University of Georgia and HP Take the Lead in the Mobile Zone: Students at UGA Aren't Waiting around for the 'Next Big Thing'

University Business, July 2004 | Go to article overview

University of Georgia and HP Take the Lead in the Mobile Zone: Students at UGA Aren't Waiting around for the 'Next Big Thing'


An academic-industry partnership at the University of Georgia (UGA] isn't trying to change the world with its embrace of iPAQ Pocket PCs and HP Tablet PCs, but Dr. Scott Shamp understands why some might think otherwise. "We're just trying to anticipate the way the world is changing," says the UGA professor, "as a result of new technology and its applications. Our point of view is it would have been cool to have seen the Internet coming. Imagine all that we could have contributed to and benefited from had we anticipated the Web before it happened. Well, we've been brainstorming and drilling down lately, trying to imagine what the 'Next Big Thing' might be, the next technology or application that changes everything."

For Dr. Shamp and his team, the exercise is not academic. As the founder and director of the New Media Institute (NMI), a department under the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at UGA, he is spearheading, in collaboration with team member HP, a wide-ranging and provocative initiative into wireless (WiFi) computing both on and off the Athens, GA, campus. "HP is providing vital resources that allow us to channel research time and technology resources to answering important questions about the best opportunities for mobile media," says Dr. Shamp, "but more important for us is the access to the ideas inside of HP. When our UGA students and faculty interact with the HP people, things start to happen. That free-wheeling interaction is where the future of mobile media comes true."

And the tie-in with HP is key to the program's success, he adds. "UGA is encouraging faculty members to establish relationships with industry. It helps keep our programs relevant; it keeps industry partners up to speed with UGA's teaching and research; and it provides much needed resources to expand our programs."

For Dr. Shamp and his students, the collaboration with industry permits them to focus on what they have identified as the next killer app: WiFi feels like the Internet in 1994 when everything was new and possible," he says. "WiFi is free to focus on what people actually want to do with wireless. We're taking applications out of the claustrophobic confines of locked-down proprietary networks to explore how people really want to use mobile media in the real world, mainly using iPAQs and HP Tablet PCs. Creativity, not profitability, is driving development. …

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