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University of Scranton: Go Big or Go Home

If there’s one thing that differentiates the University of Scranton’s use of AxisTV, it’s scale. “On our campus we have 13 Visix players on 42 displays in seven different buildings on campus, and it’s growing. We’re not even close to complete. We’ve got a lot of users building a lot of content,” says Robert Kennedy, Instructional Technology Services Supervisor.

Digital signage has offered the university community advantages typical of such implementations, but in creating such a large user base, they’ve reached a tipping point where the benefits build on each other,
ranging from the volume of content to cultural practices and training.

The DeNaples Campus Center was the first to implement a single channel player, and after an evaluation period, the university decided to make AxisTV their standard system across the campus.

Vincent Carilli, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Affairs, said “The decision to implement the AxisTV digital signage system was universally supported by the Student Affairs staff in the DeNaples Campus Center as a new and innovative campus medium to share information within the facility. As part of the evaluative process, we envisioned the myriad ways in which we could share content across the campus in meaningful, yet simple ways.”

“Now we say if you want digital signage, it’s got to be Visix,” says Kennedy. “Everybody wants it. We can’t purchase units fast enough. Some departments purchase it on their own and then we implement it.”

Kennedy designed a batch of templates so that all screens present a unified university look across multi-window layouts and individual displays. “Each department can choose from a set of six templates, and we’ve set it up in such a way that each department can share content with other departments, so no one has to fill up all three windows of a sign. That’s nice because everybody has something happening in a window that they don’t have to be responsible for.”

According to Kennedy, that makes adoption even easier. “It makes this very simple, because people can get a digital sign up and running in just a couple of days and have it fully populated and take over areas of it when they’re ready. They can slowly work their way into it.”

Apparently, however, slowly working into it isn’t the norm. “I just did a training [on AxisTV] where 21 people showed up in one classroom. That was nice because I couldn’t imagine training those 21 people on a one-on-one basis like I used to. It went for about an hour and 20 minutes, longer than I thought it would. Our new group of people has looked at the signage out there and they want to be creative. They’re asking questions that I didn’t expect from them until they were a year into using it.”

Kennedy now he anticipates conducing such sessions once or twice a year for new users. “The nice thing about AxisTV is that training is easy. It’s just a matter of each department figuring out who is going to get the rights to do what.”

Kennedy says that users are learning from each others’ best practices as well. “We’re getting better. There was a learning curve: how long to leave slides up, whether people are reading them, what people really want to read. We’re learning that perhaps fewer pictures and more information is better.”

Student feedback also taught them that Student Activities needed to add more players. “At the height of the school year there might be 100 activities in there. They don’t want to wait 100 slides to see their activity. We have multiple players so we break up the group of bulletins onto different screens so students can see more variety on the signs.”

Kennedy is currently working on a remote control API that can be triggered easily by public safety systems should the need arise. “We have alert texts and emails. What we want now is the final piece of the puzzle – alerts on the digital signage system. We want proper alerts to go up on screen when they’re called for, with a procedure in place for Public Safety to push a button and activate it. That’s next on our agenda.”