What can digital signage do for higher education?
Most people are familiar with digital signage in a commercial environment, but many don’t realize its potential for educators. Higher education has embraced digital signage for several years, partly because students want it as well. According to an article in Campus Technology, 87 percent of students consider campus technology when picking a university to attend.
Why is digital signage one of those must-have technologies for higher education? There are several reasons, including:
Better student engagement
Digital signage can relay important information like changes in class schedules, exam schedules and campus events. But that’s only the start because the technology can also be used to display news or advertise activities that are only relevant to a particular department.
Students can connect with each other and with the department through the information they get from digital signage, making for a tighter student community.
Better campus safety
In a moment’s notice, a digital signage network can be converted into an emergency alert system, so thousands of students, faculty and staff can be informed at once if something develops on campus.
Better information delivery
Every day, classes are rescheduled or moved to another room. With a digital signage system, students can be informed of these changes as soon as possible, minimizing confusion.
University campuses are often intimidating for new students and their parents. Even seniors will take a course or two in a building they’ve never set foot in, so improved wayfinding is useful for everyone at college. Digital signage is especially useful for this, as people pay attention to digital screens. Further, digital signage can be adapted for different orientations and campus events, so wayfinding can be adapted as needed.
Digital signage features vivid colors, fluid motion and a sophisticated appearance, making quite the impression. That strong impression can be used to recruit additional students and drive campus spirit, which can be harnessed to build a more active campus community overall. Digital signage is one part of a larger approach to technology that universities can use to modernize the way they interface with students.
What does a digital signage system consist of?
From a technological standpoint, digital signage is simple. It only consists of a few components, including:
Digital signage systems utilize high quality, commercial-grade displays that are designed for extended use. These displays contain larger heat sinks and onboard fans that keep heat buildup to a minimum. They are also designed to be compatible with vertical mounting projects.
In addition to the displays themselves, digital signage systems also require mounting hardware and media players that store and deliver content to the display.
Digital signage software allows users to create content, manage it and distribute it to one or more displays on the network. Users can also remotely manage displays through this software, so IT can keep an eye on displays on the other side of the campus. If any displays are experiencing an error, it will be seen through remote management software, and these displays can be locked down, shut down or restarted if needed.
Digital signage software can also be used to program layouts in advance, so content can be created and stored for future use, without someone having to manually toggle everything.
Perhaps the most critical piece of the system, content is the collection of layouts, images, videos and animations that are delivered to the displays and used to attract eyes. Content can be used to either inform or entertain.
Many universities have marketing departments that excel at putting together content, but content creation has become much more accessible in recent years. Digital signage software, for example, typically comes with content creation tools that make layout creation and programming a simple matter.
How can an AV integrator help maintain a digital signage system?
Digital signage systems can be scaled up or down as needed, so they range in complexity in terms of support and maintenance. If your university has an expansive signage system in place, a maintenance plan through your AV integrator may make sense.
With a maintenance agreement
in place, your digital signage system is protected at multiple levels. An integrator can provide remote support if required, responding to technical issues as they arise, so downtime is minimal should a display go down. This is especially helpful if you have worked with an integrator in configuring the system, as it will be optimally organized for future maintenance.
In addition to remote support, AV integrators can provide onsite support in a critical situation or preventative maintenance, which can keep issues from arising in the first place. During preventative maintenance, your integrator will send out a technician to the campus and inspect all protected AV assets. This could be displays, media players, or other components, and if any are causing a drag on system performance, the underlying issues are addressed.
Digital signage offers information, safety and energy, all of which are valuable in a higher education environment. The technology works for any campus, large or small, and can be targeted in certain areas or blanketed across an entire campus. No matter the scale or approach, an AV integrator
can optimize it for your school.