css.php

Digital Signage

Many campuses are installing digital signage systems. They can be used as a means of keeping various constituents aware of things that are going to happen or that have already happened. Items such as office or lab hours, reminders of local parking regulations or bus schedules, book store hours and specials, as well as upcoming events such as performances, sports schedules, meetings, and job fairs can all rotate throughout the day. Also displayed are campus celebrations of victories and awards of both a sports and an academic nature. Celebrating our student and faculty successes has become a major component of digital signage utilization.

Thus far, at Queensborough, we have installed 25-52” LCD screens in eight buildings covering major gathering areas in each. We have chosen, at least for now, to split the screens into 4 distinct areas pictured below. Except for the screens in the student cafeteria, sound is turned off.

screen_layout

The largest screen area is for (1) college-wide content of interest to everyone, and all screens display this information. The second area displays a single (2) TV channel (usually a News channel) with closed captioning turned-on. The TV channel is “streamed” from a DirectTV satellite box through a Vbrick Windows Media streaming Server, and once again all campus screens display the same channel. A third area has (3) “local” content. That is, we have the campus divided into 14 unique zones. Offices in each zone can display content specifically related to their area – student work, office hours, schedules, local events, etc. A fourth area is an Internet-streamed (4) “news ticker” across the bottom of the screen.

One of the added benefits of our digital signage system is the ability to take over all screens at any time, and broadcast a common message, whether it is of an emergency nature or of broad interest such as the recent Presidential inauguration.

From a technical perspective, we looked at and considered a number of Digital Signage solutions. We chose a system (Visix-AxisTV) that could distribute video and be centrally controlled over a standard IP-based network. This way we didn’t have to run video cabling and amplifiers around the campus. Each LCD screen is wired back to a near-by, already existing, network switch closet. The digital signage control software is simple to use, and if you do not have an artist on staff to create the signs, AxisTV supports sign creation from within.

Whatever system you choose, be careful to select a vendor that knows the product well – not just how to demonstrate the product, but how to install it – it can get very involved. Our product relies on network wiring and switches, so we had to make certain that our IT Department was involved early in the process.

Digital Signage is a welcomed addition to our Campus. And it is allowing us to cut down (no pun intended) on the use of paper posters & flyers, although we are not sure the overall trade-off is any “greener”.

Are you using, or have you considered using Digital Signage on your campus?

Article:
Digital Signage: Beyond Campus Emergency Notification

Related Links:
Visix, Inc. – http://www.visix.com/
VBrick Systems, Inc. – http://www.vbrick.com/

One Response to “Digital Signage”

  1. Matthew K. Gold Says:

    Great stuff, Bruce – thanks for describing QCC’s system, which looks great. I know that City Tech has something in place, but I’m not sure of the details, so I don’t know how it compares. What you have going at QCC looks like a good model to me, though.

Leave a Reply

Need help with the Commons? Visit our
help page
Send us a message
Skip to toolbar