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Local developers create campus smartphone app

A new app developed specifically for Fresno State may revolutionize the way students interact with classes and the campus.

Matt Tymn, a software tech entrepreneur, and Nick Gundry are the co-founders of One Sense, LLC. They have now created a “Campus” app for Fresno State.

One Sense media representative Alene Istanboulian said Tymn and Gundry created this app to make lives easier for students.

“How do I get to my classroom? How do I get my notes? How do I know when the bookstore is having a sale?” are examples of questions that could be answered through the app, Istanboulian said.

Tymn said class notes, notifications for events on campus, guest lectures, discounts at Campus Pointe and real-time Bulldog sports updates would be available on the mobile app.

Tymn said One Sense uses iBeacon technology that relays information to a person who is near a beacon, via a tablet or smartphone.

“Beacons can be placed on trees,” said Tymn. “Beacons can be placed on any objects, and we can relay content across to students as they basically walk around campus.”

In 2014 Tymn and Gundry won the “59 Days of Code” competition, a Fresno-based competition in which competitors are challenged with creating a web or mobile app within 59 days.

Tymn and Gundry’s app powered the competition by bringing real-time information to event attendees and exhibitors.  

Tymn said that he and Gundry started to look at other markets and found one in Fresno State, specifically focusing on students.

“We met with [President Dr. Joseph I.] Castro, and we showed him our concept, and we said, ‘Hey, we really think we can enrich the student experience,’” said Tymn. “And how we can do that is by providing information to the students at the right time.”

Tymn said he interviewed students and asked them about their first-time experiences on campus and what it was like.  Then he took what the students said and presented that information to Castro and the others involved.

Tymn said meetings were held with President Castro, executive directors, professors and students to discuss how the app would benefit students and how it could be integrated into the campus.

Tymn said the first phase in integrating the technology into the campus will be through the students involved in the DISCOVERe program.

Mike Pronovost, hub manager of the DISCOVERe tablet program at Fresno State, said that the program will be directly involved with the “Campus” app and will be training students on how to use the technology.

“There’s a lot this app has to offer students, and I’m dedicated to getting student input to see how they’d like to best use these beacons to offer them an unparalleled college experience,” said Pronovost.

The beacons will allow students to be engaged with the campus on a new level, Pronovost said,  and will shed light on services and areas on campus that students may not have been aware of.

“We see the potential for virtual guided tours, and on the first day of class we potentially foresee this app having the ability to walk you to your classroom if you’re not sure where the class or building is located,” Pronovost said.

He said students could be a catalyst for new ideas for the beacons, and he looks forward to student input.

“The students will benefit from this great technology, and this technology puts Fresno State on the forefront of higher ed innovation in regard to location awareness beacons,” Pronovost said.

Now everything will be right there at everyone’s fingertips, Tymn said

“As you walk around campus, you basically have a sense of place, and the campus interacts with you,” Tymn said.

Along with the Fresno State “Campus” app, One Sense has partnered with the Downtown Fresno Partnership and Downtown Fresno Foundation to create the “[re] Discover” app.

The “[re] Discover” app will focus on engagement in downtown Fresno.  The app will allow users to take self-guided tours of downtown, and the app will relay historical facts and information on the best places to visit and events happening.

The “Campus” app should start running by the end of this fall semester, and the “[re] Discover” app will launch in mid-October.