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Beacon-powered app helps students navigate university library

Students and visitors to the University of Oklahoma library can better navigate the building’s stacks, study resources and exhibits thanks to a new mobile navigation system powered by Aruba beacons.

The OU Libraries NavApp uses Bluetooth low-energy beacon technology to power indoor navigation, proximity-aware push notifications and other location-based mobile engagement services.

OU installed Aruba beacons in the libraries, exhibits and campus landmarks that will guide students using turn-by-turn navigation. On-campus landmarks with the beacons include the National Weather Center, Fred Jones Museum, and Sam Noble Natural History Museum.

The app is organized by the type of user – student, faculty or visitor – so users can find information relevant to them.  In addition, once inside buildings, the app helps users locate resources, gallery exhibits, elevators and even bathrooms. The app is also handicap friendly.

“With the beacons and mobile app, we can now leverage the technology that’s already in our freshmen’s pockets – their mobile devices – to combine the offline and online experience and guide them between resources,” said Matthew Cook, emerging technologies librarian for OU. “Essentially, these solutions let us tap into and better serve the needs” of mobile-focused users.

The app is available for both Android and Apple devices, and OU plans to eventually expand the projects into a campuswide navigation system.

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