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Catholic University of America: Enhancing Experience

When Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would visit the campus of The Catholic University of America in Brookland (known as “Little Rome), in northeast Washington, DC, the staff was understandably excited. “We wanted to replace our old, outdated system that only showed PowerPoint slides with something more modern and dynamic,” says Brandon Pettit, Assistant Director of Conferences and Event Planning for the Pryzbyla University Center. “The Pope’s visit expedited the choice to go digital.” After seeing AxisTV university digital signage software at the annual conference of the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), colleagues decided that this was the system they were looking for.

“With Visix, you control all the content, with no monthly rental fees. One of the driving reasons behind our purchase was its advertised compatibility with our scheduling software – CollegeNET R25.” Catholic University purchased AxisTV Professional and three channel players to start them off. “We only managed to get the basics up and running in time for the Pope’s visit,” says Pettit, “but he and other high-ranking officials did see welcome messages on our screens. Guests were also guided by wayfinding messages on the displays.” Since then, they have added another three channel players, including one that drives content to the campus television network, shown in the new student housing.

Catholic University now has displays on every floor, from 42- to 65-inches in size, in lobbies and next to the restaurant/dining facility. Display layouts are split into three content blocks with a weather ticker at the bottom. Screens display student events, building hours notifications, and information on the dining area. They plan to use the Visix Screensaver Publisher on six email terminals and are working on integrating event schedules. “Students generate a significant amount of the content. We plan to create student organization accounts as well, so they can use AxisTV while we retain approval rights.” Content is created using PowerPoint and AxisTV’s FreeForm editor – much of it by Kim Parrott, Administrative Assistant, with Pettit and the student staff also contributing.

“It has clearly reached its way around campus,” says Pettit. “Students stop to watch it and now other offices want to use it as well.” The extensive Athletics Department, which includes baseball, basketball, lacrosse, volleyball, soccer, tennis, swimming and track and field, has a 65-inch display in their entrance lobby that shows team scores and team and individual season records. They plan to stream athletic events over the Internet on the main display and smaller screens next to the concession stands.

“The advantage of AxisTV is that you can have multiple users with layered security. It’s also web-based, so you can use it from your desk or even from home.” He also likes the expansion capabilities the Visix system offers. “There are unlimited content and layout options. You can incorporate streaming and video, and interface with scheduling software to make things even easier.” In addition to AxisTV, Catholic University uses bulletin boards, easels, and large banners in the three-story Atrium. “We look at digital signage as a method for enhancing traditional media.”