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Georgia Conference Center & Hotel: Rooms with a View

Mike Compton is the Systems Administrator Specialist for the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel, a facility with 200 guest rooms, five boardrooms, 18 meeting rooms, two auditoriums, and banquet and exhibit space. For facilities this complex, posting notices of who’s meeting in which room is no small undertaking.

“You only have two options – digital signage or paper,” Compton explains. “It just didn’t make a whole lot of sense to have the information in our in-house scheduling system, make a copy of it in Microsoft Word, print it out, walk it to the door, and slide it into place. And then if the room use changes, you have to pull it out and do it all over again.”

Now with AxisTV digital signage software, visitors can easily read the most current information on 33 flat-panel monitors placed at the entrance to each conference room. “When we have an event in Room A, the screen automatically displays what’s going on in that room until that event is finished, and then it automatically drops off and populates the screen with the next event.”

In planning implementation, the Center had a clear picture of what they wanted, but to make their investment in digital signage efficient and affordable, they wanted to make the most of their existing tools. The fact that AxisTV allowed them to easily import a text file from their facilities management software made it their first choice. “The actual import from the scheduler works flawlessly every day,” said Compton. “It’s completely automatic and there was no rewriting or extra coding for us. We just used the integration tools that came out of the box.”

As a result, the room scheduling process stays the same while a graphics department creates backgrounds as JPEG files, which Compton uploads to the media players. “From that point the automatic import of our in-house application writes the copy onto those backgrounds.”

The Center uses one media player to feed the same signal to four 51-inch displays, each placed at one of the main entrances. Those larger screens show three windows: a center content block for the day’s events, a separate window that shows a live CNN television feed, and another window with weather and occasional advertisements. At the bottom of the screen, a ticker runs special welcome messages.

The schedules for individual conference rooms are displayed on a total of 33 flat panel and LCD monitors fed by a series of nine players. But messages are disseminated even beyond the conference center. When guests in the hotel turn on their TVs, they first see channel 99, which features content from the players, and if a convention is promoting a video of its own, that feed can be run throughout the day for attendees.

Compton says that not only was AxisTV the product that best suited their needs, but its price was within their budget. And best of all, “It just does the job. It’s nice in that you’ve got a server that runs all the content for your multiple players. The video window option is really nice to have, and the text import is there if you need it. It pretty much runs itself.”