Hello, my name is Kris Collins and I'm the Online Marketing Manager at the University of Bedfordshire. I'm here today with my colleague, John Wells to run you through how we implemented our new digital signage network and to hopefully highlight a few areas that you may want to consider or pitfalls you may want to be aware of. So, to start with let's have a show of hands of who currently has a digital signage network? And how many of you are happy with your network? I think this highlights the fact that no network will fit all of your needs. John & I originally chose two different systems, John's was more flexible on the design side and mine featured more management tools. Ultimately, you need to choose what your priorities are. As the system would be sitting within central marketing we went with the system that I favoured. An important decision to make is working out who owns your digital signage network.
So, today we'll be looking at where we started, the set-up on screens that we inherited and the way we managed to unify our offering. Then we'll be looking at how flexible a system needs to be and how we're moving forward. I'll then be passing over to John who will be explaining about the challenges faced with the integration of the system with our infrastructure. We'll be wrapping up with some pointers on keeping the screens corporate across all locations and some key points to consider when selecting and installing a signage system.
So, here we are... 22 screens across five campuses and all of them showing totally different things! And there’s me, in the corner with little or no direct access to any of the screens despite the Marketing department being ultimately responsible for internal communications. Also, without actually being in front of a physical screen it wasn’t possible for the Marketing Department to see what was running on the screens. So, let's have a look at some of the examples we unfortunately had running on our screens before the network came in...
Poor image quality, stretched logo and pretty poor compression...
The use of non-corporate colours and no branding...
Slightly better but not branded...
Reasonably illegible text and no branding...
and I think we can class this one as information overload! With an average of 12 seconds per slide you’d need to be standing in front of the screen for two weeks to read it all!
So, as well as allowing people to put any message, in any colour and size on their screens we also had a rather long winded way of adding central marketing information to the screens. If we received a request from the VC for example, we would need to send the PowerPoint slide out to 9 different editor asking them to add the information to their screen. This relied on them adding it, which didn't always happen, and also to remember to take it off again, which also sometimes didn't happen!
So, here we are with a new infrastructure for content distribution and although it doesn’t look too different it’s the addition of the distribution box that makes all the difference... 22 screens across five campuses and a new distribution box to manage the content. Now, to simplify things, all content is distributed to the screens via channels and you can have more than one screen associated with a channel. This works rather well when you have screens in the same faculty at different campus locations, such as the Business School at Putteridge Bury campus. The entire system relies on web based access so no single machine has to be tied to being the ‘signage PC’ and people can access their screens from anywhere within the University network. This allows me to drop a slide into any screen presentation I need to without the intervention of the local editor. They still have the ability to add their own content via ad-hoc access so to them, nothing has changed, they're still in control of their screen. But, for us, we have access to all screens from a central point. And, with the addition of managed channels we can run the same content across multiple screens. We add a new slide to the business channel and it displays on the three screens within the business school at both campuses. This means the management of content is easier, quicker and more direct for us.
We also set a new standard design for all of our screens. Scrolling RSS at the bottom of the screen to use freely available data feeds that might be of interest to students such as BBC news and the weather. Can anyone guess which element of the screen has received the most positive feedback? It’s the clock…
There are 3 key areas that screen owners can control via ad-hoc access, which are highlighted here.
Monitoring and maintaining the system is not a pain free process. Any automation you can put in place will help! Some screens have been turned off and no-one has mentioned it, it’s a culture change for staff to recognise that these screens are key communications tools for current students.
So how have we tackled the issue of brand abuse?
So how have we tackled the issue of brand abuse?
Digital signage systems will help you to manage your content but you will always need to keep an eye on what is happening. People will look to bend the system to their own needs!
Digital Signage Strategies Forum 2010
Standardizing and Unifying Your Digital Signage Systems To Save Money and Maintain Corporate Branding Kris Collins, Dip DigM - Online Marketing Manager John Wells - Computer Services Manager University of Bedfordshire
Presentation Overview <ul><ul><li>Where we started! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Current set-up and future roll out plans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Challenges and strategies for infrastructure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>integration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Corporate branding across locations </li></ul></ul>
Where we started! Butterfield Park campus Luton campus Putteridge Bury campus Bedford campus Buckinghamshire campus 22 Screens across five campuses with nine different editors.
Where we started! A single message would need to be sent to nine people to add to their screens. The reliance is on them to publish it and remove it when asked. Not a very reliable system and extremely high maintenance! The answer... put in a new system!
Current set-up... Butterfield Park campus Luton campus Putteridge Bury campus Bedford campus Buckinghamshire campus Distribution box
Future roll out plans An additional 6 boxes in the new campus centre building and a further 4 on the Luton campus. Possible additional screen within the shuttle bus and running off a wireless dongle. DSM needed due to number of boxes - monitoring is essential but high maintenance, an automated system helps to flag up issues!
Challenges and strategies for infrastructure integration Choosing a Digital Signage System IPTV/Video on Demand Integrating Extending
Choosing a Digital Signage System We looked at about half a dozen systems … and took about 8 months to come to a decision!
IPTV, Off-Air Recording and Video on Demand Off-Air Recording onto DVD Bank of 12 DVD-R + Freeview Archive held on library shelves Change Drivers: Rooms refurbished 21st Century on-line solution Inter- and Intra-campus TV distribution Integration with digital signage OneLan OmniServer chosen Photo: http://bit.ly/WeyXb
Integrating OneLan with Existing Infrastructure Existing Screens – DVI or VGA? M&E – Network Points, Power Outlets? Screen Placement, NTB fixing Network Infrastructure Static/Dynamic IP Addressing Information Sources RSS, Text, Video Personnel, Departments Editorial control
Extending the System Additional Players Room Timetabling Graduations Videoconference/Lecture Streaming Vivas Photo: showbus.com <ul><li>Travel Services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Arriva </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Network Rail </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Shuttle Bus </li></ul>
Corporate branding across multiple locations Default, standard design with no local editor access to change the layout. Move the branding onto the screen layout & out of the presentation area. Reduces the misuse of logos appearing in the content. Scheduled content ensures that old news is removed when needed.
Corporate branding across multiple locations Use of RSS/Atom feeds, page clippings and hosted videos to re-use content from your website. Remember to train the editors who add content, you’ll be surprised how often this is overlooked!
Key points to remember Work out your priorities, do you want a web based system or a local PC that runs your network, who needs access? Put a policy in place, there are plenty of 3rd parties offering free hardware, anyone can sign up and they're tricky to remove! Be nice & socialise! Demanding a change is never as easy as gentle persuasion. Remember that you still need these editors to be in place, using your new system. Most importantly, no system does everything you want it to and you'll still need to manually manage parts of it!