Situated in Greenwood, South Carolina, Lander University calls itself the small school with big opportunities. The college, founded in 1872, offers traditional liberal arts and science programs and professional programs in business, education and nursing. Notwithstanding its size, the school is technologically progressive with a wireless campus, more than fifty “SMART classrooms”, student laptops and a university digital signage system to rival big campuses anywhere in the United States.
With more than 3000 students, the administration and 120+ faculty members are constantly seeking tools to aid campus communications. When traditional methods such as bulletin boards had proven ineffective, the university sought a technology to complement their tech-savvy approach.
The goal was to continue to use technology to attract students to a small but growing school and to improve university-to-student communications by delivering relevant content – student activities, sports information, cafeteria menus, wayfinding directions, curriculum changes and department specific information – throughout the campus.
While investigating visual communications systems, AxisTV digital signage software came to the forefront. Wayne McMahan, Computer Installation & Repair Manager for Lander, was familiar with the digital signage technology from a previous university deployment and championed its adoption. Both the turnkey nature of the package – software, hardware, installation, training and support in one bundle – and the ease of integration into the existing network were key AxisTV selling points. The impressive AxisTV client list further bolstered confidence in the product and its supplier.
AxisTV delivers content to displays situated in hallways, lobbies, and vending machine areas in twelve campus buildings. Communications are created by fifteen different user groups including student affairs, admissions, and various other faculty and administrative staff. “It’s working well and appears to be getting students’ attention – one last chance to catch them as they move from one place to another,” comments Matt Braaten, Director of Academic Web Based Communications, who’s been managing the application side of AxisTV for the university.
Lander employs a scalable content server, managing and delivering communications to remotely located media players, some of which are mounted directly to the back of displays. Multiple on-screen zones showing unique playlists and multiple tickers provide a variety of display layouts and delivery choices. The university uses AxisTV to overlay live and pre-recorded video – such as CNN and ESPN – in order to “hook” students and draw their attention to informative messages.
Natural for a small entity, the university was concerned about return on investment. “It’s starting to pay off,” says Braaten, who believes the school is starting to reap the benefits of their digital signage investment. Users are building their content libraries, and more polished media is being created every day. The main attraction of AxisTV for both Lander’s content creators and viewers is the immediacy of the information – realtime communications that take just minutes from concept to delivery.
The university plans to amplify their dynamic visual messaging , developing expanded physical and usage strategies for AxisTV. “All new building plans include AxisTV as an option,” confides Braaten.
“We’re still experimenting. We’re still learning the system and what we can accomplish with it,” says Braaten. This small university with big plans will continue grow and offer big opportunities through careful planning and skillful technology choices.