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Erewhon/Mobile Oxford Presentation to OUCS - 25 March 2010



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  • Name
    1st Lightning

  • “I wish Oxontime would be as great to use as that”.

  • Small team
    Large workload
    Huge demand

  • People give us
    * Data
    * Guidelines
    * Suggestions

    But we are the deciders of what goes in, how and how it is displayed.

    We take on the responsibility of supporting devices, making sure the content is relevant and produced in an optimal way as we consider ourselves expert in delivering the mobile services.

    Advantages: They need no overheads of

  • * I’m going to be controversial and say: Design by committee doesn’t work.
    * For the same reason that asking individuals what they want doesn’t work:
    * It’s too slow and people generally don’t understand the technology and capabilities.

    * There’s no point wasting time on extensive surveys to decide what to do - do something by understanding the market and what people want and then see if people like it.

    The market/industry is changing too fast and thus it becomes a case of opportunities and realistic expectations.

    Good examples: Facebook - who here joined Facebook the second they knew about it?
    Twitter, tripit, sat nav etc.


  • 1. Erewhon, Mobile Oxford and Molly Sebastian Rahtz & Tim Fernando Presentation to OUCS 25 March 2010
  • 2. • All objectives completed • Work delivered in 17 months with an average of 2.1FTE • Ranked no2 Project in JISC Institutional Innovation Strand • Presented at 19 events and conferences • Has run under budget and at no cost to OUCS
  • 3. “Demonstration Mobile Applications” Erewhon
  • 4. “Demonstration Mobile Applications” Erewhon Mobile Oxford
  • 5.
  • 6. Averaging 70 unique page views per hour Other than our initial press release and interview, no advertising thus far
  • 7. MAPS PLACES Multiple geo sources, Open Street Map, HTML5 etc
  • 8. CONTACTS Sysdev XML interface/LDAP or screen scraping
  • 9. LIBRARY SEARCH Z39.50 (library protocol), OpenStreetMap, 3rd Party GIS
  • 10. Universal Search Regex pattern matching for ISBNs, Bus Stops and interfaces with our Google Search Appliance.
  • 11. Realtime Information
  • 12. Other ideas/work in progress More Sakai tooks Walking/Cycle Routing Short Course Bookings Live train times College Meal Bookings Location based study group organiser Augmented reality layer Further social networking integration Local city event listings Fully AJAX interface Official Traffic cameras Many more!
  • 13. Design Philosophy: “Make it work with the worst-case scenario and add functionality which can gracefully degrade using a standards based approach”
  • 14. Provides a full feature set on *any* web capable phone
  • 15. Data Flow Diagram (Simplified) etc. phones under 100USD Molly as ‘Mobile Oxford’ Feature phone UI OSS Data Aggregation Oracle Student System Lots of Data Sources and Manipulation Layer Web User Oak Directory Service Interface OxPoints RESTfull API Geo-Spatial Database Smartphone UI Oxford iTunes U Integration Native Oxford Library Information Service Other Open Applications Applications Street Map And More...
  • 16. Management of the service
  • 17. We design and maintain the UI
  • 18. What we need for the future: Open Data
  • 19. Users don’t know what they want (so use common sense)
  • 20. Strategic Reasoning
  • 21. Mobile computing == computing Wearable items: ULP Bluetooth Watch, motion sensors, heart sensors Tablet form factor Multi-path connectivity etc
  • 22. US Advocacy PyCon, Georgia Tech, Berkeley, Stanford
  • 23. “Molly”
  • 24. Available now at:
  • 25. Aim: be a direct competitor to commercial alternatives Blackboard Mobile, Campus M being two examples in the UK
  • 26. Longevity Molly is currently divided into two parts: Data & UI
  • 27. Native Applications