The digital signage upgrade that didn’t break the bank

At Manor ISD, we’re always pretty mindful of expenditures. We searched our warehouse for devices we already owned that could be used as appliances to connect to the displays and run the digital signage software, and found some old Dell Latitude netbooks that had been taken out of commission. The technology team then installed a lightweight Linux Distro, along with the software.

From there we turned to our Facilities and Maintenance department, which helped wall mount the displays and install electrical outlets where necessary. We also made the decision to install Ethernet drops at teach display in an effort to avoid oversaturating our existing wireless network with the demands of a 24/7 digital signage network.

Once we had the digital signage network up and running in our central administration building—following a smoothly-run pilot—our campus principals started to take notice. They saw first-hand how powerful the displays were as a communication tool and began to ask how they could get a digital signage network going on their campuses as well. They understood the benefit of being able to communicate instantaneously not only with staff and students, but also with parents and visitors as well.

It was clear that digital signage solutions were needed district-wide and our solution of choice could scale to accommodate our new needs. We started out with a single display in each of the campus front offices with a designated staff member responsible for managing their particular campus’ signage. After a brief training period—and before I knew it—they were coming up with some really creative signage ideas. Soon, lunch menus, announcements, local weather, school Twitter feeds, student art, and more were popping up all over our district’s digital signage network.

Our signage network is now in its fourth year and it continues to expand. Some of our campuses have expanded their networks to include signage in hallways and cafeterias. We’ve also replaced the old netbook appliances with Raspberry Pi’s and Chrome boxes for even less power consumption and easier management.

Currently, we are in the process of opening three additional campuses in the next two years and digital signage will certainly be a part of those campuses to provide effective communication and stimulating engagement district wide.

Overall the response was overwhelmingly positive from all stakeholders, students, staff, and parents. The decision to implement digital signage has been instrumental in assisting us as we strive toward our district’s goal to “implement effective communication strategies throughout the District.”

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