Engaging and interacting with a new generation of students

Doug Bannister, Founder & CTO
January 28, 2015
videowall at Rotman School of Management - University of Toronto

Engaging and interacting with a generation of students raised surrounded by media is driving significant change amongst schools, colleges and universities. Students today expect and prefer digital communications, and as a result digital signage has become a cost-effective tool for schools to utilize. Dynamic digital signage is enabling schools to improve communications ranging from emergency notifications to wayfinding to events and employee communications.

Digital communications in education can:

  • Help schools to cost effectively communicate in real-time with students, staff and visitors
  • Improve school safety by connecting with emergency notification and alarm systems
  • Enhance student, faculty, employee, and visitor experience by creating an engaging and interactive environment
  • Help schools create an environment that is easy to navigate through the use of interactive wayfinding and digital signs
  • Tie into existing systems such as maintenance, inventory and other  administrative systems to provide accurate real-time information to staff and students
  • Be used for a number of applications including digital menu boards, donor walls, emergency notifications, staff/student/visitor communications, and interactive wayfinding

An excellent example of a university who is using visual communications and devices like digital signage to communicate with their staff, students, and visitors is the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. The Rotman School of Management is the #1 business school in Canada according to the Financial Times, ranked #1 in the world for intellectual capital by Bloomberg Businessweek, and consistently places in the global top 10 for faculty and research. It has over 1100 Canadian and international students participating in its MBA programs annually and over 2,000 people (staff, professors, students, and guests) in and out of the schools two primary buildings on any given day. The school hosts over 100 events a year in its event spaces including book launches, panels, and speaker series on a wide range of topics.

The Rotman School of Management recently doubled in size, expanding into a second building in 2012 with a $93 million dollar expansion. Prior to the construction their digital signage was comprised of 6 screens. With the expansion Rotman wanted to provide effective navigation in the campus buildings and also keep visitors informed of what was happening that day. They also wanted to update the technology in their original building as part of the project. Special consideration also needed to be given to the location of the signage, housing of the players and running of cables due to limited server room space and other infrastructure such as utilities and elevators.

The Rotman School of Management has received overwhelming support for their signage solution. It has helped the school improve building navigation and the communication of relevant information and events to building visitors. "The new digital signage around the school gives us a voice in the physical space and allows us to deliver relevant messaging at the time it’s needed the most,” said Eugene Grichko, Brand Experience and Engagement Specialist with the Marketing Team at Rotman.

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