Category Archives: Education

Digital signage solutions and information for the Education sector

What Every College CIO Should know about Digital Signage Part #3

When deciding on Digital Signage for your school, there are a few key points every CIO should know before making decisions. Whether you have an existing Digital Signage network or not, these points will ensure you’re fully informed and help avoid any pitfalls that previous CIO’s have shared with us. After Reading Tips #1 and #2, our final part in this series is below:

CIO Tip #3

Workflow Permissions and a Security or Audit Log.

When a School takes on or upgrades Digital Signage it is usually under the guise and approval of the CIO or IT leadership team. The extreme irony of this is the amount of day to day usage the IT team actually engages in the operation of Digital Signage. Usually little or none!

After the procurement approval process is completed, the entire program shifts towards the day to day users (departments, students, groups, communications team, etc..). However, from a technical perspective it is always necessary to keep the CIO / IT team onboard as the “Super Admin” in the case everyone forgets what they’re doing or for internal troubleshooting. However, it’s also important to note that no CIO or management team wants to have a student group with full access to all areas of the software.  So creating or having permissions from the onset is a great tool in setting up structure and ensuring your school protocol is followed.

For example, there is a “Device Management” section in many Digital Signage softwares. As new devices are added or removed to the school network, your in-house graphic designer might not need to see or access the MAC addresses or worry about the Wi-Fi Keys. The same goes for creating new users or roles. Other than a small, core group of “Admin” users, the creation of new roles within an application should be left to the experts. The CIO and IT team can always keep a pulse on the Signage Program, but don’t need to be overseeing day to day operations. However if there is an issue in content being displayed that was inappropriate or concerning to School management,the CIO might be the one to get the first call. What can be done to help prevent mistakes, misunderstandings or pranks?

Many CIO’s ask: What is the best way for IT to manage a system that that doesn’t really need to be managed? Well the answer to this conundrum lies in the heart of Workflow Permissions and a back-up Security Audit Log for good measure.

Workflow Permissions and Approvals is a feature set inside Digital Signage that allows users to create a tiered, or restricted workflow process. Simply put, Workflow Permissions allow the “Super Admin” team to decide who and how much access users get. If “Amanda” is on the Student Council and does some great design work, she should have access to the Content Library to store her work. However, maybe she designs “Sensitive” or provocative style themes in her designs and to avoid any on-campus issues, it is decided that Amanda’s work cannot be scheduled until a supervisor or administrator has approved it. The same could be said for the Communications Team. The might have been given full access to uploading and approving content and schedules, but maybe that is all the access they need.

The other feature sets in Digital Signage software can include Users, Devices and Frame Layouts. But these additional features can end up being too distracting or overwhelming for basic users. So the CIO and IT Team are able to restrict the access any unique user has through several methods. One method, is by creating a user and defining their role. An example of this is being a “Content Executive” versus a “Content Manager.” Everything is the same between the roles except final approvals. The Manager gets the final say.  Another way of restricting workflow is by creating groups that can only access certain folders of content. Or another way would be in assigning certain frame layouts to only a certain group of users. A great example of this is delegating a side frame layout on your screen (say 580p wide x 720p height) to only one group, say the Student Union. The group wouldn’t be able to access any other frame on the screen. But their specific frame is large enough to hold PDF’s, Word Docs, posters or videos without having the group access other frames or other frame content.

The final back-up measure to making sure there is accountability and transparency in  your Digital Signage program is having an Audit Log. Something easy to access but reliable. The CIO should be able to login, quickly review the dashboard (online devices and utilization) and glance quickly at the audit log. Every time and User who logged in and the action they performed. Download the log if necessary, but the IT or Support team can always track the actions and help troubleshoot as required.

For more information on how Digital Signage impacts Education and improves the morale and culture on Campus please scan our blog for Education titles or contact an L Squared Rep for information.

Thanks,

Brent Nacu

What Every College CIO Should Know about Digital Signage Part # 2

When deciding on Digital Signage for your school, there are a few key points every CIO should know before making decisions. Whether you have an existing Digital Signage network or not, these points will ensure you’re fully informed and help avoid any pitfalls that previous CIO’s have shared with us. After Reading Tip #1, here is the must know Tip #2.

CIO Tip #2 

Make sure that Emergency Messaging OR Integration with your Mass Notification System is possible and not overly expensive. In the Education sector, Digital Signage is both a sustainable and valuable communication tool. However, behind the glamour of Student Union campaigns, Weekly Schedules  and Improved Culture on campus, there is a very real need for your Digital Signage to be part of your Mass Notification or Emergency Messaging Program . With solutions like Alertus, E2Campus or Informacast on the market (and many others) , make sure to ask your Digital Signage provider about integrations (API, Web, etc..) and the cost related to making sure your Digital Signage LCD screens can be incorporated.

