Named one of the “Best Northeastern Colleges” by the Princeton Review for six consecutive years, La Roche College in suburban Pittsburgh has taken pride in offering students a cutting-edge education and individualized attention combined with technology.
Carrying these student-focused technology initiatives forward, the private Catholic college of 1350 students wanted to enhance and centralize campus communications with digital signage. The renovation of its John J. Wright Library and updating of its technology made it an ideal time to consider the installation of campus signage.
When it came time to choose a system for the management of signage content, the college had specific objectives in mind. “Our goal was to use the system for communication with students, wayfinding information, emergency notifications, and central management of information flow,” said Terri Ballard, Director of Information Technology for La Roche College.
The college’s public relations, food service management, and athletics management departments would, at least initially, share the responsibility of uploading information and ensuring that content is accurate, fresh, timely, and interesting.
La Roche College ended up choosing 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 its ease of use. “This Black Box system also addressed our plan to centralize management of campus-wide dissemination of information,” Ballard said.
How it was installed
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 then normal. La Roche College staff installed the cabling and provided power and network connectivity to each display and to each ICOMPEL subscriber unit.
Specifically, 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 brand-new Providence World Café, an area where students can relax in a coffee house atmosphere while enjoying the library’s resources and watch 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.