Mobile at Berkeley Lab - An Update

Fall marks the anniversary of last year's successful mobility competition and an opportunity to take stock of where the Laboratory is with its mobile strategy. At this time last year, our calendar and collaboration systems were supported by a small minority of mobile devices, and then only with kludgy third party workarounds.  Email, since it was based on the open standard IMAP, was supported by many devices, but "push" was unavailable.  Today, with our transition to Google Apps, we are pleased to provide the Laboratory with full support for email and calendar services across almost all modern smartphone platforms.  Further, both the Google Apps collaboration apps as well as our enterprise wiki Commons support viewing today, and will be supporting editing in the near future.   If you're an iPad user, you've also benefited from Google Apps tablet web-interface, which provides a nearly fully functional Gmail web client in a form-factor designed for tablets.  This is a small example of the continuous innovation in mobile we're expecting as part of our partnership with Google. 

At the same time, the evolution of the devices and the capabilities of their browsers continue to make new things possible without major changes to our underlying systems.  For example, last year, filling our your timecard on LETS with Mobile Safari on the iPhone wasn't possible -  Today, it's reasonably straightforward.  Our application hasn't changed, but the browser's capabilities have.

In the next year, we're looking forward to further evolutions of our mobile strategy.  The mobile portal m.lbl.gov will be updated and we're expecting the launch of a local iPhone app store designed to distribute custom LBL applications.  We'll also be working with the operations divisions to understand how mobile (including the ideas submitted in the contest) fits into the overall strategy for enterprise applications. For example, we're currently working with EHS to pilot a mobile-phone based safety walkaround application.  We're also piloting a safety refresher course that's mobile and location-enabled, allowing for a new, more interactive (and hopefully effective) training experience.

In my next update, I'll cover the advances we've seen on the science side in the past year.  In the meantime, be sure to visit labtech.lbl.gov for information about mobile devices and capabilities, and places to submit your ideas for mobility at LBL.  -Adam

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