The iCOMPEL signage application
The application begins with a single iCOMPEL publisher appliance in the college's server room, where it's stored safely in a climate-controlled area. The publisher distributes content over the school's Ethernet network (a 1-Gigabit backbone that will be upgraded soon to 10-Gigabit Ethernet) to 14 iCOMPEL subscriber units. which pull new content and instructions from the iCOMPEL publisher unit on a regular basis. These slim and compact subscribers are VESA-mounted behind the individual HD displays. One iCOMPEL subscriber is Wi-Fi enabled as a backup to the wired Ethernet connection in case the primary link goes down.
Some digital signs are located in the lobbies of the residence halls, the Alfond Athletics Center, and the college's administrative/ classroom building. The rest are connected to screens in student commons, which includes the dining center and the college's brand-new Dog Pound café.
With the new system, bandwidth issues are no longer a problem, Rhoda says. "The transfer of content happens just once instead of a continual stream of data," he explains. One big benefit of iCOMPEL is that it doesn't require a lot of network bandwidth. It operates as a store-and-forward device, so it won't compromise other applications running on the network.
"We also like the flexibility," Rhoda says. On the old ThomasTV system, the college was limited to displaying the exact same information on each channel, no matter where it was delivered. Now, the college can customize content for the intended audience. The IT Services Department goes in and builds an iCOMPEL channel, and various staff members add their content, whether it's the head librarian, the directors of student affairs and student life, the dining center director, the dean of admissions, or others. "Different people can be in charge of different parts of the screen," Rhoda explains.
A whole range of content is displayed. This includes information promoting student events; library-related information shown on the screen above the library's service desk; information welcoming students and parents to campus; weather forecasts; and rotating daily lunch menus on a screen in the dining center.
What's more, the iCOMPEL system also supports "ad hoc" content updates remotely at the screen. This way, staff can instantly add messaging or customize their screen's content for a specific student audience, overriding content fed from the publisher.
Some screens are set up to show content 24/7 while others only run when the building is open. Every sign on campus is either wall mounted or ceiling mounted and set up to show content in a landscape orientation.