I remember registering for courses at university. It was like dialing-in a tour through the 10 courts of Hell with a phonebook-sized course guide. On the other end of the line a slow, drawling automated voice led the hellish tour, heckling your every choice.
“You signed up for 8…9…6…5…3…5….3…0…1… Human Fac-tors… in Design. 8…9…6…5…3…5….3…0…1… is… FULL. Please… choose… again. [inaudible cackle]”
That’s why what ModoLabs is doing is important. The team is using their Kurogo framework to take two key aspects of the Auto-Voice Lady’s job away – finding out more info on courses and signing up for campus tours, as well as the potential to tour campuses digitally from your smartphone.
The team, who earlier this year was a finalist at the SXSW accelerator competition, is poised to push Auto-Voice Lady one step closer to early retirement with the launch of its to new modules for universities. The aim is to use their framework to “provide mobile solutions that the students are using,” says Modo Lab’s CEO, Andrew Yu. The platform also ties in other social media platforms from the school allowing students to find out what Facebook and Twitter is saying on campus.
Modo Labs launched in 2007, with a goal to build an open platform for universities, colleges, and hospitals to build both web and native mobile applications. They’re also leveraging the platform for other areas as well, where Auto-Voice Lady might hide, like hospitals and corporations.
“At MIT when we open sourced the code in 2009, we noticed that many unversities downloaded the code,” says Yu of their choice to target campuses. At the beginning, when they were raising money, potential investors weren’t convinced, telling Yu and CTO Marshall Vale the market was too small. “But the market is expanding. In some cases, the university market grew faster than other areas,” says Yu.
While their platform hasn’t totally rid the world of Auto-Voice Lady yet, this week gets us one step closer. As for the minions of Auto-Voice Lady – yes, you lowly admissions people – the Admissions and Tours modules provides you with more information on the students applying, and can create leads out of that for the admissions officers, says Yu.
I’ll end this with a public service announcement: Modo Labs is working with a few of the leading universities already, so if your university is still using phone-in registration, run away. Now.