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Professional Opinion

Creating real-time interaction in higher education

How digital signage builds a sense of community across the institution
University Business, January 2014
Craig Marshall says digital signage can give students the real-time information they expect.
Craig Marshall says digital signage can give students the real-time information they expect.

As the world becomes more connected, it is changing the way we view information and interact with it. By 2014, it is estimated there will be approximately 2 billion computers, 5 billion smartphones, 7 billion people, and 10 billion smart devices. Smart devices are all around us; they are in our home, our car, our office and our schools, virtually everywhere we look.

Engaging and interacting with a generation of students who were raised surrounded by technology and media is driving significant change among colleges and universities. Students today expect real-time information delivered where and when they need it, across multiple devices.

The younger generations prefer digital communications, and as a result digital signage has become a cost-effective tool for schools to utilize in delivering information. Dynamic digital signage is enabling colleges and universities to improve communications ranging from emergency notifications to wayfinding to events and employee communications.

Employing digital signage in an education setting enables you to:

• Improve performance

• Reduce costs

• Improve health and safety

• Build awareness

• Customize communications to specific audiences

Visual communication networks in education allow you to enhance the experiences of different audiences, by providing real-time, relevant information for your students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

Here are some examples of digital signage applications you can incorporate into your educational institution:

• Wayfinding. Whether you are a visitor or a new student, interactive wayfinding easily allows people to find their way around campus. It is an intelligent system that can make decisions based on current conditions; for example, it can automatically determine the safest and best route, for persons with disabilities (wheelchair ramps) or late at night (more lit areas).

• Transportation. Not only can you move people toward greener technologies, you can take-time sensitive information and provide students, staff and visitors with schedules and interactive maps that update in real time—so they can get to the right place, at the right time.

• Food services. Utilizing digital signage in the dining hall is a key tool for growing your sales. You have the ability to tie together your POS system with your digital menu boards to deliver consistent, real-time content that maintains and reinforces branding and image standards—all while staying in tune with your inventory.

• Athletics. You can display a limitless variety of content and keep your audience engaged and entertained while, at the same time, enhancing the experience and reducing perceived wait times.

• Community. Large, multiple campus institutions often seem to be disconnected. You have the ability to build a community by bringing your campuses together with visual communications that promote key school and community information and messages.

• Schedules. Digital signage can help you ensure your staff and students get to the right place at the right time.

However, an area often overlooked in education is facility management. With digital signage you can increase the efficiency of day-to-day operations by effectively managing deliveries, as well as coordinating and connecting staff to time-sensitive information.

Younger generations have grown up in a real-time environment; they expect information to be accessible instantly and technology, like digital signage, to respond to their individual needs. Colleges and universities have the ability to implement a cost-effective tool to meet the needs of every audience while staying ahead of the technology trends.

Digital signage systems help connect people and build a sense of community across an entire educational organization—all while reinforcing brand identity, reducing costs and improving health and safety.

Craig Marshall, solution sales professional for Omnivex Corp., will be presenting a roundtable discussion on Weds., Feb. 13, entitled “Creating Real Time Interactions,” at Digital Signage Expo 2014 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas. DSE runs February 12 and 13. For more information about DSE or to register for this or any other educational seminar or workshop and learn about digital signage, visit