Integration with Digital Signage shouldn’t break the bank, so be comfortable to ask your Sales Rep about the specific process. A workflow diagram should help you get an idea if your provider is up to the task.

Depending on the size of your School you may already have some kind of independent Emergency Messaging or Mass Notification software running.  The difference between the two is simply that Mass Notification Software is designed to hit multiple devices or platforms (SMS, Desktops, Speakers, VoIP phones, etc..) while Emergency Messaging Software is designed to provide an override function and Emergency interruption with pre-scheduled messages. The differences in both are closer than ever, with the merging of technologies and cross-marketing to the same customer groups.

From a Digital Signage perspective, consider if you already have a Mass Notification Software and can it integrate into a potential Digital Screen Network. If you don’t have any Mass or Emergency Notification Software yet, maybe there is a reason. A lack of funding, resources or just the right timing. In that case, some Digital Signage software have built in Emergency Messaging as a feature that can save your College thou$ands a year and be an immediate short term solution. Many schools in 2015 are in the middle of upgrading or switching form outdated software they have been using since 2011 or earlier. Be sure to to speak with an L Squared Rep about what other schools in North America are doing and what solution will be best for you.

 

Stay Tuned for Part #3, Security Logs and Workflow Permissions – The secret to Digital Signage delegation!

Thanks,

Brent Nacu

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What Every College CIO should know about Digital Signage Part #1

When deciding on Digital Signage for your school, there are a few key points every CIO should know before making decisions. Whether you have an existing Digital Signage network or not, these points will ensure you’re fully informed and help avoid any pitfalls that previous CIO’s have shared with us.

Ironically, CIO’s and related IT staff are often involved in procurement decisions and evaluation for Digital Signage, but should never be considered as part of the day to day end user group. We have met with, interviewed and work with dozens of CIO’s whose teams oversee applications and here is their feedback on managing Digital Signage with success:

CIO TIP #1:

Look for a clean UI and easy to learn operational layout. As time goes by, so do the Digital Signage users in your school. Security officers change, Student Council officers graduate and Communications team members shuffle. IT does not want to be constantly re-training and handling tech questions which come from your non-technical people that are overwhelmed as new users. The solution to this issue is to make sure that the overall look and feel are complimentary to non-tech, day to day users so internal training can happen easily between existing users and their replacements. Our average School has 10-20 regular users including students, staff, graphic designers and internal departments. Make sure your provider has online access or support that can deal directly with your users as well, not burdening IT with basic app questions.

The easiest way to evaluate the UI is based on the learning curve. For starters, go with your gut instinct on first impressions. After 10 minutes, if a demo or trial is making you think too hard, imagine the impact on basic or first time non-IT users. Second, evaluate your visual impression of the GUI. Was, or is it “easy on the eyes”? Were you able to grasp the fundamentals and orient yourself in a quick period of time? Surprisingly this was one of the top criteria that helped reinforce decision making.

When the CIO liked what they saw, it was often the direction they went. And lastly, a really great feature to look for is the ability to segregate or “simplify” the UI. Some Digital Signage software lets you restrict permissions (Tip #3), but in doing so can actually remove sections of the UI so non-accessed users don’t need to be overwhelmed or confused.

Stay Tuned for Tip #2 – What Every College CIO needs to know– Emergency Messaging – coming January 9th!

Thanks,

Brent Nacu

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Campus-wide Digital Signage Networks Can Make You Money!

Digital signage systems are not only affordably priced but also provide an additional revenue opportunity by offering prime advertising space for relevant vendors.

With lots of applications and excellent quality assurance, digital signage is a low-cost, high-reward investment that can help your institution do more to engage its students, open up new funding opportunities, and raise its profile – both inside and outside of your school community.

Examples of companies who educational organizations could partner with for advertising revenue include:

  • Food vendors for cafeteria displays
  • Publishing companies for your library or bookstore
  • Sports apparel
  • Stationers

What’s more, with multiple rotating slides, you can integrate advertising space and make the decision to adopt digital signage even more economical!

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How to Create Powerful Content for Communicating in Schools

You’ve probably heard the term ‘Content is King’. Nowhere is this more true than in digital display networks within schools and universities.

L Squared Digital Networks finds with our customers that digital signage content must follow the institution’s overall business and marketing strategy plus complement other student-oriented activities around campus.

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Content should be current, relevant, meaningful, interesting, motivating and evoke emotion in order to consistently draw the attention of the students, staff and stakeholders.

