Taiwan university gives mobile info access

Tamkang University debuts mobile platform which lets students access the school's campus portal via their smartphone handsets.

An academic institution in Taiwan is turning its campus portal into a connectivity hub for mobile devices.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Tamkang University said it has launched a platform that will give students, faculty members and administrative staff access to the school's Web portal via heterogeneous mobile devices such as smartphones and wireless-enabled personal digital assistants (PDAs).

A privately funded institution, Tamkang University is one of the schools in Taiwan looking to make its Web-based services accessible via mobile devices by leveraging on wireless technology. The school has three campus sites in the country.

Tamkang University's portal, which went live in December last year, was conceived to provide a range of services for the school's patrons and employees. Students, for example, can go to the portal to manage class messages, monitor student club activity updates as well as to check for test results and reserve library books.

Despite the availability of wireless coverage at all three premises, the university said that it only recently made its portal compatible with a range of smartphone devices, using technology supplied by software vendor Sybase.

"We faced a number of challenges including back-end system integration, the time and cost of adapting existing Web-based applications and content and the difficulty of supporting all the different mobile platforms," said Hwang Ming-Dar, IT director of Tamkang University's Information Processing Centre, in a media statement.

Tamkang University's portal can be accessed via smartphone handsets based on Palm, Symbian and Windows CE mobile operating environments.