Originally posted on 28 Jan 2013
Objective of the Project
As students, staff and visitors arrived at the various NAIT campuses on weekends and evenings during reduced staff hours, many of them relied on a Web-based class scheduling system to find their classroom start times and the classroom locations. With such a large number of courses and locations students would frequently have difficulty finding their classes on time.
The digital signage system commissioned by NAIT was developed and installed by authorized Audience reseller Matrix Video. The system included a network of LCD screens and a client-driven content message system that was distributed to high traffic areas located throughout NAIT’s main campus and two satellite campuses.
The NAIT Information Display System topology consists of a master PC workstation which controls distributed small-form factor PCs driving 13 LCD public display screens. All systems are connected on the NAIT corporate IP network. The screens are deployed at various heavily trafficked campus locations, enabling students and staff to get last-minute information about their classroom locations and classroom start times.
To coordinate content creation and delivery, a complete Audience software suite was utilized, including creation, management and playback software. As well, the remote access and management tool Audience Billboard was added giving students and staff the ability to post and manage messages on the network.
Carl Enright, director of the NAIT continuing education program, says because of the popularity of the continuing education program’s Information Display System, its original use has expanded from just classroom start times and classroom locations to an all-purpose student communications system. “The IDS digital sign system now includes postings about exam schedules, campus sport scores, locations of instructor offices, NAIT News (updates on student and school activities) and is also a part of the Security Alert campus system,” Enright said. Enright is more than pleased with the digital signage system, as it has not only expanded into a more sophisticated campus news and activities “ticker,” but also has physically grown from its original nine LCD displays to 13 campus locations. Enright believes over time, as more of the students and staff come to depend on the Information Display System, it will evolve into an NAIT knowledge system. As for the effectiveness of NAIT’s current digital signage system, Enright said, “Prior to the IDS installation, our department handled many student complaints, primarily, ‘where is my classroom?’ Now, with this digital sign system in place, this year to date, we only handled about six complaints, which is incredible.”