How to Sell Digital Signage to Colleges

By MG Digital Media — August 16, 2012

The John Marshall Law School (JMLS), located in Chicago, Ill, boasts a robust academic program for JD students. The school offers graduate degrees ranging from Masters of Science to Juris Doctor, in all major areas of law both domestically and internationally. The school had a growing need for students and staff to have immediate access to useful information such as faculty information, events, seminars, and other school and community happenings. Circulating up-to-date info to the entire student body and staff was difficult, especially as event details changed and new pieces of time-sensitive information came up. To achieve this goal, the school decided it needed to adopt a digital signage program that placed screens throughout campus to disseminate information.

“We struggled with finding a method to keep the student and faculty bodies informed and better connected. Especially as the school and our programs grow, we needed to find a way to communicate dynamically,” says Jim Velco, CTO of the John Marshall Law School.

The initial digital signage implementation was very successful; however, John Marshall wanted to provide even more value to students and staff. They sought out an interactive, touch screen kiosk system that would allow instant access to updated information with a multi-touch interface. This would enable students and staff to use the digital signage network more effectively, without having to wait for messages and content to cycle through a predetermined loop on the existing screens.

“We realized that there was an opportunity to leverage this signage system in a way that engaged students and staff members, both current and prospective, as well as all guests to the campus,” Velco says. “There is so much we can do with the system in terms of using it as a modern communication tool. We were only scratching the surface, and needed a partner to help us how to take it to the next level.”

The Right Touch
The John Marshall Law School contracted with MG Digital Media, an interactive touch screen applications developer, to design and build an intuitive, interactive touch screen application based on the Flypaper content creation platform. By using Flypaper, the school would be able to easily update and edit content almost instantly for the interactive touch screens located on the campus, without needing to send the project out to a professional developer. Flypaper also supported the multi-touch functionality that was so important to Velco and his team.

“The multi-touch capability was a huge draw for us, along with interactivity,” Velco says. “We knew that to make the most out of this implementation, this feature was going to be paramount. MG Digital and Flypaper realized our vision of a great interactive digital signage system that is intuitive and engaging. They were able to bring that vision to life.”

 MG Digital worked with Velco and his team to create a complete, turnkey platform that enabled real time database feeds and updates of info through a web service called MGD InterLink that supported this goal. The hardware selected for the signage system is by NEC and Tech Global came in as the systems integrator. With these partners, MG Digital used the Flypaper content creation platform to build a kiosk-based touch screen solution with back end database functionality.

Benefits and key functionalities of the new signage system for the John Marshall Law School include:

  • Ability to easily tie real time data feeds to an interactive, user-driven signage system.
  • Extreme flexibility and ease of use means not having to hire developers to create or change content on the fly. Having access to built-in components, pre-made templates, and having the ability to customize components was a key benefit.
  • All existing, static content was converted into Flypaper, and MG Digital was able to make it more dynamic.
  • Patrons use the multi-touch functionality on the kiosk to flip through events, staff info, news, and local media. All of this data is fed through the custom-built, InterLink web service and customized Flypaper components.
  • Chicago Transit Authority bus and train schedules and locations are delivered in real time.
  • Students and staff can scan their ID cards by the screen. This allows the school to collect data and send requested event or directory information to the cardholders’ e-mail address.
  • People can search for staff and faculty by name, department, building, or office location.
The John Marshall Law School has been using the system successfully since September 2011. John Marshall is currently building a new entrance to the law school, which will include two more interactive displays that will be a critical part of the entrance. They will encourage interactivity.

“The interactive touch screen application for our digital signage system that MG Digital built using Flypaper is an incredible foundation for a robust signage program throughout the school,” Velco explains. “The possibilities for what we can do with this system are now endless. We’re very excited to find new uses that will be easy and fast to implement, thanks to the ground work these two companies have completed. We couldn’t be happier.”

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