ORLANDO, Fla. Nokia, AT&T, Microsoft and Seton Hall University announced a partnership in which the university will give Windows Phone-based Nokia Lumia 900s to all incoming freshmen.
The issuing of the smartphones is part of Seton Hall's Mobile Computing Initiative. The entire class of 2016 will receive a Nokia Lumia 900, powered by the Windows Phone 7.5 operating system, to support the university's mission of providing state-of-the-art technology tools to enhance the student experience and prepare students for success in a rapidly changing world. Nokia made the announcement at the Microsoft TechEd 2012 conference here.
Since 1997, Seton Hall has provided mobile technology to its students and faculty to support the integration of technology into the curriculum. Enhancing the university's philosophy of open-ended exploration, students discover new opportunities for learning with mobile computing, sharing ideas and collaborating with peers and faculty while learning how to use technology effectively in their academic, professional and personal lives. Mobile technology provides a means of enhancing all aspects of university life, and encourages students to engage with each other and the university community from orientation through graduation.
"Nokia has a long history of innovation and their partnership with Microsoft allows us to extend the core academic and community resources of the university into the pocket of our students," David Middleton, executive director of the Center for Mobile Research and Innovation, and assistant vice president of administration at Seton Hall, said in a statement. "By providing our new incoming students with the Nokia Lumia 900, Seton Hall University can expand our existing Windows services and infrastructure while providing a unique, high quality, dynamic and engaging mobile experience."
All Seton Hall students have access to SHUmobile, an app available across multiple platforms that provides access to campus news feeds, directories and maps. However, Seton Hall freshmen will have access to a custom Freshmen Experience component of this app exclusive to the Lumia 900. This personalized element adds customized social media integration and direct communication channels with their freshmen peers, peer academic advisors, housing information and roommates. Additionally, the university will leverage Nokia Data Gathering, recently made available for Windows Phone, to communicate with the incoming freshmen, beginning this summer, by conducting polls, providing information to help students prepare for college and to learn how the Lumia 900 and other technologies are being used.
"Mobile technology has become ubiquitous and pervasive, but we are just beginning to understand the breadth of its impact across campus, Michael Taylor, academic director of the Center for Mobile Research and Innovation, said in a statement Smartphone use in higher education has tended to rely on finding a specific app to fulfill a specific curricular purpose. With the close collaboration between Nokia and Microsoft on the Lumia 900, the phone itself takes center stage."
David Mason, director of product marketing for business mobility at Nokia, told eWEEK that Seton Hall has had an ongoing relationship with Nokia and has been a Symbian phone user for some time. Indeed, the university was happy to see Microsoft partner with Nokia on the phone front because it meant they could leverage synergies between their Windows backbone and the new Windows Phone system, Nokia officials said.
Seton Halls Taylor said the seamless integration of core academic tools such as Microsoft Office increases the opportunity for faculty and students to connect, collaborate and create. The synthesis of Windows Phone features and Lumia 900 hardware are an enhancement to the university's commitment to teaching and learning with technology. Using AT&T's 4G network, these partnerships will help foster new opportunities for learning, content creation and experimentation.
Nokia provides the business market with a portfolio of high-quality devices at every price point that meets the needs of people, both as consumers and business users.
On June 7, Nokia announced that Woodcraft Rangers, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization providing education and enrichment to more than 16,500 youths from in-need neighborhoods through after-school programs, had chosen the Lumia 900 to support its field operations and to increase operational efficiencies. The Nokia Lumia 900s replaced BlackBerry devices in the Woodcraft Rangers repertoire.
For more than 90 years, Woodcraft Rangers has been providing participatory programs for students in kindergarten through high school through government grants, donations and bequests. Operational efficiency, ease of use and integration with existing IT infrastructure is of paramount importance to the organization. "We were looking to repurpose BlackBerry servers, so right there we are saving money," said David Lara, IT Administrator, Woodcraft Rangers. "Additionally, our site coordinators like the big, bright Live Tiles, the Lumia's large screen, and we like the seamless integration to our Office Suite," he added.
Woodcraft Rangers officials said more than 90 employees at the nonprofit have received the Lumia 900 in Cyan, noting that black is too hard to find in a purse or between the car seats. "We looked at a lot of options," Lara noted. "The sturdy construction of the Lumia 900 stood out to us. Other options seemed too delicate and focused on entertainment. Nokia's option gave us the functionality of the most popular smartphone in a format that lets us focus on our work."
Site coordinators use their mobiles to share and review documents while in the field. Additionally, employees can quickly and accurately use their time-card application on their mobile, which ensures payroll accuracy. By pinning the mobile app URL to their home screen as a Live Tile, access to the time-card app is one touch away.