Georgia Tech is a university of roughly 33,000 students in the heart of downtown Atlanta, with students, faculty, staff, and countless visitors from all over the U.S attracted to the college’s nationally renowned sports teams and curriculum. On such a large campus, information is key to keeping the university connected and serving its stakeholders with efficiency. The university had long recognized that digital signage played a critical role in fulfilling those requirements; however, the college’s existing solutions needed to evolve to meet the demands of the present.
In December 2018, the university reached a communications crossroads with its digital signage. Officials wanted consistent, campus-wide branding, paired with a method to allow individual departments within the university to contribute their content in an intuitive way. A new digital signage department was created and tasked with managing and implementing a campus-wide system. Following a thorough vendor vetting process, 22Miles emerged as the right solution provider to handle the project. As a technology leader, 22Miles’ approach was to cement a collaborative partnership with the university’s technology departments, leveraging a team of 30+ developers for a tailored solution built specifically for Georgia Tech’s unique needs.
Most of the campus’ signs are general-purpose lobby signs, spread out in buildings all over campus, with more than 70 of those signs dedicated to displaying room schedules and building events. The university’s on-campus digital signage department communicated that the goal of the project was to generate value, outcomes, and experiences in addition to securing, informing, and inspiring their campus audience. 22Miles equipped the university with a platform built for the future by pairing their responsive software with BrightSign display solutions supplied by Georgia Tech.
22Miles partnered with hardware and display provider BrightSign for the installation of more than 325 digital signs. Built to provide ease-of-use and accessibility, the 22Miles/BrightSign solution for Georgia Tech was designed to empower users with a simple content management system to manage hundreds of signs across its dynamic campus, taking the challenge out of programming and installing signage and allowing users to focus on the overarching goals of the institution. Georgia Tech’s digital signage implementation team is pleased with the straightforward system, the intuitive software that makes future signage changes seamless, and the simple application.
22Miles’ Publisher Pro solution installed across the 325 signs enables Georgia Tech’s digital signage team to be self-sufficient in managing their full portfolio of digital signage displays across the sprawling campus. Team members can easily leverage the robust selection of widgets and editing properties within Publisher Pro, with the added ease of the quick web editor and web portal. The powerful cross-platform solution gives Georgia Tech instant access to a suite of digital applications that can accomplish any innovative display imaginable.
Individual displays are accessible across all of the campus departments. Team members can quickly add and edit curated information, including RSS feeds for on-campus events, emergency feeds for alerts and safety information, data lists for class schedules, and more. Each campus department utilizes its respective section, with the team reporting virtually no learning curve, even for more specific acts like scheduling media for news and updating dining services menus. The integrated channel feature makes it simple to quickly use any of the branded main templates, while also having the ability to push different content to specific players.
With easy-to-access, standardized templates across all signs, departments can push centralized, customized content out to any sign. The university’s digital signage team has now trained over 60 individual departments to use 22Miles’ Publisher Pro software. The 22Miles/BrightSign solution is used all over campus, with users in various departments across schools reporting how simple it is to use. Once they learned what they could do, many of them stated it became a kind of “freedom” for them.
As the campus needs change due to the COVID-19 pandemic and future needs, interactive 3D wayfinding can further enhance the student and visitor experience, with 22Miles’ latest Protection-as-a-Solution™ (PaaS) solution, which includes features such as “Touchless Touch” to support touch-free navigation and display control. The new solution enables users to leverage voice commands to navigate to their destinations on campus, find information, and more. The university will also leverage the solution’s strong API integration capabilities, making it easy for the university to integrate any third- party feed automation. Georgia Tech’s digital signage department’s limitless digital options transform its displays into a one-of-a-kind system that sets the standard other universities can aspire to.
“We set out to give them (Georgia Tech) the right solution for instant communication with approved branding and self-generated messaging through a campus-wide channel,” added 22Miles EVP Tomer Mann. “This platform can empower university departments to integrate other apps and future technologies into Publisher Pro’s centralized user-centric platform. We will continue to work with them to support whatever technology needs they have moving forward.”
Georgia Tech’s full array of digital signage is drawing closer to being completely rolled out. There are more than 325 digital devices active on Georgia Tech’s campus to date, with more than 250 left to get up and running during the initial phase of implementation. With the disruption and uncertainty stemming from COVID-19, the project has been pushed back, but campus officials expect to resume soon with the Fall 2020 semester around the corner.
University officials view the progress to date as only the beginning, as they continue to complete the full plan for the university’s digital signage overhaul. The 22Miles solution affords the university the agility to present a comprehensive digital media technology that both fulfills its current requirements and anticipates the road ahead.