Utah Valley University Connects Students and Campus Organizations on Screen
When the media services department at Utah Valley University (Orem) installed a campus-wide message system run by a character generator and TV displays in 1993, they were on the cutting edge of technology. Fifteen years and a network of outdated CRT televisions later, the university needed to make some changes to keep up with its tech-savvy student body.
In 2008, Travis Tasker, Director of UVU’s Media Tech Support and Integration (MTSI) team met with Scala Certified Partner Capta-Vision to develop a more powerful digital signage network that didn’t rely on campus cable as its broadcasting medium. The university’s intent was to harness digital signage to serve the informational, branding, entertainment and emergency broadcast needs on campus.
“Our goal was to build an inexpensive conduit for distributing information to the masses while maintaining our campus image of excellence,” Tasker said. “We want to deliver a variety of fresh, relevant content by using and adapting content generation, distribution and approval methods already being used in existing systems and processes.”
Through an ongoing integration, Capta-Vision has helped the MTSI team bring 17 46-inch LCD flat panel screens to UVU to form a network powered by Scala. Currently, the network is campus-wide with displays in such locations as the library, student center and administration building.
“We look at these displays as billboards with quick, relevant content,” Tasker explained. The university selected areas that are high-traffic for these screens in order to effectively broadcast UVU-related information, including calendars, RSS feeds, events, posters and 30-second videos.
Other entertainment displays have been installed in areas where people congregate such as cafeterias and where long lines are present. These displays provide longer content and programs, as well as announcements via RSS feeds through text crawls. The goal, according to Tasker, is to intersperse campus content with commercial- free news and sports.
In order to utilize their new network efficiently, UVU administrators wanted to give members of the campus community the ability to control content. Scala software’s user-friendly interface and design capabilities would allow approved members of the university to develop and schedule their own content and select which screens it would play on.
“Scala has been an intuitive program, and we were able to figure it out on our own with only a little bit of input from Capta-Vision,” Tasker said.
They licensed 25 sets of Scala software across campus so that registered student organizations, campus governance groups, academic/campus departments and offices, and college committees could upload their own information to the network.
But before UVU groups could get onboard, certain guidelines had to be put in place. A digital signage committee was formed, comprising representatives from any campus groups interested in using it. The guidelines, which were approved by the Campus Image Committee, have helped delegate responsibility for UVU’s digitally broadcasted content.
“By putting a structured process in place for content generation, distribution and approval, UVU’s administrators and information technology officers have found digital signage offers a low-cost and efficient way to deliver fresh, relevant information to students, faculty and staff,” said Marcello Gasperini, Sales and Marketing Director for Capta-Vision.
To get an idea of how UVU news comes to life on the network, here’s how the university distributes the responsibilities for digital signage:
- It is up to campus departments and organizations to generate their own content. They are given campus resources such as the Studios & Engineering department that will create their content. They can also go off campus to have their content created for them within the set guidelines.
- Each campus area manages about 40 percent of the content displayed its local display, while MTSI oversees campus-wide distribution of content contributed by other groups on campus. If a site is unable to fill its 40 percent of content, the time slot(s) for that content go back into the campus-wide pool. This assures that relevant, fresh content is always displayed across campus.
- UVU’s marketing department reviews all content it enters the digital network. This includes the overall look and feel of the content’s presentation, university branding and images used.
- The Office of Informational Technology is responsible for overall network maintenance, including technical implementation, system administration and automating content integration with other systems. One part-time employee oversees digital signage in this department.
- The Campus Image Committee and the Executive Infrastructure and Planning Committee oversee all digital signage policies, procedures and standards.
“Our campus response has been very positive,” Tasker said. “At first we were worried that we would not have enough content being generated, but we soon found that the content was already available and just needed to be repurposed for the displays.”
Moving forward, UVU is hoping to use digital signage in its college of business for a finance lab that emulates the Wall Street experience. Only two other universities in the U.S. have these labs, which include video walls, RSS feeds, touch screens and a host of other digital signage hardware and software technologies.
About Utah Valley University
Utah Valley University (UVU), located in Orem, Utah, is Utah’s newest university, having obtained university status on July 1, 2008. From its start as a small technical college in 1941, UVU has grown to become the secondlargest public university in Utah with more than 26,000 students.
In addition to 58 bachelor’s degrees, 60 associate degrees and 21 certificate programs, UVU offers two master’s degrees in education and nursing. UVU is a teaching institution rooted in engaged, or experiential, learning. That focus, as well as a long-standing commitment to serving the community, was key criteria when UVU was recently awarded the “Community Engagement” classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Capta-Vision is dedicated to meeting your dynamic digital signage and out of home marketing needs. Our team delivers effective, measurable, high impact messages with dynamic digital signage, touch-screen technology, SMS mobile messaging, and interactive projection. We provide hardware, software and customized digital content for each of our deployments. Contact Capta-Vision today to move your message forward www.capta-vision.com.