If you take a look around a college campus today, you’d be hard-pressed to find a student walking around without a smartphone, tablet, or some wearable device. With students being more tech-savvy than ever before, higher education has no choice but to interact with their audience in a more modern, technological manner. The days of disseminating information via traditional methods are going the way of the dinosaur, and universities that want to attract potential students must adapt or lose tuition dollars to more technology-driven campuses. Innovative colleges and universities are embracing digital signage as a dynamic way to get essential and time-sensitive, critical information in the hands of students, visitors, faculty, and other university employees. Not only does digital signage give universities a modern, attention-grabbing way to communicate with their audience, but staff members and administrators can manage the communications networks for a more efficient method of distribution.
Spreading safety messages and emergency announcements.
In 2017, we saw how natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey and the California wildfires created panic among those in their wake. For college campuses, the ability to quickly and efficiently alert students in the event of a campus emergency is paramount.
Digital signage offers strategically placed signs that can give detailed information to users on where to take cover, the severity of the situation, and other life-saving information. Even more, these systems often integrate with the organization’s additional mass messaging platforms like SMS and email notifications to help further disseminate information to on-campus students and facilities.
Improve wayfinding for new students and visitors.
Navigating your way across large campuses, especially those like Berry College in Georgia that sprawls over 27,000 acres, can be quite a nightmare for new and prospective students, campus visitors, and emergency personnel. For example, the University of Oregon’s Campus GIS and Mapping Program uses digital signage to showcase interactive maps that highlight helpful information like current construction projects, the fastest available routes, and the location of the nearest restroom.
Digital signage replaces the antiquated method of printing static campus maps that can easily be out-of-date within a matter of months. By moving the wayfinding from a piece of paper to a digital screen, users can search for their destination with the touch of a screen and in some cases push that information to a smartphone or wearable navigation app for even better user experiences.
Better promote campus activities and academic deadlines.
College isn’t just about the classroom. For many students, the activities that happen outside of the classroom are much more interesting than Dr. Brown’s Econ 301 class. From sporting events to art exhibits, Rush Week to lecture series, colleges have no shortage of extracurricular activities taking place both on and off-campus. Digital signage not only gives the organizations responsible for promoting these events the opportunity to get event information out to students but also helps the university cut down on the brightly colored event flyers that litter the resident halls and classroom floors. But digital signage isn’t limited to “social” events. Administration departments can leverage signage to help students meet deadlines for registration, tuition payments, class cancellation, and exam periods.
Campuses across the US are finding creative ways to leverage technology in digital signage to better engage with students and faculty. While many haven’t gone “all in,” we expect to see more adoption over the next few years as students demand a high-tech environment that supports their tech-savvy ways.