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Beacon Technology Teaches International Students About Their Surroundings

The University of Lodz has adopted the SmartUni app, which enables its 1,200 international students to better understand their surroundings and receive updates, announcements and schedules based on their location on campus.
By Claire Swedberg

"After testing out different scenarios, we came to a conclusion that most students prefer to receive the forms via e-mail and fill them out using desktop computers," Felsztukier says. "This is why we added a 'share by e-mail' functionality to our mobile application." When students come within range of the beacon at a specific administrative office, they are offered access to forms they may require, and they can simply opt to receive those forms via the e-mail address they input during the SmartUni app installation process.

In addition, Lato says, when students enter a department's offices or a dormitory, the app receives "welcome messages to provide students with a simple guide how to find their local coordinators. This way, they don't have to depend on their foreign-language skills but feel comfortable from the very beginning."

When a user's phone comes within range of a beacon, the SmartUni app displays information related to that location.
The phone can receive beacon signals whether or not the SmartUni app is open. If the phone receives a signal when the app is not running, it will launch the app. The only requirement is that users enable their smartphone's Bluetooth functionality.

The system can also track which announcements or messages generate a response from a SmartUni user, and thus tailor the content that person receives accordingly. However, Felsztukier notes, that feature is not yet in use. "This might change in the future," he states, "as we plan to provide more personalized information."

To date, the solution has been adopted by 80 percent of international students, and the messages that the system sends to users have a 47.5 percent engagement rate, meaning that 47.5 percent of those messages resulted in a response. Polish students can also utilize the app for navigation purposes, or for receiving announcements, since a version of the app is available in their native language.

"We have received a lot of positive reactions after the launch," Lato reports. "We would love to install more beacons and work on more tailored push messages in the future, as well as synchronize the app with all IT programs that are being used by the university." She adds that "There are lots of ideas we want to implement."

The SmartUni app was funded, in part, by the European Social Fund, under the umbrella of the European Union.

USER COMMENTS

Shubhi Mittal 2015-12-28 05:41:43 AM
Coupling mobile phones with innovative ideas, using iBeacon technology, opens a host of opportunities and makes the learning experience far more exciting. The beacon deployment at University of Lodz is a great example of it. Statistically speaking as well, according to a study by Pearson, 92% of students believe that tablets or smartphones could improve their learning experience. So, it is great to see education sector experimenting with technologies such as iBeacon. You might find the information here useful in relation to education and iBeacon technology http://blog.beaconstac.com/2015/04/education-the-next-beacon-hotspot/

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