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Pennsylvania College of Technology: Getting a Fresh Start

Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, a special mission affiliate of Penn State committed to applied technology education, became an early adopter of digital signage when they decided they wanted a communication system as impressive as their new library. They implemented an initial content management system, but three years later made the switch to AxisTV digital signage software.

Ron Miller, Director of Computing and Audiovisual Services, describes his rediscovery of AxisTV at an audiovisual conference in Wilkes-Barre. “I knew the representative from before when he had given us a demo. We talked about new AxisTV features and having some experience with it, and I realized that it was the far better product for creating communications and maintaining them.”

Miller adds, “Running into him got me excited about getting something else in here. Our long-term initiative was getting signage in most of our six main buildings on campus.” But he was also budget-conscious. “One of the reasons we decided to go with AxisTV was a cost issue. We were paying a pretty good fee each year for weather and news subscriptions. What we liked is that Visix provided weather subscriptions for free. That really helped us.”

Today the school operates six channel players, most of them driving a single display in places such as the library, Student and Administrative Services Center, and academic buildings. They have also expanded into the dining halls of newly built student residences. “We’ve incorporated a distributed model that lets creators in specific areas run their own content.”

Mike Hersh, Assistant Director of Student Activities for Programming is one of those creators. “When I compare this to the old system, the versatility of AxisTV is a lot better. Many offices have seen the signs and want slides put up, so I’m having them create them in PowerPoint, then I clean up and post them. I couldn’t do that before.”

Miller concurs that PowerPoint functionality makes AxisTV especially adaptable to their school environment. “For a person who is not a trained content creator to build us a PowerPoint – which they’re familiar with – and give it to Mike who has it imported in five minutes…it’s amazing how easy and simple that is for the users on campus.”

With AxisTV, the college is now better able to reach audiences who pass through campus and market offerings to them. For example, the school’s Workforce Development & Continuing Education office uses a channel player to share information with non-credit students who may be on campus for an evening class. “They can look at schedules, information on classes, anything related to what they’re attending that night, and we can advertise other non-credit programs that may be of interest to them. It grabs their attention right away.”

Both Miller and Hersh are enthusiastically looking into other AxisTV capabilities they can implement. Hersh is impressed with the optional Screensaver feature that publishes digital signage content to networked campus computers. Miller says he’s working to make use of the AxisTV automatic campus alert functions and integrating them with the school’s current practices.

Miller is confident that any future expansion will be easy. “We’re really happy with support we get. When we order a player, I get an email from a Visix contact that tells me when I should be receiving it. I don’t have to do anything – they get the player up and ready to go. All we have to do is put content on it.”