Providing Mobile Computing Strategy & Service Offerings

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Major Issue:

Handheld, or "highly mobile," communication and computing devices are currently pervasive among campus faculty, students and are already integral to students lives and campus business. CU-Boulder must plan for these devices being ubiquitous, increasingly more capable, and the assumed method of interaction with many, if not all, on-line information and collaboration services.

Specific Recommendations:

  1. Expand wireless coverage on campus so that it is "ubiquitous". This consists of both expanding the campus wireless network to outdoor areas so that a vast number of devices can use it without incurring monthly carrier data charges AND expanding in-building coverage of the major wireless vendor networks so student/faculty/staff customers of those carriers have signals in basements, stairwells, etc. (This includes evaluating installation of a distributed antenna system (DAS) within campus buildings, assessing use of university owned spectrum in the 2.5Ghz band for WiMAX coverage, and assess deploying 4.9Ghz band coverage across on campus for public safety use.)
  2. Immediately start development of a basic set of CU-Boulder branded mobile apps based on the MIT Mobile Web project, within the framework of the iMobileU Initiative. Continue to maintain and enhance this over time.

    Applications that should/could be part of an initial suite of applications (in no particular order):

    • Campus maps and location photos
    • Campus RSS news and announcements
    • Bus schedules w/ nextBus tracking of available busses
    • Whitepages directory search
    • iTunesU
    • Open seats in computing labs
    • Campus event/academic calendars

    Longer-term, we should explore effective uses of location aware or augmented reality applications. An example may be a simple "beacon" application that allows a student to select a building or location on a campus map and then continually points them in the correct direction until they arrive at the selected place.

  3. Immediately explore expanding use of SMS text messaging to provide info beyond emergency notifications to include other categories of information pushed to phones as well as some basic information requests initiated on demand by the person sending an SMS information request.
  4. Immediately adopt a "convergence" strategy for all current and future web applications that assumes applications will be accessed by mobile devices and plans appropriate changes or additions to the application interfaces.
  5. Immediately explore possible changes to administrative policy or processes that make it less onerous to procure and use mobile devices when there's no easy separation between business and personal use.
  6. Establish ongoing management/oversight functions that examine:
    • Emerging technologies and service options for comprehensive wireless coverage on campus for emergency communication and other purposes.
    • Trends in student, faculty, and staff device choices, including evidence about how often services are actually used on devices of different types.
For questions about ITSP, please contact Marin Stanek by email at or phone at 303-735-5225.