At the University of Central Florida (UCF) digital signage in the redesigned and renovated Technology Commons buildings is being used in a variety of ways. The signs are providing students who are there to study, eat or just take a break between classes with information about the Technology Commons space, such as which workstations are open and what computer lab resources are available. The newly installed digital signage is run by Computer Services & Telecommunications (CS&T), the university’s central IT department.
UCF is the second largest university in the United States with a campus of over 1,400 acres and a student body of more than 58,000. The university is located just outside downtown Orlando and offers over 200 degree programs in everything from business administration and hospitality management to computer science and digital media.
In 2009, UCF began a complete redesign of the two buildings that had been serving as
traditional computer centers for its students.
“CC1, our original data center was built in 1968, located between the student union and library, with another facility (CC2) built in the 1980’s as an add-on space,” said Aaron Streimish, CS&T’s manager of the Project and Performance Management Office (PPMO). “CCI and CCII included administrative office space, and a traditional computer lab with 400 or so seats. But both had become run-down and no longer met our students’ needs.”
The new Technology Commons facility would include everything from a Technology Product Center and a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) lounge to collaboration rooms, a podcast recording studio, and an outdoor technology patio.
As part of the new facilities, UCF CS&T wanted to provide information from area and resource maps to lab availability and other news — the perfect job for digital signage. “Our goal in terms of the architecture and design was to create a new, cutting-edge space where students would want to be,” Streimish said. “That included creating a dynamic environment, and digital signage was a part of accomplishing that.”
The digital signage network included content management software from Four Winds Interactive (which UCF was already using in an existing campus-wide digital signage deployment), displays from
NEC and media players. UCF purchased the products through Dell and Ingram Micro, and Mediatech did the installation for the players and displays.
The construction phase for the Technology Commons buildings began in April 2011 and included power and network infrastructure for the digital signs. Installation didn’t begin until December of the same year and was completed just in time for the Tech Common’s official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on January 10, 2012.
Goals for the digital signage included a floor plan that would show available and occupied lab