The EduComm Expo featured a keynote session called “Staying Ahead of the Curve: Preparing for the Future of Campus Communication” on Thursday, October 1.
The session featured three speakers who covered brief case studies on how they use digital signage on their campuses, and advice on how other campuses can most effectively utilize digital signage.
Holli Drewry, Assistant Director of Communications & Innovative Technology at Viriginia Tech University, discussed how colleges can use digital signage to better communicate to their students.
She said that colleges can use multiple methods, such as social media, apps, websites, HTML emails and webinars to convey content via digital signage to students.
“We have to be careful about how we communicate with students,” she said. “Just because students are [physical somewhere], doesn’t mean we need to be there. We have to pick the channels for what we’re messaging. Pick the thing you can do, and do it well.”
Drewry also said that students on her campus often request that the school communicate messages to them in as few words as possible – sometimes, they want a message a short as a Tweet.
“Students want us to tell them things in 140 characters,” she said “We can do it with a dining schedule, but not an alcohol policy. But now we can think about how we can do that, and how to put the policy in bite sized pieces and make it so they can digest it quickly.”
Keith Lewie, Digital Signage Systems Engineer at Ohio State University covered how colleges can prepare for large growth in digital signage technology.
During the session, Lewie said that just because a college’s digital signage network is big, does not mean that it is being used correctly.
He said the best way for a college to maintain a digital signage system is to make sure it’s ready for growth, and to implement strategies that will support that growth.
“You need systems and processes in place to maintain what you have,” Lewie said. “You need processes to plan for growth….Get on top of it now.”
James Webb, CIO at West Texas A&M University wrapped up the keynote by advising colleges to craft digital signage solutions to be omnidirectional, web-based, and interoperable.
Webb said that each of these characteristics will provide colleges with a more efficient digital signage setup and better preparation for the future of digital signage.
For example, moving to a Cloud-based or mobile architecture enables a digital signage network to talk to campus T.V. screens and students’ mobile devices; web-based features enable colleges to better manage their digital signage content and tighten content security; deploying solutions that can tie to one API enables the opportunity for both serious and fun content, such as a customized happy birthday greeting to a particular student.
“If you can standardize on one interface, you can control content,” Webb said. “Get it involved.”
Webb said regardless of which direction colleges take with their digital signage, it will bring opportunities to their campuses.
“If you look at digital signage as an opportunity, you can expand things at your institution,” he said.