In what ways have you been able to exploit your existing digital signage network beyond the original business objectives to provide greater benefit than originally promised?
At the University of Illinois, our approach to digital signage has been to develop the offering as a campus-level IT service and provide it to departments at a highly discounted rate. In 2008, our unit became involved with the construction of two new campus buildings. Each had significant digital signage installations, but to that point, we had not yet ventured beyond installation into the software needed to manage these networks. Other departments soon began requesting digital signage installations as well, and with this growing demand, it was clear that we would not just have to find a solution but a solution that would address the many needs of a very large and diverse campus.
The business objectives of the service are far-reaching. The role of service is not primarily to deploy digital signage, but to support the campus units that have deployed these business cases. This strategy has lowered barriers to adoption such as cost and complexity, leaving the departments to focus on content and to potentially deploy more signage than they would have otherwise.
The decision was made initially to consider scalable possibilities for future growth rather than limit possible expansion by defining the network by only the specific business cases that were present at the time. This was no minor feat as project justification was required early in the development process. For example, adoption of a platform that would later support the development of interactive content and integrate with the campus’ Active Directory were important to anticipate, but would have been beyond the scope of the initial projects.
Our approach, then and now, provides a great deal of room for growth and innovation in the deployment of digital signage on our campus, which has in fact grown to more than 300 digital signs, all currently using our digital signage services.