SIAM Student chapter

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    Tony Aguirre

    Hello All,

    During my recent trip to the school, August 14th, 2013, I witnessed massive lines where the waits were, conservatively, hours.

    While standing in line for about 30 minutes I began to think about all the time we were all wasting simply standing around. The first thoughts that came to my mind were, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could get in line but not have to be in line and to also have someone or something simply tell me when my turn was about to occur”. This conceptual system would have been great at the time, as I had many other things to get done before day’s end.

    To be more specific, the system that I am envisioning would be a system that you could log into via your home computer, cell phone, or even the learning center computers. You would use your CUNYFirst Login ID and password and would have the option to “virtually” get in line and “wait” for some service offered at the school (i.e. Registrar, Financial Aid, Learning Center Computer, Advisement, etc…).

    Once in line (virtually, of course), algorithms would calculate and recalculate the predicted wait time before you actually see someone through a physical encounter. Additionally, you would be notified of your need to arrive in person for your meeting with some default or preferred buffer time. For example, if you made your appointment online and you knew that you were going to run an errand about 30 minutes away, then you could tell the system to notify you, via text or email, when your meeting is to occur approximately 40 minutes ahead of time so that you could begin your journey back with time to spare. Or if you’ll be on campus then possibly the 10 minute buffer time would be sufficient.

    The timing of the system would work sort of like a chess match, when you begin your move (begin your appointment) then the CityTech employee would punch the clock (click a button) and when you end your move (end your appointment) then again the CityTech employee would punch the clock (click a button). This process would be a means by which the system would collect service times for a particular department. Further, these service times would be averaged and used for determining when to notify you via text or email that you should arrive. Think about a company that you have made a phone call to and were prompted to either wait with the phone to your ear or to go about your business and have a representative call you back when it was your turn, thus avoiding long waits and wasting time.

    Overall, the project would involve math, programming, possible app building for phones, and logistics. The solution to the problem could serve many queue management opportunities CUNY wide and beyond. Lastly, I believe that this problem/solution fits the definition of a project that our SIAM or any SIAM group should be interested in tackling.

    Antonio Aguirre

    SIAM President


    Tony Aguirre

    Hello All,

    I have recently found out that there is at least one other school that uses a similar system, City College. Although they do not have a full blown app, they do have a text message system that lets you know when your appointment is.

    Regardless of City College’s lead on this, I believe that writting a CUNY wide unified app that can be used by any student at any of the CUNY colleges is the next and final step. Obviously, we should take advantage of our home school NYCCT as the proving ground and proof of concept before integrate CUNY wide.

    If anyone has information further detailing the system in place at City College or future development plans at any CUNY school this would be useful information. In any research effort it is best not to step on toes unless you know you are the better in the race. If you are not the better then joining forces if possible can offer some success rather than no success.


    I found this the other day, and I was just thinking that maybe we can contact the people that created the system and invited them to come to one of the meetings as a ” guess speaker ” if you think we need them.


    Tony Aguirre

    Hello All,

    This is a great article! I would be interested to know if they have developed the app side yet, or if they just have what is said in the article. After all, this article was written a few months ago, so it’s possible that with their newfound resources they may have already development or have started to develop an app code.

    If we wanted to try and team up with them and gain leverage to their resources and exposure thus far, we need to find out the status of their intentions on developing a user app for an on-the-go-anywhere access terminal via the user’s phone or tablet.

    It sounds like, so far as I can discern from the article, they have a solid architecture already in place for interacting with the school, processing the wait times, and I/O channels/mechanisms. Nonetheless, if we can sell to them the idea that our app would be a quick and simple solution to expanding the usability of their queue management system AND that it would be worth their time to have us complete this objective, then this “sell of an idea” could begin a collaboration with them; thus, gaining valuable access to monetary, intellectual, and physical resources. This would work because, we offer a user interface with a unique experience and that we are capable of consistently accomplishing their outsourced goals in a timely manner with perpetual success.

    I have already begun to develop and nearly finish such an app. I believe that by focusing SIAM’s members on such an objective would result in developing this opportunity into a situation that has strong potential to either develop an equal or better product. Or, if we can’t beat them, then we could potentially join them. That is, of course, if we can make ourselves out as people that would be useful to have on a team full-time or as a contractor.

    My last thoughts are:

    No matter how we choose to move forward as a group, so long as we move forward together as a cohesive, cooperative, and focused unit, we are sure to achieve many success of our own.



    Tony Aguirre

    p.s. Shirley,

    –Thank you for your research into the proposed Queue Management System Proposal. The products of your research have provided us insight to a relevant and current research project. Further, this CCNY team could nonetheless serve as a reminder of the fruits of labor. Lastly, you have exposed a potential ally that could do to serve us well in the future.


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