Campus App Store

Trough of Disillusionment
UMN Assessment
Time Frame
2 to 5 Years
Last Updated on Sep 11, 2014

Following the success of the iOS App Store and the Mac App Store, and the fact that students and faculty are a heavily "bring your own device" population, higher education institutions have given thought to creating such localized "app stores", that would provide either locally written applications, or applications useful to the home campus communities.

Apps available at campus app stores would probably include a suite of free campus specific apps, although such stores could charge for downloads, perhaps as an extension of a campus bookstore, which already has payment facilities in place.  As mobile app use was gaining momentum a few years ago, institutions either wrote or licensed platform specific native apps.

The distribution model (especially Apple's guidelines for iOS) made it quite complicated to set up a local distribution point, and most institutions found it easiest to use the device vendor's app store instead. Since that distribution model worked adequately, and since the device's global app store was where consumers knew to go to download apps, the campus app store never caught on.

Benefits of a campus app store

  • One-stop shopping for campus/educational apps
  • Apps can be preconfigured for campus networks
  • Long delays for getting apps approved at vendor app stores could be avoided
  • Students can learn app development and fill local needs

Reasons not to set up a campus app store

  • Many apps can be webapps (requiring no download)
  • Native apps needed for each platform (not to be biased for any single platform)
  • Devices have quite diverse requirements - device independence is difficult
  • Local app store would need to re-invent app security