There's an app for that

Justin Law

USI mobile app launched, concerns addresssed


The USI mobile application for the iPhone was recently launched, and with it may have been some concerns regarding certain features of the app.

When someone downloads the app, they have access to features such as a campus map, an option to look up class schedules and a mobile version of the campus directory.

The concerns are anyone can download the application and can then look up any information that is in the campus directory such as addresses, phone numbers and office numbers.

“If it’s in the public directory, it’s there,” said Scott Anderson, instructor of computer science. Anderson was the lead developer in the creation of the mobile application. “It’s not even as much information as there is in the directory.”

There is a feedback system available for the application users to provide comments and suggestions. Anderson said he has not seen any comments from users regarding the campus directory option being available.

“It’s already a public record,” said Mark Rozewski, vice president for finance and administration. “We publish a phonebook.”

Rozewski said no one is listed in the application’s directory that isn’t already listed under the printed directory.

Some of the features that were added to USI’s application were influenced by what other universities are doing with their mobile platforms. The directory was one of these features.

Anderson said other universities usually pay an outside company to develop their applications, but USI faculty and staff developed USI’s app in-house.

One of the repeated complaints filed with the aforementioned feedback system regards the campus map. Anderson said the map is three-years-old, and is run by Google Maps. As soon as Google Maps updates the campus map, the application will be automatically updated.

Anderson said this update should occur sometime in the near future.

There have also been a few complaints regarding the lack of an email feature tied into the application. Anderson said the thought behind this was the people would just use the email feature already available, but he will be investigate a similar feature for the USI app.

There are no numbers available regarding the number of users that have downloaded the application already because it is a free app, and only applications users have to purchase keep track of that information.

Anderson did mention that he has received a number of comments regarding the application, suggesting a significant number of people use it.

As of now, the application is only available for iPhone users, but Anderson said he has a software development class that is developing a version of the application for the android platform.