Whether for entertainment, work, or communicating with family and friends, there are countless reasons our society is becoming increasingly dependent upon mobile technology. Mobile platforms, such as phones, tablets and other devices, now play an increasingly critical role in all areas of life and society around the world. As a result, the interest in mobile technology design and research is greater than ever.
"Mobile-first" is a way of approaching technology design that flips typical design strategy on its head by prioritizing mobile platforms over desktop platforms. In doing so, developers have to innovate within unique constraints of mobile platforms while making the most of the unique capabilities of mobile technology. Mobile technology can improve how to receive, with limited bandwidth, large amounts of constantly changing data and how to process it rapidly, securely, and more effectively by using platforms designed specifically for mobile devices.
NBCC's role in mobile-first technology
By consulting with stakeholders in New Brunswick's information and communications technology community, NBCC Applied Research and Innovation identified Mobile-First as a research priority and a natural fit for NBCC which offers over 15 programs in information communications technology.
In spring 2013, NBCC was awarded grant funding through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), along with matching industry funds, to establish an inaugural Industrial Research Chair in Mobile First Technology.
As the NSERC Industrial Research Chair, Dr. Bill McIver is responsible for conducting research and working collaboratively with partners in the information and communications technology sector to develop advanced mobile first technology.
"I'm interested in finding ways to apply mobile technology to critical problems that impact our lives and our livelihoods," he said. Although he is based at NBCC Fredericton Campus, his work will take him around the college community to collaborate with industry partners and other researchers in Moncton, Saint John, St. Andrews, Woodstock and Miramichi.
With Dr. McIver’s guidance, NBCC will enhance its learning environment and focus its applied research program on the technical and design issues inherent in the evolution of the mobile technologies. Students will be able to take advantage of internships and co-op placements where they can potentially work on applied research and innovation projects.
The research will also benefit industry in New Brunswick. Mobile First solutions will directly and positively impact the competitive position of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in New Brunswick and position them to take advantage of present and future opportunities within this sector. Key among these will be NBCC's current private-sector partners in the Mobile First Technology Initiative.
Some priorities and opportunities that have been identified by NBCC's industrial partners include:
- Improve mobile user interaction and experience
- Develop methods for using and visualizing big data on mobile platforms
- Identify and develop best practices in mobile technology design and development, including the generation of business models.
Through the Mobile-First Technology Initiative, NBCC is preparing students and New Brunswick industry to take advantage of the new opportunities and economic growth that are possible through innovation in the mobile technology sector.