Case Study Preview: Rave Wireless

  • In The Power of Mobility, I feature case studies of seven companies who have successfully captured the power. Their success reflects the benefit of following the steps outlined in the book. A few weeks ago I started highlighting the stories behind the stories of these case study successes. So far, I’ve covered Xora and Anyware, the mobile solutions providers behind Allstate GES and Sport Clips, respectively.

One of the remaining case studies in the book is Montclair State University. Montclair State is New Jersey’s second largest and fastest growing university. Located just 14 miles from New York City, the university attracts a mix of resident students and students who live all around the metro area. In addition to delivering a great education, Montclair must focus on ensuring student safety and building community amongst a diverse and mobile student population.

Montclair turned to Rave Wireless, in partnership with Sprint Nextel, to enhance all three of these dimensions. I believe that, by capturing the Power of Mobility for their students, faculty, and staff, Montclair State has increased their value proposition to students and their parents and made their Campus Connect program so relevant to students that it creates loyalty throughout their school years and beyond. In short, mobility has become a key competitive tool that is helping drive the university’s phenomenal growth. Of course, all of this would be for naught if the target users (students who are very picky about their technology choices) had failed to adopt the Campus Connect program. You can read the full case study and how Montclair overcame these adoption challenges when the book comes out this fall.

In the meantime, let me introduce you to Rave Wireless.

On their website, Rave describes themselves as “the leading provider of mobile applications and managed mobile phone services that improve communication, build community, and enhance academics and safety, all while allowing colleges and universities to transition away from costly and obsolete landlines.”

Rave currently lists two classes of solutions on their website. Rave Alert is “simple, reliable way to send broadcast messages to as many students, faculty and staff as possible, in the fastest possible way.” This is a capability that has been core to Rave’s services for years, but I imagine it’s been broken out as a separate offer in the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy. Rave’s real value comes through in their full Rave Campus solution set.

On their website, Rave highlights eight characteristics of their Rave Campus solutions:

  • Easy to Implement Phone Program: “Rave?s deep relationships with top wireless carriers ensure coverage and capacity across your entire campus.” “Rave Wireless has existing and proven relationships with leading wireless carriers so your school can get the best handsets and price plans at a significantly reduced cost without the pain of extensive negotiations.” “The Rave Campus solution includes specialized marketing for the initial launch of your program, phones and price plans, as well as easy-to-use templates for on-going marketing to your students throughout the year.” And comprehensive support across the full lifecycle from ordering and fulfillment through technical support and billing.
  • Mobile Communications Platform: “With Rave Campus messages and instructions are communicated instantly to everyone on the device right in their pockets.” Plus the ability for users to create communications groups, and the ability to integrate communications with other campus applications.
  • Safety and Security: “Different emergency situations dictate different safety instructions. Rave Wireless broadcast text messaging allows your institution to communicate essential information to all students and faculty, ensuring they know what to do in emergency situations on campus.”
  • Rave Guardian: “Rave Guardian is a GPS-based campus safety application that puts a virtual public safety officer at every student’s side when they need it. … Students activate a Rave Guardian timer on their mobile phone whenever they feel unsafe (e.g., about to cross campus late at night). Students deactivate the timer when they reach their destination safely. Only when the timer expires and student has NOT deactivated Rave Guardian, campus police are notified with the student’s personal profile, date/time and nearest GPS location.”
  • Enhance Community: “Rave creates a connection between students and your campus through the mobile phone in their pockets.” Students or faculty can “create specialized groups and social networks based upon shared interests, class work, campus clubs and activities.”
  • Mobile Learning: “Mobile access to learning managements systems such as Blackboard? and WebCT?. Mobile study tools such as flashcards. Course and study groups communicate via text messaging and polls. Faculty can reach entire classes, or individual students, on assignment reminders, clarification, or to provide recognition.”
  • Student Services: “Leverage cellular GPS technology with Rave?s shuttle bus tracking application, increasing both convenience and safety for your students and faculty. Link dining hall menus, campus directories and all types of services?everything at a click of a button.”
  • Rave Extender Tool Kit: “Rave Wireless recognizes that the opportunity to build and deploy innovative mobile applications is limited only by creativity, resources, and know-how. The Rave Extender toolkit is designed to make it as easy as possible for innovative institutions to create mobile applications that add value for students, faculty and staff.”

To give a sense for how universities are creating value for their “customers” using Rave’s technology, here are examples of media coverage of schools using Rave Campus solutions:

  • Montclair State University recently was selected as the Campus Technology Innovators award winner in the Mobile category. ? From the award writeup: “[VP for IT Ed] Chapel comments on the continuing expansion of Campus Connect applications: ‘From a university perspective, we leverage the mobile phone to improve communication, build community, and increase access to and usage of all of our campus applications and services.'”
  • In an article for the National Association of College and University Business Officers, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Educational Technology Lonnie “Harvel selected the Rave platform to provide wireless applications for Georgia Gwinnett College, a commuter campus, that extend the campus community to students? physical locations. Harvel also likes that students can set up their own communication profiles and choose whether they want to receive text messages, webfeeds, voice messages, or some combination of options.”
  • The University of Maryland, Eastern Shore is featured in an article in Campus Technology: “UMES is rolling out the Rave Wireless Guardian and Entourage apps as part of the institution’s Hawk Talk mobile communications program. The college is also looking at implementing a weather service that provides weather and class cancellation information to students, based on their location. Though Hawk Talk is currently an opt-in program, UMES saw a nearly 60 percent ‘take’ rate for incoming students because of the Guardian safety-focused application…”
  • The University of North Carolina student newspaper described the launch of Rave-based services this way: “The program’s services include broadcast alerts, mobile e-mail access, mass messaging by professors and students, campus directory services and NextBus, a bus tracking system.? Students also can read The Daily Tar Heel and access Blackboard.com via their cell phones.”

In short, Rave Wireless is a great example of how mobility is redefining both:

  • How we, as individuals, interact with our world, and
  • The rules of competition within an industry (higher education).

I’m not only excited about Rave and the Montclair State University case study, but also the application of the lessons learned here to other industries and other groups of users.? Stay tuned – more to come!

3 Responses to “Case Study Preview: Rave Wireless”

  1. W Mossberg says:

    Quite interesting to see wireless operators doing such innovative things. Good work. It’s also the future and what companies like Sprint must do.

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