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Montgomery County Community College: Growing with the Community

Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) prides itself on being a place “where the future is created – a place where desire and knowledge are combined to yield opportunity.” This year marks the college’s 40th year of fulfilling that mission at both its Central Campus in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, and its West Campus in Pottstown. Throughout its history, MCCC has found innovative ways to address communication needs. Serving the community in the twenty-first century requires sophisticated communications for this institution. When MCCC began exploring college digital signage solutions that would balance the communication needs of faculty and students with the budget of a community college – AxisTV digital signage software became the clear choice.

Michael Knight, Manager of Multimedia Services, examined several messaging systems and chose AxisTV as the best candidate to meet and grow with the college’s digital communications delivery needs. Knight explains, “We’re a small team and we like to keep integration in-house. Visix provided us with a system that met our needs in terms of communications delivery, ease of implementation and budget.”

The college started with one channel player delivering content to a series of 36-inch computer monitors repurposed as digital signs. “AxisTV has made it a lot simpler to disseminate information to our students. As opposed to email blasts that get lost in the clutter, the information is right there for all to view. You see people stopping to look at the screens all the time. The best part is the immediacy of it,” says Knight.

Over the years, AxisTV has provided MCCC the flexibility to grow its visual communications initiative. Originally, the college wanted to deliver event schedules using Astra Schedule from Ad Astra and message content to multiple endpoints. At one time, the output was being delivered not only to monitor displays, but also encoded as a stream and delivered out over their local area network.

The system has developed to include seven channel players delivering content to two campuses and over 20 displays. MCCC continues to rely on AxisTV’s event schedule display to import daily class schedules from Astra using an automatic text adaptor to capture event data and format the information into viewable bulletins. They are also using the Screensaver Option to deliver content to public PCs in lobbies, conference rooms, hallways and libraries. The college is improving its creative delivery by migrating from a single content pane to a three-pane plus two-crawl format that looks more like cable news.

Knight is also excited about the Display Device Control option installed to remotely control their screens. “In the past, we had to physically make our rounds to turn displays on or off in multiple buildings and campuses. Now I’ll be able to turn displays on and off via the web.” This is particularly valuable with the two campuses being thirty-five miles apart.

Along with growing the hardware and AxisTV infrastructure, MCCC is concentrating on fine-tuning their communications procedures. Policies have been implemented to ensure users can create relevant content quickly, with faculty creating their own course advertisements and student groups submitting bulletins for approval through established channels. Designated multimedia staff members post emergency notices, using the “alert” mode available in AxisTV when such notices are necessary. Knight continues, “It’s the beauty of a self-service system. The user does it (bulletin creation) themselves. It cuts down on time for them and for my staff, in terms of moving from an idea to the delivery of information.”

Montgomery County Community College and AxisTV will continue to grow together to meet the needs of faculty, students, administrators and the IT staff. Knight concludes, “I’m very happy with the system and the service. If I need support, I send an email and I get a call or an email within two hours. I wish other vendors gave us that kind of service.”