The digital signage upgrade that didn’t break the bank

Open-source software and existing devices form the backbone of one district’s big signage upgrade

Ed. note: Author Wayne Fulton will be a panelist on DSF’s May “Hangout” discussion, “How to Leverage Signage in a K-12 Setting,” on Wednesday, May 11 at 2 p.m. EST, available free to members and nonmembers. For more information, visit the DSF website.

It all began with our front desk receptionist, Cloteele.

When visitors historically entered the central lobby of the Manor Independent School District in Texas, they were warmly greeted by Cloteele. Whether they were there for a meeting with the superintendent, a professional development session, or new employee orientation making sure visitors know where to go has always been one of Cloteele’s many responsibilities.

But there are times when traffic volume to the central office is high, and visitors had to stand around waiting to ask questions or find out where they were supposed to be. Directing visitors personally adds a friendly touch, but it isn’t always the most efficient when people are in a hurry. Cloteele needed help.

When we thought about it, what we needed was a way to display a list of all events, training sessions, and meetings taking place that day with their respective room numbers—preferably on a large flatscreen, centrally placed.

The central office began brainstorming solutions, but they all seemed cumbersome and difficult to manage. So we began looking for an enterprise-level digital signage solution that would be easy to deploy and manage at a cost that could be considered “education-friendly.”

With that in mind, we took a serious look at alternatives and found an entirely cloud-based solution that didn’t require any additional physical or virtual servers in our data center. The system we chose, Rise Vision, is also non-proprietary, so the appliance software runs on almost any Windows, Linux, and Android device connected to any display, which allowed us to use our existing equipment. But the biggest advantage we found was the cost. It was cloud-based and completely free for anyone to use.

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