Digital signage use expands across campus
A new digital signage initiative aims to bring UNL information — including maps and calendars — directly to specialized touchscreens within campus buildings.
The touchscreens have already been installed in nine campus buildings, with more going online soon, said Nate Morris, desktop solution supervisor with Information Technology Services.
The digital screens offer students and visitors to campus a chance to look at building maps, staff directories and campus maps. Many signs also include a calendar of upcoming events.
“It’s a convenient and handy way to keep people informed of what’s going on and help them navigate the campus,” Morris said.
While digital signage isn’t a new thing to UNL, the software that makes the interactive screens possible is, Morris said.
Based on success in with the signs in Athletics, a digital management system created by Four Winds Interactive was purchased by UNL in May. Campus units that assisted with the purchase include Athletics, Biological Systems Engineering, Campus Recreation, CBA, Education and Human Sciences, Computer Science and Engineering, Food Science and Technology, the Nebraska Unions, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, Natural Resources, Southeast Research and Extension Center, University Communications, Computer and Phone Shop, and University Police.
“Purchasing this software was a grassroots kind of effort,” Morris said.
The Four Winds software allows departments to display information to students, faculty, staff and campus visitors in a cost-efficient, centrally managed way, Morris said. The software is also flexible enough to allow individual departments to control information made available.
CBA was one of the first buildings on campus to have screens installed in August, said David Hartline, information technology manager for CBA. The screens are located at CBA entrances and display a variety of information, including a three-dimensional map of the building and a list of events.
“When classes first started, they were a great way for new students to find their classrooms or the advising office,” Hartline said. “Every time I walk by I see them in use.”
When it comes to emergency messaging, the interactive screens are a huge benefit, Morris said. When a UNL Alert is issued, the message overrides all other information on the digital signage.
“Hopefully all students are signed up for the texts and emails, but if they are walking through a building the signs are very noticeable with the alert and will grab their attention,” Morris said.
Digital signage is currently available in CBA, the Campus Rec Center, Bob Devaney Sports Center, Haymarket Park, Barkley Center, Henzlik Hall, Home Economics Building, Hardin Hall and the Education Abroad Office in Love Library.
Morris said future locations include the Computer and Phone Shop, Andersen Hall, Nebraska Unions, Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center, Glenn Korff School of Music and University Housing.
Departments interested in participating in the Four Winds digital signage software initiative can learn more at http://its.unl.edu/desktop/digital-signage or contact Nate Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org.