University at Buffalo: Seeing the Possibilities

Andy Koenig, Senior LAN Analyst for the Office of Medical Computing at the University at Buffalo (UB) had a small problem – digital signage hardware is useless without good content management software. “We had a dozen or so flat-panel 42-inch displays just sitting around, so we thought we’d put them to good use.”

Koenig was visiting the State University of New York’s Geneseo campus and saw their AxisTV system. “It seemed to work for them and the user interface is basically as simple as it gets – it seemed really do-able for us, so we bought it.” Within a couple of days, they had purchased AxisTV digital signage software – Professional Edition.

UB’s South Campus houses the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Dental Medicine, Public Health and Health Professions, and the School of Nursing. Displays at the main entrances show AxisTV layouts split into three windows – one for long-term information, one for weather and Doppler radar maps, and one with the building directory – and a text crawl at the bottom for general information.

Koenig enthuses, “It sure works – students show up where they are supposed to, even with last minute changes in scheduling.”

End-users from different departments send Koenig and his team an email with the graphic or text file and they then create and publish the graphic. “We put out a lot of images – PowerPoints, JPEG captures, Photoshop images. The main advantage is we can get information out that you can’t do in any other way. It’s quick, up-to-date and visual.”

UB expanded their system to include the Web Page Capture feature. “We have a couple of calendar systems publishing info to a web page and then we use the web capture to pull it out and display it.”

They also interface AxisTV with listserves and Blackboard, a content management system. “Currently,” says Koenig, “all class notes are printed and distributed to students. The dental school actually has the whole course on DVD and the students have laptops. We also videotape all our classes. I hope to use AxisTV in the future to broadcast streaming feeds.”

Other schools in the State University of New York system have expressed an interest in AxisTV digital signage software after seeing it in action at UB. “Even the food service people want in. They want five displays to display their daily menus as well as a video feed,” says Koenig. “We may have to expand to the Enterprise Edition before too long.”