In partnership with Google, Columbus State University in Georgia recently developed a mobile application for Android-based devices – that ultimately provides a substitute for the campus ID card. Students can use this app to check out books from the library and access student discounts at participating merchants.
The mobile-based app also allows students to access real-time information, such as course schedules, campus maps, athletic events, immunization records, and campus bus schedules all from the convenience of their Android smart phone.
To find out more about the Mobile App we spoke with Robert Diveley, who is responsible for coordinating the development of the Mobile App, and who is also the executive director of operations at the campus’ Office of Information and Technology Services.
Q. What made you decide to create an Android app?
- A. We were looking for an open source product and a vendor that would make their technical staff available to assist us.
Q. Is Android the only platform supported? Are there plans to develop a similar app for the iPhone or other any other mobile platform?
- A. We currently do have offerings for Blackberry and Microsoft-based devices, and are working toward the iPhone version now.
Q. What exactly is the Mobile App capable of?
- A. The electronic ID is capable of identifying the student through 1D and 2D bar code. This works with bar code scanners already in use. Therefore the electronic ID can be used in places like the cafeteria, library, bookstore and we have expanded to some local independent businesses (i.e. pizza shops).
Q. Will this replace the student ID?
- A. The long-term goal is to offer it as an alternative to the plastic card. However not all students today have smart phones, so the replacement will follow student telephone purchase trends.
Q. Would it be accepted at events and such that require student identification for entry, discounts, etc.?
- A. It is used as ID for events such as concerts, exhibits and sports where students are admitted free of charge.
Q. How many students are currently using the Mobile App?
- A. We estimate, from our mobile Web statistics, that about 85% used the Mobile Apps during our Spring 2010 Term.
Q. How does a student obtain the App and Register?
- A. They are part of our Student Information System. Therefore users log into their normal account and are offered the opportunity to download the Mobile App Suite.
Q. Are there any additional functionality coming in near future?
- A. We are in development of proximity reader technology for access purposes.