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UC App Lab on MainStreet unveils mobile app suites on iTunes, Google Play

Students and faculty have launched their first mobile app suites out of the new UC App Lab on MainStreet.

The University of Cincinnati opened the App Lab, a campus mobile application development center, a little over a month ago. It's a physical space where students, faculty, staff and alumni can develop apps for smartphones and tablets. It's located with ResNet and MobileCats wireless store on MainStreet, and is the only space of its type in the region.

The first two app suites are geared toward the campus community. One is for current students, while the other is for alumni.

Through Blackboard Mobile Learn, current students can access a UC campus map, check grades, track shuttles, access university sports and campus news and events. The app is free for current UC students. The Alumni app accesses campus news and networking events. It allows alumni to donate to the college, volunteer at the college, and connect with other alumni via their social networks, among other features.

This is the just the start for the App Lab, which is working with local businesses and organizations to create new mobile apps.

"We are moving pretty fast," says Nelson Vincent, vice president of UC Information Technologies. "We're working on a second release of the alumni app, and working with some startup companies to see if they are a good fit."

The App Lab is a way to cultivate the region's mobile app development talent. It's a growing part of web commerce and everyday life for millions of smartphone users. In 2012, the average person used some form of mobile 127 minutes a day, Vincent says.

"It's a real generational shift," he says. "Who doesn't have a smartphone today with apps on it? And folks who do this work in Cincinnati are in very short supply."

As the app development program matures, UC is considering partnering with private businesses for mentorship and co-op opportunities.

"This is a really exciting time," says Vincent. "A community of people are coming together to make this happen, and we think this is going to take off."

By Feoshia H. Davis
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