Location-based Services in Education – Enhanced Experiences on Campus
Universities, or actually any campus environment, can gain a lot of value from the emerging location-based services (LBS). There are a few characteristics that render campuses as prime hotspots that enable richer WiFi-based LBS experiences. Firstly, there is a captive audience: students and staff spend a lot of time for almost 9 months of the year within the campus, with a proportion even living on campus during this period. Secondly, the growing trend is pervasive WiFi – indoor and outdoor always available. Lastly, due to widely available free WiFi, the proportion of people walking around with their mobile devices with WiFi switched “on” is very high relative to other industries, not surprising since students are happy to use campus WiFi rather than pay for their mobile data service.
With Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experiences solution, universities can now bridge that gap between the WiFi they provide and the ever-growing number of mobile devices being carried by students and staff. Connected Mobile Experiences is powered by the Cisco Mobile Services Engine, which, when integrated with a Cisco wireless network, detects presence, locates and tracks all Wi-Fi signals—anonymously to ensure privacy—and then aggregates and enhances the data for location analytics and reporting. Based on this data, the engine delivers detailed analysis of mobile user onsite behaviors to optimize planning and operations. Cisco is working with leading universities that have some very interesting and innovative ideas where location analytics can provide a win-win solution for both the administration and all its patrons (students, faculty, staff, visitors).
Here are five applications of LBS in higher education:
- Enhanced User Experience
- Improved Campus Operational and Management
- Enhanced Learning Experience
- Enabling Specific Event Experiences
- Promotional and Marketing Opportunities
Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail.
Enhanced User Experience
Imagine a personalized campus tour with location based information and insights, providing not only information on key points of interest, but also little known facts and cool locations to visit. Couple that with quick tips and frequently asked questions, information on traditions and local services or facilities, and you have a very special, personalized experience for the student or campus visitor.
Improved Campus Operational and Management
Understanding how the campus is used can provide very important information and insights to college authorities. Discover the possibilities of knowing which are the busy restaurants, what patterns occur and vary by day/week/semester, where do students congregate, when are places crowded—LBS can even enable alerts when potential overcrowding occurs. LBS analytics identifying bottlenecks in student flow at peak times in the buildings could be a valuable tool in understanding the impact and effect of changes to building layout, and a higher education organization could reap benefits from an operational, buildings management and a health and safety perspective.
Managed Learning Experience
Imagine giving access to the course materials for lectures to all students or devices who actually attend the classroom using LBS and geofencing a classroom/lecture theatre zone.
Or how about reminding students that their book is overdue when they pass the library, or that their book has arrived and how to find it.
Enabling Specific Event Experiences
Think about the possibilities for specific events, such as football games, alumni events, concerts – all jam packed on the school calendar. Adding another layer of engagement to LBS enables a university to deliver an additional services to the captive audience. Being able to engage within a location context to visitor to the football game or concert, providing them with location based information like where their seats are or how to get a hot dog, along with being able to push promotions or offers will greatly enhance the potential for engagement between the university and the attendees.
Promotional and Marketing Opportunities
An obvious benefit of LBS in higher education is the ability to offer location based promotions or incentives to the students – such as restaurant offers or loyalty programs or discounts for events etc. As more and more students have smart phones on university campuses, the more receptive they will be to this engagement method, especially if there are tangible benefits offered, such as high quality free WiFi, loyalty programs or high quality services.
Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experiences provides an enabling mechanism to drive and deliver these LBS to Universities and Colleges worldwide.