[CSG Winter 2010] Mobility Workshop

Asbed’s memorable quote (regarding students): You gotta reach ’em to teach ’em.

Mobility at MIT – Michael Gettes
MIT Mobile Framework
m.mit.edu – went live summer 2008. went open source spring 2009. v2.0 went live fall 2009
also have an SMS service which covers earlier phones like RAZRs.
– want to deliver to multiple platforms – all smartphones, feature phones, and PDAs.
Purely web based – native apps strategy TBD.

Web apps built with community participation. CIO funded up to $250k per initiative – total funding around $750k.

A bunch of universities are using their platform (27+).

Architecture (top down)
– browser detection (WURFL) – abstracts a lot of the UI issues across devices. (wurfl.sourceforge.net)
– SMS is parallel to that – both talk to Content Generator api layer.

Lots of work in rethinking apps to work in the smaller form factor.

Students building lots of apps – there’s a course (6.087) in building mobile applications.
Allocate about 25% of Andrew Yu’s time to work with faculty and courses. “one person can make a big difference.”

MIT Research on mobile – near field communication trial; Center for future banking; Open transaction network; Organic indoor location discovery.

1.5 FTE dedicated to mobile platform, plus contractors (including students).

iMobileU – vision: create a collaborative framework for higher ed institutions to jointly develop and enhance mobile solutions as open source projects. Kicked off Summer 2009. https://spaces.internet2.edu/display/imobileu/

60% of accesses are iphone (and ipod touch).

Candy Borland – Mobile at USC – http://mobile.usc.edu
What we did with no money (aside from what they have to do central web sites).
75% iPhones (including iPod Touch), 11% Android, 7% Blackberry, 5% other – major USC web site mobile use.
Done purely web-based apps, targeting webkit browsers. You can do most of what you need with the web – can’t talk to the sensors on the phone (accelerometer, compass, etc). Thinking about native apps, but haven’t gone there yet. Bus schedule is one of the most popular.
Doing an aggregated RSS feed reader (with some personalization) – reader.usc.edu

Design point – Need to have a thumbable UI.
Question – will Apple (and others) make sensors accessible from the web interface?
Another question – is the back-end ready for the mobile world?

Tim Flood – iStanford – A Mobile STudent Interface
Challenges and opportunities
– Approaching as an administrative user interface for their Peoplesoft system, about which people ask: “can’t you do better than this?”
(implemented Peoplesoft in 2000-2001, already regard it as a legacy system).
– Highly motivated students, capable campus partners. Worked with two teams of students so far: CourseRank – a web 2.0 interface to courses; TerriblyClever.
– want to encourage multiple interfaces to admin systems.
– Decided to develop for iPhone – didn’t want to wait for standards to evolve. Thought over time they could migrate to other platforms. To date have had no requests for iStanford to run on other devices.
– Anthropology research at Stanford – 9% of respondents pet their iPhones, 3% have names for them, 21% of grad students and 15% of undergrads describe iPhone as “appendage”

iStanford today – now have authentication working. Doing simple course adds and drops. Can view grades and study lists. Using Web Services and RSS feeds.

Klara – Duke has added student financial transactions and status to their iPhone app.

Planning for tomorrow – View the mobile platform as the successor to the Stanford ID card. Financial transactions, Access and privilege control, Student ID. Also want an app they can use during emergencies – be able to locate people and have them report where they are; view student bills (being worked on now, hopefully for release in February); announcements and advertisements platform that uses GPS; Places (dining, etc) with locations on map (modeled on Duke’s); Library search, map, stack maps, hours; Class textbook information; Dining app (like Chipotle or Starbucks apps); AskJane (knowledge base for student services); iTunes U and authenticated class video.

Pleasant surprises – 65k downloads of iStanford, where population is ~20k people.
Let your clients design your UI (the TerriblyClever guys) – don’t need to include all the functionality you can.

Student can be unpredictable (and the can be bought out overnight). This can impact your strategy.
Testing is a learning experience, and so is submitting to the App Store.

