Direction Helps Bournemouth Council Cut Communication Costs with New Digital SignageNetwork Powered by Scala
Bournemouth is the south coast’s premier resort and the largest town in Dorset, England. It is a regional center for business, and the town is the home of the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC), one of the primary venues for conferences, exhibitions, entertainment and events in southern England.
Bournemouth’s seven miles of golden sands and sparkling sea have made it a popular tourist destination, making tourism crucial to the local economy. Tourism in Bournemouth generates hundreds of millions of British pounds a year and employs thousands of workers. In recent years business tourism alone contributed around £125 million per year, through delegates and business visitors attending venues such as the BIC and exhibitions in the town.
The local authority, Bournemouth Borough Council, is committed to making local people and visitors to the town aware of its services, activities and events. These activities and events can be either indoor or outdoor and can either have a business or leisure nature. The Council manages dozens of diverse locations within the Borough, including the communication stream toward its staff at these locations, ranging from the Town Hall to outlying depots, libraries and tourist offices. Coordinating the communication toward these venues was a particular challenge for the Borough Council. As Jayne Young, Bournemouth Borough Council’s Internal Communications Officer, said, “Keeping staff informed across a wide diversity of departments and buildings is a major problem for any large organisation, and the Council is no exception.”
Direction Marketing & Communications, a Scala Certified Partner and Bournemouth’s supplier of world-class digital signage systems and content, was selected to install the new internal communications network and to provide content following competitive tendering.
The Scala digital signage offering proved to be flexible and easy to use. Combined with Direction’s creative approach and local support, it was a winning solution. The Scala-based network — called INfo Channel — is currently deployed in the Town Hall and other buildings.
The network comprises a central server running Scala 5 Content Manager with Scala Players driving three 50-inch screens in the Town Hall Reception (public-facing), the staff Terrace Café and the Southcote Road depot used by the Council’s waste collection teams (both staff-facing). An additional 10 24-inch staff-facing screens have been deployed throughout the Town Hall complex.
“The Bournemouth Council project clearly shows the great versatility and user friendliness of the Scala software. The quality of the Scala software and the unique qualities and service level of Direction are a great combination. The council will surely benefit from their network by distributing up to date information fast and at a low cost.”
– Damon Crowhurst, Director Business Development & Services for EMEA, Scala
Cost Reduction and Up-to-Date Information
“Our new INfo Channel network allows us to improve, extend and significantly enhance internal staff communications, and it reduces revenue costs into the bargain,” Young said.
For the Council, operational cost control is paramount. All screens power down outside normal working hours. The Content Manager software is installed on a virtual server as part of the Council IT department’s program of reducing hardware costs. The media players are low-voltage units, all contributing to minimal running costs.
Designed to improve communications at a time of significant internal change, the screens are used to keep staff informed of Council activities, such as the Go Green at Work initiative, Leader’s blogs, internal services available to staff and Council news as it happens. To speed content creation, Scala Designer — the fastest, most cost-effective tool for creating truly dynamic digital signage content — is installed on the internal communications team’s PCs. Using any Internet-enabled computer, the team can schedule and distribute content to the players using Content Manager. The net result will be an increasing reduction in paper-based posters, memos and newsletters with continuously improving communication to staff who do not have access to the Council’s internal intranet or e-mail.
It was important that the network hit the ground running. Direction provided the internal team with customized content and templates plus the ability to stream Council, local and national news sources together with local weather information to all screens. Staff training at Direction’s Bournemouth digital signage suite backed this up. And to ensure the network continues to perform, Direction’s support is just around the corner from the Town Hall.
Founded in 1989, Direction Marketing & Communications has established a distinctive reputation for honesty and integrity much appreciated by its UK-wide client base. The agency is unique in offering world-class 3D animation and illustration in addition to a complete portfolio of marketing communications services; it added Scala digital signage to its portfolio in 2007. More information is available at www.direction123.com.
“The project evolved from a straightforward server-based installation into a complex groundbreaking operation, as it was the first time in the UK that Scala Content Manager was installed into a Virtual Server network. The high security levels of the Council made the challenge even greater. By talking to Scala’s UK technical director and involving Scala’s global expertise, the Council’s IT department and Direction were able to find a stage by stage solution to making the system operate successfully, whilst providing the Council with the high level of security they require.”
– Robin Seccombe, Managing Director, Direction Marketing & Communications