A decade ago, the amount of effort, expense and expertise required to successfully operate a digital signage screen at school was beyond the scope of small educational facilities. Digital signage for education is now one of the most growing markets in the signage world.
So, what would one need to successfully install, manage and broadcast to a Digital Sign in a small educational institute?
I will divide the needs into phases. First would be the hardware setup. Second would be the software and content management setup, last would be the ongoing content building and digital signage management.
Hardware and prerequisites:
- A screen. It can be a simple 19″ to 65″ and more. It can be a smart screen; it can be a touch screen. To be honest, anything you can buy in 250 – 400$ at any electronic store – will do.
- The screen has to be located at a high-visibility area (cafeteria, break area, gym hall, main corridor, etc.)
- The screen must be properly and professionally mounted!
- A Digital Signage Player must be attached to the screen, This is very simple, and no need for specific network/IT knowledge. Here is an example. The player can be Windows, Android or Chrome OS based.
- Connect the player to the network. It can be a wired connection or Wi-Fi.
Digital Signage software and CMS:
- Find the right CMS (Content Management System) for your needs. The CMS must be simple, as you probably would like nonprofessional staff to manage the content, possibly even the pupils/students themselves. Make sure there are online training materials for the for the Digital Signage CMS.
- Install the player software on the player. Usually, the digital signage player software comes from the same digital signage software provider as the CMS. Most signage software can be easily downloaded and installed from the market or from the provider’s website.
- The initial setup requires to “connect” between the CMS and the signage player. Usually, it is a simple as copy & paste some kind of a key/identifier.
Ongoing Content build and management:
- Most modern Digital Signage CMS platforms allow uploading a readymade content or building it by yourself. As mentioned, a proper CMS is one that allows the school kids to build and manage content themselves. A widget based CMS is always an advantage. Ready made templates can also be very effective, especially if the school is using the same messaging, with changing and dynamic content – for example, menu at the cafeteria.
- Recently, digital signage software provides additional rich capabilities, such as interaction with Smartphones (games, polls), social media capabilities, like sharing Instagram feeds, Twitter, Facebook and so on. These ‘live’ feeds of content can upgrade the digital signage experience. Please note the social networks are highly dynamic and the school management must implement a filtering mechanism to avoid abusive or offending content.
That should be all. It becomes simpler and richer – go for it!