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In almost every aspect of life today, technology innovations are changing the way people communicate. Nowhere is that more evident than on college and university campuses where bulletin boards, fliers, and public announcement systems have long given way to texting, video, and social media.
According to Rajiv Shenoy, CEO of OrcaTV, the key to commu- nicating on campus is dynamic content delivered at a place and in a way that appeals to students. That’s what Shenoy’s media technology company, OrcaTV, is all about—working on behalf of U.S. colleges and universities from New Hampshire to California to bring the best of today’s technology to enhance student life on campus.
The Philadelphia-based media firm designs and delivers Campus Life Feeds to colleges and universities, helping take the complexity out of engaging students on campus while creating a fun and easy platform for students to engage with each other. Combining university-approved social media with user-created rich videos and media, the OrcaTV team works closely with administrators to design a feed specific to each university, and circulates it across a variety of media, including digital signage networks, cable TV, and the Web.
For its digital signage network, OrcaTV turned to Hughes MediaSignageTM, a robust digital signage platform that provides a dynamic, scalable, and reliable infrastructure for delivering messages to internal and external target audiences.
Part of the suite of HughesON Digital MediaTM Solutions, Hughes MediaSignage enables OrcaTV to employ a series of on-campus screens and players populated with video, text, and graphics, customized to specific locations where students congregate, such as dining halls, residence halls, gyms, and student union buildings.
Broccoli and Cake
Shenoy, who conceived the idea when he was a student at Johns Hopkins Univer- sity, likes to explain the OrcaTV concept through a broccoli and cake analogy.
“It helps to think of administrative-level content as broccoli and student-conceived videos as cake,” said Shenoy. “In the early days of digital signage on campus, screens were typically populated with endless slides of administrative content—what we call broccoli—necessary, but not very compelling. At the same time, students were creating cool and innovative videos— what we call cake—that grabbed the atten- tion of students. When we starting putting this ‘cake’ on the screens, students were quickly engaged and started to ‘eat more broccoli’ as well.”
The OrcaTV team works with the campus community to identify compelling content, pulling in social media that is approved by the university and designing the content in a way that appeals to students. After it is curated, the approved content is circulated across multiple technologies, including digital signage, cable TV, and university Web sites.
Because every second counts in an emergency, the Campus Life Feed has a built-in program that instantly broadcasts an alert over every screen campus-wide when there is an emergency or problem. The key here is that students are already trained to look at the screens for up-to- the-minute information. The MediaS- ignage alert system is also integrated with the university’s texting solution, so that emergency notifications sent out via text message are immediately displayed on the digital screens as well.
“University campuses are brimming with student creativity and voices eager to be heard,” said Tony Bardo, assistant vice president of the Hughes Government Solu- tions Group. “OrcaTV’s Campus Life Feed with Hughes MediaSignage is a powerful way to tap into that creativity and enable students to connect with each other.”
“An important part of what we do is to help administrators create more engaging ‘broccoli’ to tie into the student culture of today and help students to make their voices heard,” added Shenoy.
“At the end of the day our main goal is to improve the quality of student life on campus, and leveraging Hughes MediaSignage is an important tool that helps to achieve that.”
Indeed, the Orca Campus Life Feed with Hughes MediaSignage is a perfect example of how to foster a sense of community and a positive student life experience through innovative technology.