Cover Story

Former MITers Unveil Kurogo Mobile Framework

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines  |  June 01, 2011

We all love our mobile devices and the wealth of information they can provide us. But sometimes it’s not as easy to get the info we seek as it should be. To help address that, Modo Labs has introduced the Kurogo Mobile Framework.

The Kurogo Mobile Framework is a platform that mobile developers of any skill level can use to build and customize mobile applications and features for businesses and universities. An open source effort, it’s based upon the MIT (News - Alert) Mobile Framework and includes pre-packaged, customizable calendar, emergency, external content, link, people directory, maps, news and video modules. It also supports iPhone (News - Alert) and iPad native application development.

Modo Labs CEO Andrew Yu says the spark for the frameworks first came to light in 2006-2007 when he struggled to get the information he needed via his mobile device on his professors and classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT had websites, of course, but none of them were mobilized, says Yu. So MIT provided Yu and some colleagues with funding to create the MIT mobile web, which helps students quickly locate professor information and office locations on any mobile device.

The MIT mobile web launched in 2008. A year later the effort was open sourced. But this solution, which was designed to MIT specifications, doesn’t necessarily translate cleanly to the needs of other organizations, says Yu, so he and some of his colleagues came up with the idea to create Modo Labs.

With $2 million in funding from New Magellan Ventures, Modo Labs last year opened its doors to help other universities, as well as enterprises, set up a mobile presence. And today the company formally unveiled version 1.0 of the Kurogo Mobile Framework. The Kurogo Mobile Framework is offered under the MIT license and is available for download, free of charge, at

Harvard, MIT and the University of North Carolina are among the early adopters of – and open source contributors to – the framework. Modo Labs, which makes its money from professional services related to the framework, also has won business from some financial companies, including Fidelity Investments.

Yu notes that the Modo Labs solutions can address the mobility goals of any type of organization. For example, the company offers tools and services to help enable organizations to disseminate company news to employees; let employees use their mobile devices to look up people within the company; or trigger alerts if there’s an emergency situation within the campus.

While the framework and related professional services can help organizations to mobilize their applications quickly and easily, Yu says the real benefit is that it doesn’t lock an organization into any specific device platform. That’s important given the growing bring-your-own-device movement at organizations.

Edited by Rich Steeves