Digital Signage Improving and Securing Campus Life
Digital signs are commonplace in shopping malls, restaurants and airports around the country. Now, a growing trend for use of these highly visible products is taking hold: schools and universities. The publication eCampus News recorded that in 2011 more than 2,200 campuses in North America were expected to deploy digital signage solutions, up from 1,500 the year prior. That equates to roughly 13,000 displays across those campuses and the number has surely grown since that time.
Learning institutions have long relied on poster boards and fliers to communicate with students and staff in hallways, cafeterias and other meeting places. With paperless screens, information can be updated in real-time, offering new uses such as communicating security threats on site, improving overall situation awareness and coordination around campus. Some schools are even looking to use the digital signage to generate revenue through advertising sales.
Today’s generation of always-connected students have been surrounded by digital content and media since birth. In fact, these students prefer and expect to be communicated with digitally.
For this group, digital signage helps bridge the gap between “old school” institutions and the young generation of digital natives. The highly visible displays provide wayfinding for new students and visitors, can be used in cafeterias and dining halls to display daily menus and nutritional information, and deliver real-time information in high traffic areas, including emergency directions during a crisis.
Digital signs allow schools to communicate information in an attention-grabbing way, while reducing paper clutter and keeping the information fresh. Messages can be tailored to small groups or the individual but dispersed over a wider network. As importantly, a single university staff member can easily manage a campus-wide digital signage network. And, with a solid content management and approval process, virtually anyone in the campus community has the ability to contribute relevant information to be displayed in single or multiple locations.
The locations where digital signs can be used range from building lobbies and conference centers, to campus eateries and student unions, as well outdoor campus entrances and stadiums and arenas.
Applications for Primary and Secondary Schools
Digital displays can also prove useful in grade schools where they can communicate important school dates, game times and upcoming event information to parents. Displays in schools can inform students of the week’s lunch menu, discipline policy reminders and daily announcements. Compared to printing fliers that get handed to them once, digital signage drastically reduces the amount of paper and toner a school will use and can increase the visibility and poignancy of the message.
From a safety standpoint, digital signage systems can immediately notify staff, teachers and students in the event of pending bad weather, an onsite fire or an intruder on campus. Solutions offered today allow school administrators to display emergency alerts on digital signs across campus, as well send messages to every school computer or tablet, and the campus paging system from a single computer in a matter of seconds.
Schools and universities are also getting creative with the revenue prospects provided by digital signage. Displaying sponsored content and suitable advertising can offset the costs of digital signage systems and create new revenue streams for an individual department or a school as a whole.
Digital signage is more than just an emerging trend in communication. For schools and universities, it’s becoming an effective method for reaching and safeguarding the many students, faculty and staff who visit their campuses each day.