CONTACT: Spencer Graham, WVU Information Stations (Manager of Operations)
WVU makes campus info stations come alive
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—It takes 9 seconds to display emergency messages across West Virginia University’s campus-wide info screens.
The key is training the campus community to take a look. Making the content move is one way to do that.
That task just got easier with a new software system in place by Monday (Jan. 10) for WVU’s Information Stations in time for the first day of class. The X2O Media’s Xpresenter software will rely on more use of video, rotating pictures and other colorful images to replace spots that used to have more static screens.
“We are constantly looking for ways to make their heads turn to the digital signage,” said Spencer Graham, the system’s operations manager at WVU.
The Mountainlair screens have already been switched to the new system and its new look while the remaining screens around campus are set for an upgrade in the next few weeks.
Where the background on a page may have been solid blue before the software switch, the page now has live video with moving text. Rotating announcements, a falling snow overlay for the weather page, and book pages that turn for library announcements are all some of the changes WVU staff have been able to create to make the presentation more attractive and more eye-catching.
The Information Stations team, housed in University Relations/Video, will be adding more features to enhance student engagement within the new software, such as an interactive game students can participate in.
With the system in place, Graham says, the only limit on new features is the staff’s imagination. Adding pages that turned to the library’s portion of the content was something the staff launched over morning coffee.
The system has grown to span more than 70 screens at the Evansdale, downtown and Health Sciences campuses as well as One Waterfront Place. It is also available on 4,500 residence-hall room televisions through cable Channel 7. In 2010, the University placed digital signs in residence and dining hall common areas to catch students and employees where they congregate.
“X2O is going to allow us to leverage video much more regularly and in a very stunning way,” Graham said.
The idea is that if the screens become a normal part of students’ and employees’ lives, then they’ll more quickly notice an emergency or weather alert on the screens.
Within minutes after word spread of the student deaths at Virginia Tech more than three years ago, WVU began growing the system, which now extends throughout WVU’s Morgantown campuses and is poised to reach beyond the city.
Each screen scrolls through about 15 minutes of content that includes news from University Relations, the Health Sciences Center’s Health Minute, and a video news program from the P. I. Reed School of Journalism’s broadcast students.
The information on each screen is often tailored to the screen’s location such as a college or the Mountainlair. A few screens in the student union are focused on activities hosted by student organizations.
X2O provides software for major companies, such as Air Canada, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Okla., and Lockheed Martin.
Future plans include expanding the system to the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center in Charleston and Potomac State College in Keyser. More screens are to be installed this year inside the Creative Arts Center to showcase College of Creative Arts programs. The X2O system also makes it possible for the University to make the information available on computers and smartphones.
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