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ONELAN digital signage powers University of Sheffield network

SHEFFIELD, England — At Sheffield University a brand new, futuristic building born out of completely ‘fresh thinking’ concerning learning resources for the 21st century student, and aptly named the Information Commons (IC), was opened inApril 2007. The ongoing objective is to ensure the student facilities in the IC remain at the leading edge of student study, comfort and well-being. The IC has quickly become one of the most popular areas on campus with over 1,300 study spaces, 500 fully networked PCs and a library with over 100,000 volumes of reference and short loan books including the most popular and heavily used undergraduate texts.

Special consideration

The internal signage to the building was obviously a crucial element of the design and the brief was to have a means of delivering a media-rich building and general information point to everyone using the building through digital signage. This was even more important as the decision was made not to have any traditional signage in place until after the building had been open for some time.

However, the IC is spread over six floors so communication required special consideration. A/V Manager Ian Knowles from the University of Sheffield reviewed the range of potential solutions and selected a digital signage (DS) installation that targets all users of the building – staff, student or visitor – equally, with relevant information for all. Flash animation is used to create dynamic, eye catching displays.

Multi-channel content

When selecting a system, Knowles established that the digital signage would need to display multiple channels of content with both local and remote control capability. It was also clear that a need for local browser-based text updates existed, and that this function would be actioned by authorized users and terminals within the six IC levels. In addition, all the new AV equipment needed to successfully network with existing infrastructure and previous installations. The system chosen comprised 18 Century NTB units from specialist U.K. digital signage manufacturer, ONELAN, combined with 18 Samsung LCD monitors to provide a network of remote and locally controlled display sources.

The installation was completed in three working days and all the digital displays were showing content shortly after. The project has given the Information Commons a unique method of communicating with its users.

digital signage powers University of Sheffield network