La Roche College (Pittsburgh, PA), a small, private college, needed a centralized way to reach its 1,350 students. Rather than maintain separate signage for wayfinding, emergency notifications and campus announcements, the college’s information technology department decided to create a single, centralized communication system.
To meet this goal, they chose Black Box iCompel™, an integrated hardware-software platform that allows for centralized, campus-wide content management. In Fall 2010, Black Box representatives completed site surveys, then designed and mounted several LCD screens and iCompel units. La Roche IT personnel installed cabling to power the displays and connected them to the iCompel subscriber units.
An iCompel unit, which looks like a small, black box, was mounted to the wall behind each LCD screen. Each unit was connected to a larger, remotely placed iCompel publisher unit. At La Roche, the iCompel publisher unit, a type of high-definition, digital-signage appliance, was placed in a data storage room. NEC-brand LCD screens were installed near the dining hall, campus center, athletic department and library.
The subscriber units receive VGA signals over the college’s network from the publisher unit, called an iCompel HD Digital Signage Appliance, which acts as a server for streaming content.
Day-to-day, La Roche College staffers in public relations, food service and athletics log on to the iCompel system and can upload videos, photos, news updates, alerts and similar content. So far, the digital signage has displayed sports scores, weather scores and breaking news.
Terri Ballard, the college’s director of information technology, said staff faced a learning curve while figuring out how to upload items to the system, in part due to staffing changes during the transition. Today, students and staff have come to rely on the new communication system. Ballard said in a press release that “college departments and student groups are beginning to submit their relevant information to be posted on the signs. We hear complaints when they are turned off.”Advertisement
The college plans to install a 32-in. LCD display in the college’s information center, which will simply require a small subscriber unit and cabling.
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