all got together over wine, pizza and wings and started talking about the applications for integrating UAS technology with urban planning. Then we got Quantifly.”
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan and Brooklyn, New York
Team Size: 3 (above picture from left, Daniel Brooks, Adrianna Jordan and Zachary Halberd)
Focus: Software and Data Analytics
Explain your team in a few words and emojis:
Synergy, one-brain, foodie
Tell me about your company and how you got started:
So we’re always watching the drone industry grow, but no one is talking about urban planning. We all grew up playing Sim City, right? You want to see things from above, it gives you a better idea of where things are at, how things are moving, how the system is functioning. Planners think in birds eye view 100% of the time.
Quantifly provides planners with simple tools to measure their neighborhood, city, and region, to make more effective arguments of what they need in the future. We also speed up the process and make it more cost effective.
Simply put, we’re harvesting urban data using drones then creating analytics tools to provide insight for city planners, transportation engineers and transportation planners, so they can make wise decisions. Our first product automates parking studies and our second product automates traffic studies.
What problem are you solving?
When you’re conducting a parking or traffic study you're typically on the ground with a pad and pencil and you’re making check marks every hour of the number of cars in a lot or traveling along a specific road or intersection. So, what we do is eliminate the safety risks of having multiple people walking parking lots or roadways counting cars and replace it with one pilot situated in a safe location. Our clients receive the visual data which helps them tell the story and present our automatically generated quantitative data. Visual data is much more illustrative for the purpose of understanding the problem.
Furthermore, another problem we have with the current parking policies are that right now everyone is using a book for the industry benchmark that contains pretty outdated studies from the 1980s. This book gets updated every six years or so, and has limited datapoints in it. It's not fine-grained enough to get down to the regional or local level. We want to create an online database that is more customized, accessible, and searchable by not only land use, but also time and place.
We also want to expand our process not only to cars but to pedestrians and bicyclists, and also look at it from an environmental motive. There’s a lot of over parking in cities which can lead to loss of permeable area which increases storm water issues in communities. Our process can reduce environmental issues and make communities environmentally healthier.
Why are you excited for GENIUS NY?
A lot of reasons…
First impressions of Syracuse?
It’s snowy and very pretty. We also really LOVE the topography of the area. Even though the urban space reminds us a bit of Detroit, Syracuse has these gorgeous rolling hills and mountains. It’s also a little more walk-able than we expected.
What are you most looking forward to while staying in Syracuse?
Hiking and kayaking are all around us so we look forward to that. We love finding the little nooks and crannies around the city too. We met the cobbler the other day which was cool. We are looking forward to making some friends to feel a little more grounded as well.
How many drones do you own?
Ummm…is my wife going to read this later because I (Zachary) definitely have more than she thinks! I have five drones, but not any massive ones. The phantom is my favorite, it just works and is fun to zip around and fly.
What would you do with the $1 million grand prize?
We have a lot of engineering work to do and a lot of marketing needed. Our biggest uphill challenge is not really engineering and figuring out how to do all this stuff…we know it’s going to happen. The hardest part is introducing it to planners that this is okay. We’re trained to be very apprehensive, we know how to speak the lingo, but introducing drones to urban planning is new and an education and awareness component is needed.
We’re thankful to start in Syracuse where there is already a level of trust in UAS and people understand it could be our future economy. We can build off that as a use case in other cities. So we’re excited to get started here!