Mobile Trends

Presenter:  Andrew Yu, Founder and CTO of Modo Labs (@kurogofwk)

Andrew came from MIT, working on the mobile platform there.

We expect students to have more than one mobile device these days, and they have big expectations.  How do we meet those expectations?  Slide showed an arrow pointing up…i.e., things are going up:  bigger, more, faster, smarter, (hopefully) cheaper.

Network Side

The question is no longer Can you hear me now?  but Can you see me now?  All major carriers have rolled out 4G tech, especially LTE.  Mobile speeds where LTE is available is often faster overall than WiFi!  So, the world has moved “up” in the realm of speed.  There is also more competition among carriers…Google is even in the game.  5G will come sometime, probably in the 2020s…I think we can look to the Tokyo Olympic games for the first public implementations.

Faster Network = Better App Experience

Google Maps now defaults to satellite photo view instead of a plain map view.


“No One is Going to Buy a Big Phone”  – Steve Jobs

Well, that’s not true, and of course Apple now offers the iPhone 6 Plus.  Unlike phones / phablets, tablet growth is slowing…it’s currently at single-digit growth numbers worldwide.  Wearables are now a part of the ecosystem, and it’s worth exploring what these devices are capable of so we can deliver functionality to them.

Low energy bluetooth (iBeacons) are something to consider as well.  iBeacons can do push and proximity-based notifications, which is useful in tours, treasure hunts, vendor coupons, etc.  For campuses like Notre Dame with lots of interesting locations, this would be great for a tour app.


Mobile payments, physical access, Google Wallet, etc.  This will be important for implementation of campus OneCard systems.  Higher Ed is a prime vertical for this sort of integration.  Georgetown University is doing a Proof Of Concept for student ID, which includes two factor authentication (photo, QR code, more).

World is Becoming Mobile Friendly

Google Mobilegeddon:  search “Golf”  The world is being forced in some ways to be mobile-friendly.  If your site is not mobile-friendly, it will be indexed as well particularly for mobile searches.  Check here to see if your web site is mobile friendly:

Are We Done?  We’re Just Getting Started

Demographics are changing.  Our survey indicates that mobile applications are prioritized for:  1) current students, 2) new students and 3) prospective students.

Features to Consider:  Mobile Engagement

  • Customized UX
  • In-app social
  • Share pictures and videos (leverage existing SoMe channels)
  • Push notifications (not just for emergencies)
  • Anonymous messaging?
  • New Student Orientation and Move-in day

Global Audience

For international students, your mobile app is often the ONLY experience a potential student will have before setting foot on your campus.  Consider how you are reaching your various audiences – they use different modes.

Mobile Apps – More and Easier

There is an app for that > Many apps mode.

  • Unbundling phenomenon:  intentionally  and hopefully useful.
  • Apps are broken out into separate functions (Facebook and Messenger, FourSquare and Swarm, etc.)
  • Harvard has a mobile campus app, but also Tour, Financial literacy, and hospital apps.
  • Challenge with unbundling and the “many apps” strategy is that there can be confusion about which app is “official”
  • App discovery & distribution is a way to help get a handle on the many apps strategy.  Apperian is a vendor that has a product to help this.

Easier to Make, Maintain, and Share

  • With Kurogo, you can now assign many different module tasks to specific departments, i.e. embedding responsive web pages, new student orientation application, updating emergency contacts

Mobile Mind Shift!

  • Consider “micro moments” and the “mobile mind shift.”  Example quickly update / refine processes like personal calendaring.  Casual and quick updates.
  • Google Now is a great example of this “mobile mind shift”
  • “Mile IQ” is another example:  it’s an app that allows you to manage your mileage for IRS reporting.
  • Notre Dame’s “o’Snap” provides Uber-like functionality that allows students to summon a cart for travel on campus.

Transforming the University Experience

  • Think Mobile
  • Engage
  • Personalize




By Paul Schantz

CSUN Director of Web & Technology Services, Student Affairs. husband, father, gamer, part time aviator, fitness enthusiast, Apple fan, and iguana wrangler.

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