The benefits of implementing digital signage are huge. Your content can always change when it needs to, and unlike information on paper signs, it will never fray or be torn down.
We can help you get your content strategy right.

Contact us to learn how our digital hub can give you the power to easily to configure, boasts HD picture quality, and allows for management of multiple display boards from one central location.

 

Emergency Alerts at High Schools and Colleges

Emergency Alerts at High Schools and Colleges

College and university campuses are not immune to the threats and events that challenge every local community – potential weather disasters and threats to personal safety are unhappily common occurrences that require appropriate action on campus.

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In times of crisis, these signage displays can be transformed into an emergency communication system, allowing staff to post visual alert messages quickly.

 

 

Education Case Study: Lakefield College

Lakefield College is one of Canada’s oldest and most prestigious private boarding schools. The school is located on a 155 acre waterfront property in Central Ontario and home to a worldwide collection of alumni including Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.#

Lakefield

The Challenge

Lakefield has a very engaging and outdoor-focused curriculum with a great deal of student participation. In addition, there is a rich history of accomplishments, awards and activities that reflect the continuing evolution of the School.

The Administration team was looking for a way to collectively improve communications while targeting the student mass and visitors.

The use of paper bulletin boards and email was not having the desired impact on student and visitor engagement. The school grappled with finding a new option which would impact energy, morale and safety in a synchronized and powerful way.

The Solution

L Squared recommended and provided a centralized digital signage network that would leverage screens in high traffic areas of the facility in both the new and older sections.

The signage network utilized high resolution 46” LED screens that made the distribution of both student and faculty designed content easy to load and display. The signage software allowed for both static and rich media to be scheduled and controlled by a tiered admin system.

The new digital signage network allowed staff to communicate more efficiently with students about upcoming events, and keep visitors and parents informed about all the great things that were happening at the school.

In addition, the digital signage displays became a powerful branding and marketing tool that engaged and conveyed to prospective new students the value and culture of Lakefield College.

 

 

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McMaster University signage

Education Case Study: McMaster University

McMaster is a large university with over 29,000 students and 7,800 staff occupying 377 acres.

mcmaster

The Challenge

The university had several different legacy digital signage systems that span a few departments on campus.

They needed a digital signage solution that would allow them to grow campus wide quickly and provide a robust  integrated emergency messaging system. This project is to cover 20 additional buildings on campus as well as integrate emergency messaging into the existing digital signage infrastructure as well as  personal and campus computer systems.

The existing digital signage systems were put in place by different departments in the University and  for different purposes therefore they all had a different signage platform with wide variety of  capabilities.

The Solution

L Squared built a robust cloud based digital signage network that covers 20 buildings on campus and provides emergency messaging to hundreds of computers.

Our solution was to integrate a third party emergency messaging system to a cloud based digital signage solution. The reason is, it is too complex and in some cases impossible to install two signage client software on the same media player. Since we had to keep legacy system and still provide a uniform messaging system for security on all systems, a third party messaging client was the correct choice. Having a third party emergency message over ride would allow a universal emergency messaging system while preserving the existing signage infrastructure. The cloud based digital signage solution will allow them to quickly expand across other areas of the campus fairly easily when they are ready to do so. Lastly, we provided them with a completely managed service with 5 year warranty on the new screens so they can focus on what they do best and not worry about if the signage is up and running or not.

Improving Campus-wide Communication with Digital Signage

Digital Signage for Education

Every day, more and more schools, colleges and universities are turning to digital signage to inform, educate and alert their campuses.

Digital Signage can help you visualize your message and break through the clutter of boring paper signage with a dynamic way to show event details, building directories, campus mapping, simple announcements and alerts.

education

Used in high traffic common areas such as cafeterias, student lounges, libraries and facility lobbies, digital communication networks provide a critical link between campus administrators, facility and the student body.

Inform, Educate and Communicate

Digital Signage is helping educational institutions from schools to the university level achieve a variety of communications objectives more easily than ever before.

What can digital signage do for your school?

  • Distribute basic announcements (alerts, holiday notices, logistical reminders) more easily
  • Post important visitor information like building directories, campus maps, and check-in procedures
  • Replace bulletin boards and paper signs that grab space but not attention
  • Highlight student and staff contributions and feature other information about your institution

Still not convinced? Additional benefits:

  • Create simple, comforting visitor/patient experience with wayfinding, in-room TV messaging and interactive kiosk information on hospital services.
  • Offer entertainment to help minimize the perceived wait time through top news and wellness stories.
  • Add to your marketing strategy by driving additional revenue and community involvement through information on out-patient services and events.

 

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