North Central State College

A Digital Signage Case Study

Finding the Best Way

as written by Keith Stoner, Director of Marketing and Creative Services at North Central State College

North Central State College, Mansfield, OhioWe are a dual campus shared by North Central State College, and a satellite of The Ohio State University.

After exploring options for electronic signage on campus, we were coming to the realization that it just wouldn't work in our environment. The products available were too complex, too hard to use, and much more expensive than we could afford.

And then we found Retriever.

It was a fraction of the cost of the others we explored. It used traditional ethernet wiring through our existing network. It was easy to learn and use. And it did not require any special access through our network firewalls.

Today, our Retriever system operates in twelve buildings on 24 screens. We have organized our grid of users and screens vertically by buildings and horizontally by departments and other users.

digital sign at college admissionsThe Retriever in each building operates as a separate unit, so it can be programmed with a screen for just that building. At the same time, our Campus Activities Board can publish a message into each building. Our users can change signage at any time for anywhere.

Our I.T. Departments also love Retriever! Many of the other systems needed a proprietary network to operate, while others needed to "push" content through our internet connection. One was costly, the other problematic to internet security. The Retriever operates differently. Each Retriever goes to an outside server and retrieves new content every ten minutes. Post a message across town, it will post in ten minutes.

All you need to change content on any Retriever is a computer with internet access. Any user can change them from an office, from home, I've even changed them from the airport.

Anyplace you can logon, you can play with your Retriever. It's been a productive, cost-effective solution to our electronic signage needs.

Keith Stoner worked for advertising agencies in Florida and Ohio before starting his own design company in 1987. In addition, he owned two commercial printing companies. In 2002, North Central State College, a long-time customer offered him the opportunity to join them and develop an in-house agency to provide creative services for the institution. Keith has a B.F.A. from the Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, Florida.

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