Early on committed to using the power of the tools at hand – if there’s a way to enhance the experience using the properties of the device itself they’ll develop for it and figure out how to accomodate those that don’t have the device.

Brett Pollak – UC San Diego Mobile
Campus web manager and product manager for campus-wide CMS.
Many of the same problems with mobile usability that we had with web design in the 90s – small resolution, low bandwidth, connectivity problems, lack of flash/javascript support, etc.

Did a survey to prospective students about mobile browsing behavior.
40 respondents: 70% had smartphones, 40% had iPhones. 20% visited ucsd.edu from mobile device. They wanted: maps, student directory, courses, calendar, news.

The decided to provide student functionality – maps, news, directory, courses, shuttles. All audiences benefit from these. Decided to use TerriblyClever. App launched in June ’09. Around 10k active users to date. Just launched Blackberry app. Shuttle schedule is the most popular, then courses, directory, maps, athletics, photos, news then YouTube.

They’ve contracted with mir3 for opt-in emergency notifications. Klara notes that at Duke parents in particular love that functionality. Would be nice if it were more integrated with the web for notifications too.

Podcasting and videocasting of courses at discretion of professor. 27 locations across campus, including all of the 24 large lecture halls. 95 courses podcast this quarter, 6 with video. http://podcast.ucsd.edu

Where they’re going – integrate WEb content managed by CMS with app functionality from Terribly Clever. Keep apps and m.ucsd.edu in sync. Support broader group of smartphones. Integrate “add-ons” such as Worldcat Mobile (library catalog search).

Feedback is that people really like the “one-stop shop” of the iphone app.

Elazar notes (in response to a question) that they’re not necessarily wed to this vendor forever – now that they’ve done the hard work of getting the data interfaces in order they could migrate to another platform.

Michael asks the question of where we want to take all this – the vendor route or go our own route. It’s not just about the iPhone – what about the upcoming tablets? Shel notes that it’s not just about the vendor options, but the size of the investments. ERP wave is over, so it’s a matter of being nimble – making targeted investments where we don’t have embedded incentives to keep them beyond their reasonable life. Not the kind of time scales we previously dealt with. Go into investments with smaller amortization periods – like 30 months. Bill Clebsch – it’s about unbundling of sets of services – moving from being service providers to service brokers. Rate of market change is accelerating. Landscape, particularly in mobile, is undergoing tremendous change. Need to start looking at all our businesses that way – the way of ERPs is gone. The ill effects of ERP live on – we’ll spend the next decade trying to take that apart. Klara – what’s giving the value add? It’s not the infrastructure – if there’s a framework we can put our information in without developing.

Tim points out that there’s a lot of work to be done with our existing systems on integration – that’s the logjam. The key is web services. Takes a minimum 9 month cycle to get something changed in Peoplesoft – that’s unacceptable. Can the web services in the ERP be developed to allow more agility. Elazar – the iPhone app gave tremendous value which can’t be measured – students and alum are extremely proud. All about timing – a year from now that wouldn’t have value. Serge – it’s a giant carrot we can use to get people to do all sorts of good things with back end systems.

Question about authenticated access to mobile apps. Michael – personal certs on iPhone for access to web apps, as well as shibboleth access. Bruce – iPhone OS doesn’t handle kerberos. Worked with TerriblyClever to integrate security. Not perfect, but didn’t let that stop them from moving forward. Not a true single sign-on across apps. Ken – precipitates the deeper question about Shib for non-web apps. Lots of work going on in that space, but so far seem to be one-off solutions until we understand the pattern.

Elazar asks about other uses. Shel says that their field stations have an iPhone app using the camera for data collection. They want to have higher resolution and want to tie it into the sensor nets for real-time connections. Serge – is anybody looking at developing student response systems? Apple has one available. Tim – students ask for a more seamless experience across the student system and Sakai. Someone notes that there’s a radiology measuring tool on the iphone.

Tim – there have been some discussions between TerriblyClever and CollegeNet about doing iphone access to 25Live (successor to Resource25) for event scheduling, via 25Live’s web services.


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