University of Wisconsin Oshkosh: Twittering Away

Reeve Union, the student center at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh isn’t stuck in the past. The deployment of an AxisTV university digital signage system has allowed Reeve to be at the cutting edge of effective communication with the students it serves, while bolstering its green credentials.

The student center had an old digital signage system in place that was designed in-house, composed of CRT TVs, which it used in conjunction with traditional posters and print announcements, but with the changing times and student expectations, it became clear an upgrade was necessary. “We wanted something with higher visibility that would also allow us to follow a more sustainable path and be less dependent on paper media,” explained Brandon Heise, technical services coordinator at Reeve Union. With AxisTV, students are now getting their information via large LCD screens—everything from slides to video to Twitter feeds.

The center looked into a number of competitive products when deciding to invest in digital signage, and in the end, “it really came down to a question of what you get for your investment,” said Heise. One big plus with AxisTV was the money that could be saved by not having to buy individual software licenses for each person that wants to log on to the system or create content. “Other companies were charging for individual software licenses, which would mean that every time somebody new wanted to log on to the system or create an account you would have to buy another software package for $1,000 or something like that, which gets very expensive,” Heise explained. The central content manager and web-based interface means that “within our system we have 250 logins; for us, that’s basically unlimited,” he added.

The system’s scalability for multi-building use is another plus. “At first, we thought we’d have to stream digital video between buildings, but with AxisTV we were able to just locate one player per building and distribute it out of a telco closet in each building,” said Heise.

Reeve uses the system to display a variety of content, including PowerPoint slides, video produced by an in-house designer to promote activities on campus, and even Twitter feeds from different campus departments such as the College of Business.

The positive response to the system is illustrated by the way it has spread around campus. After the Department of Residence Life saw what Reeve was doing with the system, they decided to get on board as well, installing AxisTV in the main floor areas of the largest residence hall. The Admissions Department was also impressed, and has put a screen in their main area to help communicate with new and prospective students about all the events and activities available on campus. The university library has jumped on board, too.

At Reeve, the difference in participation since the AxisTV system was deployed has been noticeable. “There has been a dramatic change in terms of the number of departments and student organizations sending us content to post or wanting to post it themselves,” said Heise. In addition to the jump in content submission, scheduling of announcements fills up fast. “We have content scheduled all the way to the end of a semester from the beginning of that semester, which is another great capability of the system,” said Heise.

Looking ahead, Heise said that based on all the positive word of mouth, other campus departments will probably be jumping on the AxisTV bandwagon soon. When that happens, Heise won’t be surprised. “It has been a positive experience on many levels—it has made my work easier, it has made our communications more effective and it has made us a lot greener. AxisTV really has exceeded my expectations.”