November 16, 2017

Ex Libris Acquires oMbiel, Establishes Mobile Campus Solutions Division

logo for campusM from oMbielEx Libris today announced the acquisition of Wolverhampton, U.K.-based oMbiel, developer of the campusM and governmentM cloud-based mobile app solutions for universities and local government services, respectively. The company will be incorporated into Ex Libris as a new business unit, Ex Libris Mobile Campus Solutions, led by oMbiel founder and CEO Hugh Griffiths. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

“Adding campusM to our portfolio is a natural step in the expansion of the cloud-based offerings of Ex Libris for higher education,” Matti Shem Tov, Ex Libris president and CEO, said in a statement. “In addition to helping libraries maximize their efficiency and empowering users to obtain the information they need, we will now support institutions in fostering campus-wide student engagement on mobile devices. This will also drive innovative services to libraries and library users.”

As oMbiel’s flagship product, campusM enables academic institutions to deliver a wide range of services and information to a user’s Android, Apple iOS, or BlackBerry smartphones and mobile devices, Olga Karanikos, director of marketing for Ex Libris North America, told LJ. These include a course app that enables students to view and download course materials and check grades; administrative services such as campus maps, directories, and push notifications; campus life and social services tools such as an app that displays upcoming sports events and makes it possible to order tickets; and a library app that enables students to search the university library’s catalog, reserve materials, renew loans, and check account information.

The platform’s security framework features one-step authentication, enabling users to access all services with a single sign on. An App Manager portal facilitates content management, branding, and other customizations, and the platform’s Insight Analytics tool offers detailed usage reporting. Separately, an HTML5-based App Extension Kit (AEK) enables a university’s in-house developers to integrate new services into the platform. campusM customers have used AEK to generate student surveys, live bus timetables, PC and room booking solutions, Blackboard and Sharepoint announcements, housing finders, and even a solution that reports real-time washing machine and dryer availability at campus laundry rooms.

The company’s apps are arguably best known among students in oMbiel’s native U.K., where campusM is used by more than a quarter of universities, including University College London, the London School of Economics and Political Science, Kingston University, King’s College London, and Imperial College London, the company reports. The platform is also used by a number of institutions in continental Europe, Australia, South Africa, and North America, including the City University of New York (CUNY)’s Queensborough Community College.

In a statement, Griffiths said that “campusM will benefit from Ex Libris Group’s international presence, the company’s extensive cloud operation, and synergies with other Ex Libris business units. This integration will fuel the growth of campusM in terms of both product development and market reach.”

This will include leveraging the technology across Ex Libris product lines to enhance library mobile services over time, and to expand the company’s range of higher education services beyond libraries Karanikos told LJ.

“The campusM technology addresses one of the most important focus areas and priorities for universities—which is also shared by many libraries—namely, increasing and substantiating student engagement,” she said. “This joining of Ex Libris and oMbiel—and the new products we will be offering—present interesting new opportunities.”

Matt Enis About Matt Enis

Matt Enis (menis@mediasourceinc.com; @matthewenis on Twitter) is Senior Editor, Technology for Library Journal.

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