MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
Air University has launched a free mobile application designed to transform the way it interacts with audiences outside its academic institutions and to improve the communication of those within its classrooms and workspaces.
Launched during the week of July 16, the Air University app, which can be found on both the Apple and Google Play Android stores, has several important functions. Primarily, it takes advantage of an untapped communication capability for AU faculty, staff and students, allowing for a more productive and efficient workforce.
“In today’s extremely busy and responsive world, we all want to stay connected with our leaders, families and groups,” said Kent Davis, Air University director of communication and outreach. “The app is a focused method of communication that will serve the overall Air University communication strategy, allowing us to reach out and touch audiences we can’t serve well in other more traditional communication ways, while providing users useful information.”
Some of the key features of the app are:
Closed private groups: This feature allows users to have focused collaboration among small groups. Groups can run events, with attendee lists, uniform wear, fees or other customized information. The groups feature also provides file sharing, photo galleries and group and private member messaging similar to other popular social media programs. A group can be used for faculty discussions, research groups, team meetings or volunteer efforts in the community, creating a powerful way for the university to hone in on what’s important to its daily mission.
Push notifications: This allows commanders and key staff to send important notifications to either all or some app users based on their geographic location.
Rich content: Both video and graphics can easily be provided to users.
Events: This feature allows organizations to create event calendars that can be categorized for focused awareness.
Social media integration: Allows social media accounts to be integrated directly into the app in a user-friendly format.
The app can share most anything with the user’s device’s sharing capabilities.
“Like many exploratory ventures we experience with the growth of technology, the app is new for us,” said Greg Sharpe, Air University director of outreach and engagement. “So, while we are getting on board with the industry standard of being mobile connected and responsive, we are also learning what works and what doesn’t so we can focus on what our target audiences need that does work.”
Another priority was making sure that the app would give a look inside the university for external audiences.
“The National Defense Strategy discusses how the Air Force needs to fight global disruption together with nation-state partners,” Sharpe said. “AU can use the app to better collaborate with local, regional, national and even allied nations to eliminate disinformation in a diplomatic and strategic manner.”
Though just recently released, AU organizations have already been expressing their admiration for the app and its potential benefits.
“We're very excited to have our chaplain corps information available through the Air University app,” said Chap. (Maj.) Kevin Hudson, Air Force Chaplain Corps College, Resource Development Office. “This is something corps personnel have been asking about for quite some time. In fact, we plan on rolling out the AU app at this year's Chaplain Corps Summit to all of our senior leadership in Washington, D.C.”
Having mobile access to chaplain corps information, religious books and multimedia resources will enable them to better minister to Airmen and their families, he said.
“It will also enhance the ministries of Religious Support Teams across the globe and will be a great resource for the Airmen they serve,” said Hudson.
Developers are already planning updates for the app. One update will be the implementation of features to develop focused communications in new mission areas, as well as moving into the continuum of learning environment. This move could help bridge learning collaboration among students and faculty and efficiently expand the app’s capabilities.
“By creating focused collaborative groups on the app, we imagine this could be a resource that allows Officer Training School cadets to collaborate with Junior ROTC cadets or Air Command and Staff College students and vice versa,” Sharpe said. “As Air University continues to reimagine its brand and build trusted networks, the app will be a touch-point that provides the ability for potential students to reach out to current and former students, taking the education experience to new levels.”
More information about the app, future updates and where to download can be found on the AU website at http://www.airuniversity.af.mil/Portals/10/IntegrationCell/documents/AUApp/AUApp.pdf