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Mobile Princeton is Coming: Get out Your Smartphones!

For reunions last year, OIT created a special web site tailored for the small mobile devices that are now proliferating in the marketplace, cell phones with web browsers, iPhones, Blackberries, and the like. The experiment proved to be quite successful. To accelerate the development of such services, OIT signed an agreement in December that will give the University access to Blackboard Mobile, an environment that will permit users to access public information about the University in a format especially suited to such mobile platforms.

The result will soon be a Princeton-specific application, m.Princeton, for leading brands of smart phones.

Mobile Central was founded by a group of Stanford students who developed the core products offered by Mobile Central by rising to the challenge of a course assignment in a Stanford computer science class - the task: to deliver real mobile solutions for the Stanford campus community.

iStanford now permits users to search the campus directory and campus map, view athletics and course information, and a variety of other campus services. The students later formed the company TerriblyClever Design in 2007, and developed several more mobile suites for other colleges and universities.

During the past year, several universities, notably Stanford, Duke, and MIT, have used these same services to permit mobile users to access campus maps, directories of people and places, bus schedules and campus tours, event calendars, announcements and news, as well as images and videos.

Princeton is now building a full suite of such mobile applications for the benefit of the entire campus, as well as visitors, parents, and prospective students. OIT has assembled a team with representatives from several departments to complete the first phase of the work in time for reunions this coming May. The first phase will include a campus map, a campus directory, athletics schedules, course information, news, and the public events calendar.

During the first phase, Princeton will also assemble support for Reunions, from events and campus maps through directories and local restaurant menus.

The second phase will be ready in time for the fall. It will deliver real time shuttle information, access to the library catalog, an image gallery, additional video content, building maps (library floor plans, for example), as well as an online Orange Key tour.. Additional changes will be made as needed and will be delivered as updates to the existing application.

At the April 28 Lunch ‘n Learn seminar, Janet Temos ‘82 *01 and Ryan Irwin ‘10 of Blackboard Mobile Central discussed the details about the coming Princeton mobile apps. They noted that the apps will be delivered in formats that support the Blackberry Storm, Curve, and Bold, the iPhone, the iPod touch, and eventually the iPad. The apps will also work on any smart phone that can support a web browser. The application will be free, but users will need to download the application that suits their brand of phone.

The Apple applications will be available for download via iTunes. Blackberry applications will be available from the Blackberry app store. Blackboard Mobile Central and Princeton will host the web-based version.

Check back soon at www.princeton.edu/princetonmobile.

Janet Temos was trained as an architectural historian, and received degrees in art history from Williams College (MA 1992), and Princeton University (PhD 2001). She began working with the Educational Technologies Center (ETC), in 1993, and became a full-time member of the staff in 2000. She is now director of ETC, and continues to work with faculty who wish to use computer technology in their teaching. Current projects include courses on film, archaeology, medieval manuscripts, African languages taught in the US, and a collaborative project with the Princeton University Art Museum to develop an on-line repository of digital images of objects in the museum’s East Asian collection.

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