Have you heard or seen? OSU has launched the new mobile site, m.oregonstate.edu.
The official launch date was on December 7th, 2009, and there was some information in The Daily Barometer and on OSU Today about this, if you want to read what was said then. Or you can find more information here as we continue with its development. This project was a collaborative between Central Web Services providing the core mobile development efforts, Facilities, the Office of the Registrar, and Web Communications.
What you missed if you did not see it during the launch week was the display of finals schedules, thanks to the information provided by the Office of the Registrar. Not to worry though, there’s plenty more finals to come along in 2010.
So why mobile, and why now, or really why back in December? The reason is simply the prevalence of mobile computing in the world today. Phones that weren’t smart are becoming smarter, and the smart phones, well they are just adding more and more. There are plenty of studies on how mobile computing is where people will find their main source of information in the future, so I’m not going to rehash that here. Just use your favorite search engine and go read about it. So why now? Now because we cannot afford to wait and be left behind other Universities that are advancing on this front. The reality is, trying to find a building isn’t something you should have to pull your laptop out of your backpack, especially when it is raining, or go find a computer lab and a computer to log on, to find a building. Much of this information can be provided via a mobile device, and for certain phones we have in fact provided this.
What we dubbed the alpha release, which is a working release with a few main features, buildings, parking, the full campus map, and some essential phone numbers are provided via m. There’s still some things to work out to provide in future releases, such as providing location information, and other detailed information, but the alpha release was just that, alpha. Showing this now, provides the OSU community the ability to see some of the capabilities that mobile can provide, and let’s us ask the question, what’s next? Well, how about a directory search? Or News or personalized class schedules or finals? These things are all possible. No doubt everyone has seen news releases about all the numerous schools with iPhone applications, right? Stanford, Duke, the University of Texas and others have released or are releasing applications specifically for the iPhone. Did you know there is a team working on an OSU iPhone application as well? That’s right, there is a Capstone Project that is working on just this. So then you ask, why another mobile platform? The simple answer is that not everyone is walking around with an iPhone. If you’ve acquired a Palm Pre, or an Android, or a Blackberry, what do you do? Well, that’s why we have m.oregonstate.edu. Currently, Palm Pre and Android phones will be supported (ie. you should be able to see and use the site). The newer Blackberries also will work for most features. With some of the older blackberry models, the UI will not be correct. We’ll be laying out a list of supported models soon, and we’ll provide a blog post on it soon. Unfortunately we won’t be able to support every single phone, but we figure the ones we do will be a good subset. And did I mention m.oregonstate.edu will also work on the iPhone?
There is plenty left to do, but the way I see it, we’ve only just begun.
Jos Manuel Accapadi
Interim Associate Director, Central Web Services