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Jun 9, 2009 1:43 PM, By Dan Daley

Stetson University School of Business Administration students follow the market via an innovative digital signage system

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Digital Signage System Schematic

As pictured in this schematic, the digital signage system at Stetson University’s School of Business Administration is a complex system that ties together numerous sources that are all routed through a Kramer Electronics VP-724XL Proscale digital scaler/switcher and controlled by a Crestron Pro2 dual-bus control system. Click here to see a larger image.

It’s not just any audience either. Most of the eyes that will see the system’s content belong to the 18-to-24 college-age demographic—a group not known for long attention spans or toleration for less-than-slick production values. Ewing asked his media services group to design some of the system’s graphics, which are fed into the Scala InfoChannel Network Manager. A Scala ICD 3 Designer design station located across campus connects the Scala Network Manager to the digital signage system via IP.

“It’s got to be interesting, quick, and bold to capture this audience’s attention,” he says. “But it’s really the same for any digital signage situation: You have a very limited amount of time to get an entire message across, so you have to grab their attention fast.”

The affordable installation, which cost less than $100,000, broadcasts more than just financial data content and has numerous sources from which the system can draw content. Using Scala ICD 3 Designer software, content for the digital signage system is interspersed with text and video. The system is constantly refreshed for content including general campus announcements, upcoming events, calendars, information on course offerings, business faculty and administration profiles, emergency information if necessary, current date and weather, as well as streamed Wall Street news and stock-market information via a subscription from Rise Vision.

Sources include the Scala Player and Network Manager, a Denon DVD-2930CI progressive-scan DVD/CD player with HDMI output, and locally sourced HD cable, as well as a number of IP sources on several PCs, all routed through a Kramer Electronics VP-724XL Proscale digital scaler/switcher and controlled by a Crestron Pro2 dual-bus control system. Sources are automatically switched using Crestron’s RoomView software at the server. RoomView is programmed to turn the system on at 9 a.m. and off at 7 p.m. each day.

Muscle and finesse

Finding and creating compelling content may be hard, but as Ewing makes clear, installing a multipoint display system into an existing structure was complicated, to say the least. Among the challenges: locating existing conduit and trying to figure out which pathways would get them from the main tech closets on the first floor to the IT closet on the second floor where the Scala DSP was located, and then to the various display locations.

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