The lab applications are the latest addition to the school's year-and-a-half-long move toward a completely virtualized environment. "We are expanding our virtualization platform into virtual desktops, virtual networks and virtual storage solutions," says Vieira. With just 40 IT employees serving four campuses, he says, "our staffing is such that we need to be more efficient and selfish with our time; these new technologies provide the stability, redundancy and resilience we need."
Doctors Get Study Help With Mobile Apps
New mobile and wireless technologies are getting a workout at 62% of the companies in the Computerworld Forecast 2013 survey that are engaged in testing, including 34% that are testing or piloting tablets.
The American College of Physicians (ACP), a professional society for internists, has been testing a mobile version of its medical knowledge self-assessment program, a study guide with a series of questions that help physicians prepare for board exams. Traditionally, the material was available only in printed documents and on CD-ROMs. But these days, many old-school physicians are as tech-savvy as recent med school grads when it comes to mobile technology, prompting the ACP to expand its media options.
For the upcoming edition, the CD-ROMs will be retired in favor of a collection of mobile apps for the iPhone, the iPad and Android devices that will be bundled with the online version of the test preparation materials. When the online materials and mobile apps are synced, users can chip away at the 1,200 multiple-choice questions from wherever they are.
"This is the way to meet everybody's needs so we don't force people to choose between a mobile app, mobile Web or a full version," says Steven Spadt, the ACP's vice president of digital products and services. "The challenge for us is creating synchronization between all of those, so they can use their iPhone app on the train, full browser in the office and iPad at home." The medical society has developed the apps in-house and will launch them in January 2013.
On the publishing front, the ACP is piloting PressRun from Mobile IQ, a cloud-based digital publishing platform for tablets, to increase speed to market and publishing efficiency for its medical publications. (Mobile IQ was acquired by Quark Software in May.)
"Having a publishing platform connected to apps is something we're going to do more and more," Spadt says. The society is also developing a custom iPad application for its Annals of Internal Medicine journal. "We wanted it to be differentiated from other medical journal apps, which really are just print on your screen," he notes.