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Final Case Study Report

I’ve just uploaded a copy of the final case study report for JISC.

The MyMobileBristol project had a number of broad aims and objectives that culminated in the delivery of a demonstrator service, embedded within the University of Bristol, that provided time and location sensitive content to smart phones. Underpinning the development was collaboration between a number of University departments and Bristol City Council. The partnership with the city facilitated access to local and regional data and provided the opportunity to investigate the development and adoption of standards relating to transport data. The project benefitted the University by providing an opportunity to further develop use cases with stakeholder analysis, reflect on delivery platforms and data sources, provide a driving force for the creation of an institutional mobile strategy and developed a strong working relationship with Bristol City Council.

For the full report, see: MyMobileBristol Final Case Study

The workshop will be an opportunity for the project to disseminate its various outputs. However, more importantly, it will provide an opportunity to discuss ideas regarding student engagement, use cases, collaborating with local authorities and the perennial native applications vs. the mobile web debate.

Benefits of attending:

  • Become familiar with the opportunities and issues in developing a mobile solution
  • Discuss ideas and issues with other institutions
  • Discover the opportunities of working with local authorities
  • Explore the possibility of future partnerships
  • Learn about the outputs of the MyMobileBristol project

Target audience:

  • Managers and developers in HE and FE looking to develop a mobile strategy or implement a solution

If you would like to attend the workshop, please contact mike.a.jones@bristol.ac.uk.

We have a small budget to help with travel expenses. Places are limited.

The programme is being developed here.

We have recently been working with the JISC communications team to produce a new beta service: http://m.jisc.ac.uk:

“This is a mobile version of the JISC website, called ‘JISC Mobile’.

JISC Mobile does not contain all of the content on the main JISC website. It is a cut-down version, featuring recent content that users are likely to want to access whilst mobile. Links are provided back to the JISC website so that users can access all of our content if required, although this will not be optimised for mobile devices.

This is a ‘beta’ service, meaning it uses new technology that might sometimes fail or give unexpected results. Whilst we will endeavour to provide a highly available service, this cannot be guaranteed.

JISC Mobile is a pilot. Please help us to improve it by letting us know what you think. Is this service useful to you? What do you think of the content we have selected for this initial version? What other JISC content would you like to access on your mobile device?”

To produce the website we used the Mobile Campus Assistant software which we are developing in the MyMobileBristol project. This involved creating new templates for the design and modifying the harvester code to tidy up the HTML in the feeds.

Ben Whitehouse from JISC has a blog post about the service:JISC Mobile is live: what do you think?

The project team attended Open Source Junction: Cross-Platform Mobile Apps workshop at Trinity College, University of Oxford (29-30 March, 2011). The event was organised by OSS Watch and 100% Open with the intention of bringing academia and industry together “to explore how the two sectors can jointly build and exploit open source mobile technologies”. The focus of this particular event was cross-platform mobile applications.

I gave a case study on the Mobile Campus Assistant software that we are developing as part of the MyMobileBristol project. I provided an overview of the aims and objectives of the Mobile Campus Assistant project from 2009 and how we are now developing the software further as part of the deliverables for the current project.

The slides from the presentation are available on SlideShare. Picture of me presenting:

Mike presenting at osjmob11

(Picture courtesy of Sylwia Presley)

The workshop was a stimulating two days of talks and networking; live blogging recorded the event.

One of the objectives of the workshops was to establish future collaborations, and individuals were able to pitch what they could provide and what they needed from collaborations. In that regard, the Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT) at the University of Bristol can provide:

  • Mobile development (web and native applications)
  • Consultancy on developing mobile solutions within HEI
  • A mobile web solution for aggregating institutional content

What we would like:

  • Interesting partnerships and collaborations
  • Feedback on our Mobile Campus Assistant solution
  • Money and grants :)

Last week (16-17th February, 2011) I attended the developer conference, Dev8D. The focus of the event is to provide cost effective training for developers in Higher Education. The event is comprised of tutorials, workshops, lightning talks, panel sessions by experts or ‘gurus’ and challenges.

I gave a lightening talk on MyMobileBristol:

I also sat on a ‘guru session’ about the Mobile Web with Tim Fernando and Chris Northwood from Oxford’s Molly team. Molly is an excellent Python/Django based framework for creating information and service portals targeted at mobile devices. Due to a scheduling clash I arrived ten minutes late and the questions and panel discussions had moved from the ‘Mobile Web’ to Python appreciation. I had nothing to add since my current comfort zone is in the verbosity of Java (and Objective-C!). However, the discussion soon moved back to issues such as native applications vs. Mobile Web.

This year I entered one of the programming challenges. I created an iPhone application that displays some of the data in JISC’s PIMs API – a database that holds information about JISC-funded projects both past and present. I won! I was a little surprised since the other entries were very good, including Paul Walks HTML 5 application, PocketPIMs.

Here is a screen cast of my application:

Here is a photo of my certificate:

Victory is Ours!

I also won a £50 Amazon voucher … now spent. :-) As you can see, my colleague Damian Steer, also won one of the challenges.

Connecting Bristol

On 13 December I attended the Connecting Bristol event at the Watershed. The project was a response to the Government’s 2007 Digital Challenge, and provided an opportunity to reflect on what had been accomplished by the project and to identify new priorities.

Of particular interest was a presentation by Victoria Tillotson on the Media Sandbox and the current projects that take advantage of council data:

MyMobileBristol is looking to run a workshop to get people together to discuss the problems with accessing local data and I hope to contact these projects in the near future.

openMIC #9

On the 2nd of December, I attended the openMic event that was being held in the Jam Factory, Oxford. It was the 9th in a series of un-conference events but the first one that I have attended. Unfortunately, I was only able to stay for the talks in the morning and had to miss the bar camp sessions that were planned for the afternoon. The day suffered, to a certain extend, from the snow since Reto Meier from Google was unable to make the trip along with a number of delegates. That said, the rest of the speakers were able to make the event along with a good number of delegates to make for an interesting morning.

