Mobile device and application use on campus will continue to proliferate whether or not UC Berkeley forms a strategy. Roughly 50% of students and faculty own Internet-capable mobile devices, according to recent surveys of the UC Berkeley student and faculty populations by the California Digital Library, and a survey of students in the Residential Halls. This matches a broad trend that will find mobile surpassing all other modes of Internet access by 20131 .
UC Berkeley could choose not to develop a strategic campus response to mobile computing. But in that case, the University community would respond to the opportunities and requirements of the new technology with ad-hoc investments. These will prove disconnected and uncoordinated, and as the 2010 Bain Diagnostic report clearly showed, this type of response increases future aggregate costs, elevates institutional risk, and misses the opportunity for real innovation due to lack of scale and funding in our approach.
When developing mobile services, UC Berkeley should use a consortium-based or cross-UC approach over local development. Explore cost-benefit analysis on the use of commercial mobile platforms, keeping in mind vendor lock-in and privacy/security considerations. The workgroup specifically recommends against device-specific development22 such as iPhone or Android applications in favor of use of broader, device agnostic standards such as HTML53 .
2. Pragmatic Mobile Presence
Any campus mobile strategy will require a sensible, cost-effective primary University mobile presence, which is a mobile corollary to the main University website, in the form of a portal or main entry point to which smartphone users are directed and which provides a set of services and information targeted to the mobile population. The mobile site should optimize the user interface to different classes of device so that users have a more consistent experience than they would viewing an organization’s main website, which is more optimized for a desktop browser4 .
In light of principle #1 (Leveraged Approach), the working group believes that UC Berkeley should explore a standards-based approach in partnership with other UC campuses5, coming to agreement on how to manage governance and roadmap so that all participating institutions' mobile sites share a codebase (localized/branded by configuration). This effort should be pursued via ITLC, in the context of the regental efficiency directive (pdf) for the campuses to begin using shared systems.
3. Web Application Mobile Requirements
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1 See for example: http://gigaom.com/2010/04/12/mary-meeker-mobile-internet-will-soon-overtake-fixed-internet/
and the http://wp.nmc.org/horizon2010/chapters/mobile-computing/ mobile section of Educause's 2010 Horizon Report .