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Veteran's Affairs

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Availability of interactive applications and high-throughput connectivity means that for example, a flatscreen monitor in a public lobby can display community information and promotional content, while touchscreens throughout a campus provide access to a Live Help Desk or Ask the Expert capabilities. For organizations with multiple locations or large, campus-like facilities, digital signage can be configured by building as well as by room or location within a building.

For all of these reasons, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has deployed a latest generation Hughes Digital Signage solution featuring 250 monitors/players at 11 hospitals located in Biloxi, MS, Salt Lake City, UT, Wichita, KS, Northport, NY, Palo Alto, CA, New Orleans, LA, Nashville, TN, Louisville, KY, Dallas, TX, and Poplar Bluff, MO. They also included 100 sites at its Law Enforcement Training Center in Little Rock, AR.

“Digital Signage allows us to immediately send out information that would normally have taken a few days to trickle down,” said Michael Hill-Jackson, Deputy Public Affairs Officer for the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. “We span 10 counties; that’s a really large geographic area between clinics within our health care system. With Digital Signage, I’m able to reach all those sites instantly.”

For the VA, Hughes provides a fully managed turnkey solution, including end-to-end system design, installation, training, operations, help desk, and onsite maintenance. The VA is leveraging the benefits and value of Hughes Digital Signage systems by integrating it into the heart of their communication strategies, interfacing the systems with other communication channels to provide ongoing, up-to-date, and timely information. With Digital Signage, the VA has also been able to replace the use of posters, pamphlets, and notices, previously posted throughout lobbies and public areas with a far more professional means for communicating information, while complying with the Federal Government’s mandate to reduce paper clutter.

Customized Displays and Content

Screens are typically segmented into zones which feature video or information from distinct sources (channels). As depicted, there is a primary zone (Zone 1) for video and rich media content, and a side banner (Zone 2) which often relates to enterprise-related information and activities. In addition, a lower area (Zone 3) provides a text crawl across the bottom of the screen, for RSS feeds on news, weather and financial markets. The organization’s logo may appear in one of the zones, be incorporated into a fourth zone, or overlaid as a watermark. For the VA, the logo typically appears at the top of Zone 1.

With an easy-to-use interface, the on-screen display can be scheduled to convert to other templates for new content in the most appropriate manner. For instance, Zone 1 may expand to full screen to display real-time video feeds featuring critical organization programs or breaking news stories. Full screen displays may also feature graphic or text messages on enterprise information or activities. Content may be scheduled by day, time of day, frequency, run duration, content owner and audience— establishing the best time of day to display specific content for unique viewing locations and targeted audiences. For example, content in the VA hospital break-rooms or canteens may be tailored for morning workers versus overnight staff.

A valuable feature of the Hughes solution is Wayfinding, which provides location and map capabilities at a facility or campus with a “You Are Here” starting point, including a listing of all departments operating within the facility. The system is flexible and can be updated using a simple Web-based user interface. In addition to Wayfinding, the Hughes Digital Bulletin Board is a next-generation communication system for medical center communications, which helps to keep staff and visitors up-to-date on the latest policies, events and other essential information.

“It’s been a tremendous help to have another way to reach our veterans and get a quick message out. Plus, there’s something about a visual system or cue that makes a stronger impression,” Hill-Jackson said. “I’ve even had people follow up with me and mention they saw one of our announcements.”

Digital Signage Solutions to Meet a Variety of Needs

At the VA Law Enforcement Training Center (LETC), Hughes has provided an end-to-end media signage network. The LETC solution is used for student and staff messaging, classroom signs, and general campus-wide notifications. More than 3,000 law enforcement professionals train at LETC each year. Providing a consistent, professional experience to each group as they pass through is key for the VA LETC, delivering consistent messaging to digital signs placed throughout the campus from a single location. Displays are also ideal for emergency situations and system-wide alerts on any level; local, regional, national, or global. Such life-safety messaging is a particularly critical application for Federally-owned and operated facilities.

The Hughes Digital Signage solution enables the VA to address extensive communications needs at its various medical facilities across the country, and ensure that what is communicated is tailored effectively to meet the unique needs of employees, patients and visitors alike.