UM Members Create Apps to Support a Smart Campus

Text & Photo:UM Reporter Sally Liang │ Issue 81 September My UM

Are you worried about missing out on the latest information about campus activities or, if you are a freshman, about getting lost on the big campus? Fear not. Some UM staff and students have created various mobile applications to help you get around the campus and stay abreast of the latest happenings. Let’s check it out.

Three members of the A-Cube Cultural & Creative Company Limited (from left): Pan Rujing, Dr Natalie Wong Siu Lam and Shao Xiaozhou.

UMRC

The ‘UMRC’ App, which is being widely used in the residential colleges (RC), allows the user to post information about events organised by the RCs and perform check-in. This App was designed by members of the A-Cube Cultural & Creative Company Limited in the Centre for Innovation at UM, as an effort to give back to their alma mater. It took the team two years to develop a trial version and another three months to write the program.

The user interface of the UMRC App

Shao Xiaozhou, a postgraduate student from the Department of Finance and Business Economics, and the CEO of the company, has lived in an RC for six years and served as a student leader for four years. He credits his keen observation with giving him the inspiration for this app. While living in the RC, he noticed that the RC collected data on student participation in activities in the old-fashioned way, by recording it on a piece of paper, which resulted in a heavy workload for staff in the RC general office who needed to manually verify the data. So he and his team members came up with the idea of creating an App to store all event information. With this App, keeping a record of the event photos becomes much easier. It is also a boon for students who need to search information for creating their e-portfolios.

Pan Rujing, a graduate of accounting from UM and the project manager of the company, says that they plan to upgrade the app by including an AR map, a chat App, and a space for students to share their lives on campus. They hope the upgraded version will provide a platform to bring UM members closer together.

The UMMAP App developed by Ricardo

UMMAP

Ricardo Brito, a postgraduate student of computer science from Cape Verde, developed an App called ‘UMMAP’ with GPS function. This trilingual App allows the user to find the locations of the buildings on campus using Chinese, English or Portuguese. Asked about the inspiration for this App, he says, ‘One weekend, when I was walking on the campus, a visitor came up to me and asked, How do I get to F AH? How do I get to E31? Where are the restaurants? After I gave him directions, I thought to myself, it’s a big campus, even if I explain with a map, it would probably still be a bit confusing to some people. So I thought, what if I develop an e-map that could show a person’s current location? Would it make it easier for someone to find his way?’ So he started developing the App in December 2017. At first he just wanted to create an e-map with very basic functions, but the more time he spent on it, the more functions he wanted to add. Six months later , in June of this year, the current UMMAP App was born.