La Roche College chose Black Box’s iCOMPEL, an integrated hardware/software platform loaded
with features often found only on higher-priced systems. Ballard cited several reasons for choosing
Black Box‘s solution.
“We found Black Box pricing was very competitive,” she said. “Of equal importance was that Black Box
provided all of the features we were looking for.” These features included iCOMPEL support for the
central management of content, the ability to override content for emergency notifications and
ease of use.
“This Black Box system also addressed our plan to centralize management of campus-wide
dissemination of information,” Ballard said.
The first phase of the project began in Fall 2010. Black Box handled the site survey, system design and installation of the iCOMPEL units, the displays and their mounts. Because the installation coincided with the ongoing renovation of the library when the walls were just frames, wiring and mounting screens was an easier task than normal. La Roche College staff installed the cabling and provided power and network connectivity to each display and to each iCOMPEL subscriber unit.
The installation included:
- Two 40” NEC screens in the campus center, including one at the entrance to the dining hall, as well as two iCOMPEL players to provide multimedia signals to the displays.
- Two 40” NEC commercial LCD screens mounted in the fitness center, with one screen at the entrance to the college’s athletic department. Content is distributed to these screens through an iCOMPEL subscriber unit mounted on the wall behind one of the LCDs.
- An iCOMPEL subscriber unit to feed content to a large 46” NEC sign on a wall at the entrance to the library. This wall separates the library from the college’s new Providence World Café, an area where students can relax in a coffee house atmosphere while enjoying the library’s resources and watching scrolling news on the digital screen.
All subscriber players receive VGA signals over network cabling from an iCOMPEL HD Digital Signage Appliance (ICOMP-VID) located in a central data closet. This appliance acts as a server for content streamed to the players.
La Roche College staff simply log on to the iCOMPEL system to access and upload videos, images, and other signage content. The players regularly ping the publisher appliance for any changes and update the screens as needed. Public relations is responsible for the general content of screens not managed by food service and athletics.
“This list is expected to grow as more signs are added to the system,” Ballard explained. “This offers a great deal of flexibility in terms of timeliness. College academic deadlines, sports scores, weather cancellations and other up-to-the-minute news items can be uploaded and relayed quickly throughout the campus.”