Dale Lane from IBM R&D gave a talk that covered the history of various mobile devices, looking at various innovations that succeeded and failed for various reasons. Anyone remember the IBM Linux Watch?

Daniel Appelquist, Web and Internet Evangelist at Vodafone (and W3C Advisory Committee Representaive at Vodafone) talked about the advantages and disadvantages of developing for the Mobile Web. The talk included a survey of relevant technologies, including JavaScript APIs for handling gestures, geo-location API, W3C widgets (which provide monetization opportunities), PhoneGap, and the problems of privacy, i.e. who gets to access data and for what purpose? There is also currently work on other APIs for contacts, calendars, filesystems, augmented reality (POIs) and WebGL.

Tom Melamed of Calvium gave an overview of the tools that can be used to create web applications for mobile phones, including those than can be packaged as native applications through frameworks like PhoneGap and Titanium. He also demonstrated the web-based tools that his company have developed. Through the tools you are able to create geo-location applications that can be played through a “player” that is on the iPhone App store or, with their help, packaged in its own iPhone application. Android should also be supported later in 2012.

Mark Watts-Jones from Everything Everywhere talked around areas of marketing and customer relations. There were a number of key messages: keeping customers happy keeps the revenue coming in; customers have different needs, behaviour, phones and money; and it should be noted that customers are not buying the app but the benefits that the app brings.

I found the morning session fascinating and have subsequently met Tom Melamed in Bristol, to discuss the MyMobileBristol project and the possibility of joining the beta programme to access Calvium’s web-based tool.

This is a quick report on the meeting of the “Open Innovation” and “Access to Resources” projects that are part of the Business and Community Engagement programme. The meeting (held at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Bristol) on the 23 November, 2010, was the first time that all of the projects had met in person.

The projects in attendance, included:

  • MyMobileBristol, University of Bristol (Open Innovation)
  • O2I, University of Cornwall (Open Innovation)
  • REALISE, University of Southampton (Open Innovation)
  • Bracken, Swansea Metropolitan University (Access to Resources)
  • Open Biz, University of Edinburgh (Access to Resources)
  • RES-KN, University of Plymouth (Access to Resources) [5]

The meeting had a number of objectives:

  • Project introductions and getting a clearer understanding of the objectives of the programme.
  • Exploring the creation of a supportive environment.
  • Looking at the strengths and expertise that exists between the projects that might be shared and to identify gaps.
  • Possible collaborations.
  • Identifying stakeholders.
  • What would be considered a successful outcome for the project.

Simon Whittemore, the programme manger, identified the common strands between the projects:

  • All are pilots and demonstrators, and so have an innovation role.
  • All are expected to generate and facilitate innovation in a BIS sense, i.e. actual creation of products and services.
  • All should be exploring online marketplaces and services.
  • All are at the leading edge of their sector – they are exploratory.
  • All are focussing on partnerships.

The work of the projects will be helped by a Support and Synthesis team. They will try and gather key topics and issues across the projects and will try and make use of them. This might include organising sessions based around common topics and themes identified today include Intellectual Property models, especially in relation to Open Source software; Web 2.0 tools; data usage and ownerships; the tension between collaboration and competition.

We were also introduced to the different services that could be provided by JISC Advance in supporting the aims of the project.

From a collaboration point of view I think the REALISE project will be in touch, since they are focussed on accessibility of online tools. A number of projects were also interested in mobile technologies, although not necessarily MyMobileBristol. I pointed out that the project team and ILRT had expertise in project management, technical management, a strong record in successful bid submissions and technical expertise in web and mobile technologies. I also pointed out the project team was employing experts in usability, user experience and design.

Punam Khosla from the Acumen project will be contacting us to help refine stakeholder analysis; including both internal and external stakeholders. They are going to take a “holistic view” of all the projects and will create a stakeholder map. They will look for both synergies and gaps and will help publicise project successes.

In identifying success, I suggested that the University adopting MyMobileBristol as a service beyond the end of the project could be seen as a success. In hindsight, I should have pointed out, even if a different product was used, the adoption of case studies, relationships with third parties, lessons learnt would also be successes.

We were told to gather any evidence of impact, such as feedback from events (including video clips). So, the outputs from our recent Developing for the Mobile Web workshop should be useful in this regard. When we work on stake holder analysis and user engagement, it might be useful to record the interviews at the end of the project to see if we have met expectations.

During our recent Developing for the Mobile Web event, organised in partnership with DevCSI, Kirtsy Pitkin interviewed members of the project team and a number of the delegates.

Nikki Rogers, the Project Manager of MyMobileBristol, talks about the project and organising the event:

Here’s me needing a haircut and looking like I’m about to throw up!

The event had a lot of delegates from the University sector, but we were were really happy to have a number of independent developers in attendance as well, including Gicela Morales and Katja Durrani:

We were really pleased that Tim Fernando, project manager of the University of Oxford’s Molly Project, was able to speak at the event:

Dick Davies, Senior Web Engineer at Cardiff University:

Jamie Aylward, a developer from the University of Exeter:

Georgina Parsons, a systems librarian from Brunel University:

Lights, camera, action …

We were recently visited by Marc Dobson and Andrew Stewart from the Support and Synthesis team of the Business and Community Engagement programme. Marc and Andrew produced the following recording of Nikki and myself:

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