We are working on a new web app for NIU students to find information that can be hard to find on the Unversity's website, especially for students new to NIU. My favorite feature is the ability to use your smart phone to check what's for lunch in the Residence Halls at NIU! This information is freely available on the Housing and Dining Website, but I remember from my days living in the Residence Halls that it was always a hassle to get to. Our app automatically grabs this information and puts it in the palm of your hand.
The Huskie Bus Tracker is soon going to be built into our web app, as well. Preliminary attempts got it to work, but something about the internal system keeps changing variable names/etc., so once we establish a relationship with the admin to NIU's Bus tracking system, we will go live on campus and launch an advertising campaign to raise awareness and promote the new site.
For anyone who wants a sneak peek, please check http://niupdate.com/ and give me any feedback or comments that you would like to share. Be sure to check it on your phone as well as your computer and let us know of any compatibility problems. Please note that on the phone it should be a single frame, but on a desktop computer it will show the same content in several frames at once.
I just came back from the
Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization's national conference. It was a great opportunity, to learn from some of the best innovators around. Attendees included the founder of redbox, the CEO of priceline.com, Jimmy John Liautaud (owner of Jimmy John's), and numerous other entrepreneurs and innovators that shape the world we live in today.
It is hard to even begin to talk about all the things I learned while I was there. It was also inspiring to see all the hundreds of college students who came from all over the United States (some even from abroad, including Australia!). Beyond learning same great life lessons and insider tips about software marketing, prototyping, international data businesses and business plans (hint: the most successful people said not to write them!), I learned about some great fundraising and recruitment ideas that students at CEO chapters have done in the past, which our club will be trying out as well.
One of the most intriguing things I learned was where we, the members of the Innovators Club, fit into the established profiles of "entrepreneurship" type clubs. I learned that we offer something slightly different, which is a place to develop ideas and work on actual innovative products, patents, and businesses. The CEO organization offers the tools to help students build a foundation to become entrepreneurs in the future, with an emphasis on encouraging students to become entrepreneurs during college. This may be a subtle distinction, but I believe it is an important one, and hopefully as we grow and develop, we will be able to offer something unique to students. It is my belief that when we one day become as developed as the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization, we will be able to complement all the great work that they are doing, and perhaps work with them in the future, as I think that the more that different groups and organizations work together, the more that we can all work to encourage innovation and empowering students to make their ideas a reality.
We have just received our gift of laboratory notebooks from the Dean of Engineering, which means we are going to start our new initiative in training and encouraging proper record keeping of new ideas and inventions. We will be updating everyone at our next meeting on the proper procedures, and will be creating new training documents and guidelines as well.
I would like to invite everyone to attend a presentation by one of the innovators behind Taste Touch Technologies, a social-networking hardware and software company. It will be at 7:30 in room 358 at the engingeering building. We are very lucky to have this opportunity, as Taste Touch Technology is at the cutting edge of a brand new market, which is surely the next frontier in the technology world. As people become more and more engrossed with social networking technologies and always-on-the-web smart phones, people will begin to expect that real-life public interactions will include the same exciting instant communication tools that we use to stay in touch.
The innovators at Taste Touch envision a world where you can go to your local bar with your friends, and send drinks to the cute guy or girl on the other side of the bar. It is the logical next step to the bar-wide, electronic trivia games that you see already at places like Buffalo Wild Wings. I am personally excited to be given this rare peek into a company right at the critical point in it's development. You can go to http://www.touchtastetech.com/ to find out more about.