GU Pushes Innovation To Update Technology
Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 11:04
With a mobile phone application set to go live Thursday and the university’s inaugural Innovation Summit planned for this week, Georgetown is attempting to speed up its slow crawl into the 21st century.
The mobile app will allow the university community to access the Georgetown directory, campus map, events calendar, GUTS bus schedules and news via smartphones.
The university partnered with Modo Labs, which also works with Harvard University, Villanova University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology on their mobile apps, to create the Georgetown platform.
According to Lisa Davis, who became the university’s chief information officer in February, the development of a mobile app marks a big step for the university.
“Student focus groups and surveys have identified mobile as the number one priority for students,” Davis wrote in an email.
Davis and UIS also hope to address student concerns by expanding wireless Internet coverage across campus. Much of campus did not have Wi-Fi until last spring. Within the past week, University Information Services added Wi-Fi coverage to all of Copley and Healy Lawns, according to Davis.
UIS is also in the process of determining the cost of entirely replacing the HOYAS network, which is still the only Wi-Fi available in several buildings including the Leavey Center, the Southwest Quad, Reiss Science Building and New South Hall.
The inaugural Innovation Summit, to be this Thursday and Friday, intends to encourage students and faculty to utilize new educational technologies.
Chief Innovation Officer Michael Wang hopes the event can be replicated every semester.
“The idea just came because there’s an obvious place for technology, and it goes beyond just widgets and gadgets,” he said. “It’s about finding things that are useful and that are relevant to our constituents at the university.”
The summit’s first day, titled the “Day of Ideas,” includes several 15-minute presentations and conversations. Approximately 18 companies, including Dell, Grockit, HelloWallet and LivingSocial, will present during the event.
“The companies and presenters will hopefully expose participants to a wealth of new products and ideas,” planning committee member Hilary Cohen (COL ’14) wrote in an email. “However, there’s also a hope that they will help us collaborate and innovate to find solutions to real problems on campus.”
The “Day of Action,” the second day of the summit, will focus on discussing how to realistically implement the ideas proposed during the summit’s first day.
“I think [we invited outside companies] because we’ve heard a lot of feedback from students, staff and faculty that they’re interested in the ideas from these companies, and if it’s something that the community finds valuable, it hopefully is something that we can explore,” Wang said.
Co-Chair for Strategy and Events R. Scott Munro (COL ’12), former chief financial officer of Students of Georgetown, Inc., believes the summit is a signal of a new focus on technology at Georgetown.
“I think this summit represents a larger shift at Georgetown around really making our campus cutting edge, innovative and an ideal learning environment for us Hoyas,” he wrote in an email.