Digital signage has come a long way in the last decade, and is increasingly utilized in higher education. Universities are an ideal place for digital signage, offering a variety of different venues for unique content including dining facilities; faculty and staff offices; faculty, staff, and student lounges; health clinics; gymnasiums or sporting arenas; theaters; classrooms; and student residence halls.
Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” If he had spoken these words today, one might think he was speaking about deploying digital signage on the campus of Princeton University.
After being announced as a host venue for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, my colleagues and I at The University of British Columbia (Canada) began preparations for the thousands of visitors expected to come see the Olympic torch relay and attend events at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.
What technologies and features do higher education favor for digital signage and video and web conferencing deployments? And what can be done to ensure that these technology purchases are used wisely? Here’s what is happening on the AV technology scene.
Touch screens are taking over—and people expect to see them. In the years since Apple first popularized the technology with the iPhone in 2007, it has become almost rare to meet someone who doesn’t own a touchscreen smartphone or tablet. This is becoming even truer among the college-bound and younger generation. Take, for example, the viral YouTube video showing a toddler who could easily operate an iPad, but seemed perplexed when she touched the pages of a magazine and nothing happened.
If you were to travel 10 years into the future and walk onto a college campus, what would you expect digital signage to look like? I’m not sure what it will look like, but what I do know is that my two young sons will want to interact with it. Steve Jobs left me a legacy of listening to endless fire truck videos; clips of animated cars, trucks, and trains speaking in German, Dutch, and Japanese; and video updates of the latest in dancing robots ("bebots," as my 18-month-old calls them).
The student center is the heart of any campus. It's so important that students at Clarkson University, a small private college in Potsdam, NY, voted an increase in their own fees to help pay to build one.
Clarkson, a nationally ranked research university, has 3,000 students in more than 50 degree programs. But despite its national reputation and dynamic student community, Clarkson did not have a student center.
Some of the scariest risks on campus remain hidden until the moment that students, teachers, and staff experience them. Until the shooter kills, the funding disappears, or the opposing party files the lawsuit, everything seems fine. Then, the overwhelming grief takes hold or the power to educate diminishes due to lack of resources. That's why, as campus leaders know, action must be taken before the risk occurs.