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New displays close communication gap

Friday, September 14, 2007  
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By Guest Writer

Jennifer Chambers

Information Technology Services has begun another innovative project on Oklahoma Christian University’s campus. The project includes installing two 40-inch interactive displays located in the Garvey Center across from the box office, and in the student center near the student life reception desk.

“The digital signage project was created to help communicate information to the campus students, faculty, staff and campus visitors,” Chief Technology Officer of IT Services John Hermes said.

Bob Lashley, the director for the events center, was the initiator of the project.

“The concept of digital signage was growing at conventions I had attended and John Hermes and I decided to put the project in motion at Oklahoma Christian,” Lashley said.

Funded through the University Campus Improvement Fund, the first two displays will be interactive, allowing anyone to access information at the touch of a button.

“My role was to provide technical consultation, and I will help identify and integrate future services into the interactive screens,” Hermes said.

Developed by Nexus Media, Inc., the interactive displays will, in the future, be tailored to each department’s news and activities.

“Right now the content on each screen is the same, however, in the future the screens will be driven by location or department,” Hermes said.

The screens in the Garvey center could provide information on chapel and theatre events while the student center could provide updates on club or student life events.

Eventually, the screens will be integrated with audio, video and ticker capabilities. The uses of this technology are virtually limitless.

“The interactive displays will be able to communicate campus news, campus calendar, campus directory, campus map, cable news stations, campus event schedules and more,” Hermes said.

The interactive displays will be open to advertising, both within and outside campus organizations. Clubs and organizations will be able to get the word out about upcoming events.

“It will be nice because it is centrally controlled so that each department can individually control their department screens,” Spencer Goad, a north institute intern and junior at Oklahoma Christian, said. “It can also be tailored for different events.”

One of the most important aspects of the interactive screens is its ability to transmit news in an urgent situation.

“One of the big things that will be communicated is weather updates or emergency alerts—anything that needs to be relayed quickly,” Hermes said.

Not only will the displays communicate social events and direct news, but it will also allow prospective students to view the campus before they have taken the tour.

“As our university grows, prospective students will be able to interact with the screens and see what we have to offer,” junior Sarah Lester said. “I think that if it will benefit the university in the end; it will be well worth it.”

In the future, the interactive displays will be installed in more areas, such as the athletic building and individual departments.

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