College Planning & Management

JUN 2012

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, agrees that digital signage is an important part of his department's programming. "We know our demographic, and frankly digital signage is expected," he states. "The college's full name is Mohawk College of Applied Art and Technology. We need to be current." Kosh got that opportunity when his organization planned on redesigning their 40-year-old student center. "We had no budget for digital signage in the restaurant," remembers Kosh. "We were going to use static printed menu boards, but they just wouldn't live up to the rest of the restaurant. You can't change things on the fl y, and nothing about them says 'technical school.'" Using the pitch that digital signs would be more ecologically friendly, Kosh convinced the student center to use digital menu boards, then got the okay for a 10-ft. by 7-ft. video wall as well. "The entire project cost $150,000, with $75,000 going to Scala to license the software." The rest of the budget went to computers, servers, installation, and infrastructure. "The response has been great," raves Kosh. "The product is easy to use and customize. We have different feeds displaying in our three different restaurants." Content includes menus, upcoming events, and pictures from past pub nights. What you won't see is advertising. "Mohawk College sells advertising on their screens, but we are part of the student union and are funded entirely by fees," Kosh explains. "Selling ads on these screens seems like double dipping to me." Yet advertising is what these screens do well. "We sold a lot of 42-in. displays to a number of college bookstores last quarter," remembers ViewSonics's Ornstead. "The schools are using them for merchandising and advertising their goods and services." "You could sell sponsorship space to say Pepsi or Nike," says Sony Electronics' Floyd, "and you can divide the screen up into zones so multiple messages can play at once. You could also time the messages so that a specifi c message comes on at a very specifi c time, say a Coke ad that plays just as class lets out. There is no end to the amount of information you can put on these signs." Ornstead concedes that in some areas a static, standard printed sign might fare better. "In a high-traffi c area, a fi xed image with a clear message would be more impactful. But in an area where people dwell for a while, video really catches attention." "Content should always drive the medium," agrees Scala's Elizaga. "The decision of how to get your message across should not be based on the technology. First you have to ask what the mes- sage is, why you are conveying it, and who the audience is." As with any technology, the future possibilities of digital signage seem endless. "Interactivity is the next big thing for digital signs," says Elizaga. "Touch screens, buttons, interfacing with smart devices, and QR codes are all ways to engage viewers with We create custom wayfinding systems to match your needs, design choice, and school colors. CALL OR VISIT TODAY! 800.247.1274 JUNE 2012 / COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT 71 your message. And the more people engage with your message, the stronger that message will be." Elizaga also marvels at the ways to personalize and interface data. "One of our clients is a quick-serve restaurant and they have an interface with the kitchen," he explains. "If there is some food item that the kitchen wants to push, they can create a message that displays at the point of sale. Plus there are opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell." In the end, digital signs are just plain whiz-bang cool. And prom- ise to just get cooler. "In fi ve years they will be everywhere," predicts Mohawk College's Kosh. "I'm meeting with a vendor that wants to put digital signs behind the bathroom mirror so when you're wash- ing your hands you will see a message. Signs need to keep evolving, otherwise they end up as just another picture on the wall." "I'm really excited for the opportunities glasses-free 3D will bring," says Floyd. So are we. CPM COLLEGE Wayfinding Signage Systems For Schools & Universities ...Helping Students Find Teir Way BI BI

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