Challenges Facing a Digital Signage Network in Higher Education (DSE 2014 Handout)

Digital Signage Expo

February 12, 2014

The Sands Expo

Las Vegas, Nevada

Challenges Facing a Digital Signage Network in Higher Education


Protecting the Brand

  • What do you consider “appropriate content” for your public campus?
  • Venue specific based upon demographics of the site
  • Student generated content with administrative approval?
  • Who makes the judgments to protect the brand?
  • Enforce the branding elements at all costs!
    • Logos
    • Trademarks
    • Official graphics
    • Design Guidelines
    • NCAA Constitution Operating Manual & Administrative By-Laws
      • NCAA Division I Manual (Oct. 2013-2014)
      • Section  Prospective Student-Athlete’s Visit
      • “Activities During Official Visit”
      • “No arranged misc. or personalized recruiting aids (video or audio)”
      • Includes special additions to any location prospective student athlete will visit  Activities During Official Visit. 

An institution may not arrange miscellaneous, personalized recruiting aids (e.g., personalized jerseys, personalized audio/video scoreboard presentations) and may not permit a prospective student-athlete to engage in any game-day simulations (e.g., running onto the field with the team during pregame introductions) during an official visit. Personalized recruiting aids include any decorative items and special additions to any location the prospective student-athlete will visit (e.g., hotel room, locker room, coach’s office, conference room, arena) regardless of whether the items include the prospective student-athlete’s name or picture.  (Adopted:  8/5/04, Revised: 5/14/05)

  Centralizing Network Authority

  • Who has the authority for network decisions?
  • Who should have the authority?
  • Control of hardware & software purchases
  • Negotiating better pricing for hardware and software
  • Continuity of content and message
  • Dovetail with total institutional message across all campus media

Editorial Control of Content

  • Who will maintain editorial control of all content?
    • Administrators
    • Your network team
    • The campus client
    • The advertiser (if you permit advertising)
    • What is the definition of “appropriate content”?

 Advertising Options

  • Yes or No ?
  • Are you forced to off-set network operating costs?
  • Revenue Generation vs. Budget Cuts
  • How much advertising will be allotted to total loop of information?
  • Will you allow full-page advertising?
  • What percentage of a content page will be allotted to advertising?
  • Will the school maintain editorial control?
  • Who decides the definition of “appropriate content” for your campuses?
  • What existing contracts are in-place that might limit certain advertising options?
    • Will you allow external logos?
    • Institutional Trademark & Licensing issues?
  • Does your content management system support proof-of-play reporting?
    • How often will ads play each hour and each day?
    • Who will be “the advertising salesperson”?
    • Who will handle the invoicing and collection process?
    • Will it force you to support a sales force layer of administration?
    • What will your charge for advertising “real estate” on your pages?
      • What demographics are you targeting for advertising?
      • Students
      • Faculty
      • Staff
      • Campus visitors
      • What fee will you charge for each ad?
      • What is the going rate per play for local advertising options?
        • Newspapers
        • Radio
        • Television
        • Websites
        • Social media outlets
        • Outdoor Billboards
          • Analog (paper)
          • Digital

Emergency Messaging

  • 24/7/365 ???
  • Fix “dark & busted” monitors yesterday
  • Assume a personal liability attorney is attached to EVERY monitor
  • Warranty on Monitors
    • Consumer Grade  30-90 days
    • Commercial Grade  3-4 years
    • Mean Time To Failure
    • Duty Cycle
    • Back-Up Monitor(s)
    • Who “pushes the button” for an emergency?
      • Office of The President
      • Campus Police
      • News & Information Department
      • Is your emergency messaging coordinated across all media?
      • “All Clear” follow-up message issued post-emergency
      • Quarterly Testing for all involved in responding to campus emergencies
        • Confirmation emergency message has been broadcast to network team
        • End of Test follow-up message
        • Call-down List during real emergencies and during tests (all media)
        • 24/7
        • Table Top Exercise is a great way get everyone to understand the dynamic of emergencies that involve many campus responders
        • Audible tone and message announcement during an emergency event or test

  Americans with Disabilities Act

  • Dimensions for wall mounts
  • Placement
  • Hallways
  • Monitors:  Horizontal vs. Vertical  (54″ to center line for touch interactive deployments)
  • Dimensions for touch-screen buttons on monitors
  • Dimensions for wayfinding
  • Audio
  • Closed captioning

  Budgets in Uncertain Times

  • How is your network funded?
    • Central administration funding?
    • State funding?
    • Client funds their portion of the network?
  • What is your annual budget for the network?
  • What proportion of any funding are you responsible to provide?
  • Are you factoring in eventual replacement costs for future budgets?
    • Mean time to failure (MTF) approximately 5-7 years on commercial monitors
    • Computers might last 3 years
    • Equipment power supplies (Have some spares on hand!)
    • Keep a spare monitor and computer on hand if you have an Emergency Messaging feature.  Assume a “dark and busted” deployment has a personal injury attorney attached to it if someone gets hurt during a crisis and you didn’t have that monitor in working order!


Spencer W. Graham II MBA DSCE

Manager of Operations, WVU Information Stations

West Virginia University

As a Digital Signage Certified Expert (and digital signage evangelist), Spencer Graham has been integral to the creation of a very large, high-tech digital signage network at West Virginia University that spans four campuses with more than 100 digital signs, four video walls, wayfinding deployments and a 24/7/365 emergency alert feature in addition to standard WVU messaging and marketing on the WVU Information Stations network.


About swgraham2

Mountain Mists is an opportunity to develop some thought processes individually as I journey through this wonderful world; as someone who values highly effective management techniques and the art of leading teams; and through my association with West Virginia University as a professional technologist and network manager specializing in digital signage.
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