Digital signage is a no-brainer for higher education. Colleges and universities can implement it at a low cost, and use it for a wide range of applications ideal for academic institutions. A lot of the value of digital signage comes from its flexibility: It's simple to update the content, the organization or even the entire design of a sign with digital signage software. Those updates can be pushed out to all of the signs on a network instantaneously. However, there are a few things to examine when bringing digital signage to higher education.
Design around animation overload
Design is one of the most important parts of a digital signage solution. While designing a sign, it's easy to go overboard designing eye-popping animations and flashy transitions, but that strategy can backfire. People already bombarded by screens on all sides just have another one to ignore. Higher Ed Tech Decisions recommended using nuanced animations with subtle motion cues derived from the real world that naturally attract the eye.
"Colleges and universities should evaluate whether digital signage advertising is right for them."
Carefully consider advertising
Colleges and universities should evaluate whether advertising via digital signage is right for them, and then really scrutinize what is being advertised.
It's a convenient way to raise money and the bright colors and large size of a digital sign make well-crafted ads pop, but students might not be too fond of them, and it may take up precious screen real estate that could be used for additional information.
A whitepaper by Digital Signage Today and NEC warned that relying on third-party ad networks, which automate the process of ad buys, could be bad for an institution.
"A company that is a major donor to the school," said Rich Ventura, director of sales at NEC, "is not likely to be happy if you run ads from its competitor."
Furthermore, Ventura indicated it would be in poor taste for a campus to advertise- and therefore, implicitly endorse – alcohol or other harmful products.
Implement emergency notifications
It's the worst-case scenario for a university, but it's important to make sure that a campus can quickly disseminate information to students, faculty and guests in case of an emergency. Many campuses already have SMS or email alerts, noted Campus Safety Magazine, but there are plenty of reasons they could be ineffective.
For instance, guests or new students might not be signed up to the list, and it's common for students and faculty to keep their phone off or silent during class, which are both likely scenarios where those alerts have no benefit.
After the 2007 tragedy at Virginia Tech, the school installed hundreds of LED signs throughout the campus, according to the source. It's simple for administration to alert everybody on the campus and not worry that the message won't get across.
"I know when I press that button, I can hear it in my hallway immediately," said Larry Hinker, associate vice president of university relations at VT.
Academic institutions have much to gain from implementing digital signage software for campus. Though there are a few ways a college could slip up with digital signs, thoughtfully considering the process and ramifications of digital signage solutions can lead to a highly successful initiative.