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Transforming university on-campus communication and connectivity through digital signage


Universities often grapple with safety and security concerns, where effective communication can play a pivotal role in fostering an environment of comfort and safety. Digital signage can enhance the sense of safety and security through its communicative capabilities, whether it’s addressing a student’s apprehension about living away from home or addressing heightened community security concerns.

US-based Ivy League institution, Brown University, with nearly 12,000 students and hundreds of faculty members, wanted to enable department staff to share their news and events more easily across campus. 

 Communication challenges 

 Brown wanted a solution capable of adapting to the community’s changing technology preferences, meeting Brown’s security standards and aligning with the needs of the university, students, and faculty.

The outdated nature of certain solutions meant Brown’s technology capabilities fell short of its vision. For example, past solutions could not display mixed video and image content on screens and Brown was specifically looking for a solution that would allow mixed content. 

Following years of experimentation with other providers, Brown was still looking for an easier way for departments to share their news and events. The university partnered with ScreenCloud’s digital signage solution, which offered a communication and connectivity option that could effectively engage students, not just communicate with them.

Speed and strategy

Brown has now paired 111 screens in 52 spaces across its campus. These screens are now used for quickly and strategically disseminating safety alerts, event promotions, and more across campus.

Moreover, Brown University’s Open Curriculum encourages students to explore a range of subjects that interest them and Brown’s use of digital signage supports this mission by showcasing everything from student art to faculty research. 

Putting more features in the hands of staff

Compared with earlier signage systems at Brown, the ScreenCloud solution gives staff more autonomy over their signs. For example, they can pre-schedule their screen to switch to a different set of content for special events, a frequent need that previously required IT staff to work after hours to accomplish. Staff can also take advantage of ScreenCloud’s many apps, integrating with department RSS feeds, YouTube channels, and social media accounts.

Custom apps

Brown’s IT staff developed several custom apps to allow departments to leverage information from university systems. For example, an event app allows sign editors to input an event ID from the university events system to automatically create a slide with the event image and information, as well as a QR code sign viewers can scan to learn more about the event, allowing staff to promote events without spending time designing slides. 

Safety and security 

Brown’s use of digital signage enables the university to quickly send campus-wide messages. In instances of safety concerns or urgent alerts that require immediate awareness amongst students and staff, digital signage is an effective way to relay information promptly. Brown now has the capability for different playlists on different screens depending on their location, making such communication more feasible and less time-intensive for Brown’s IT department.

 A more informed community

Digital signage solutions are transforming the way communities stay informed and engaged. Through the use of internet-connected screens, Brown’s community can access information with ease and continually have reminders within their field of vision.

 The constant presence of digital signage serves as an invaluable resource, acting as a subtle yet effective nudge, reminding students and faculty about important events, and alerts, among other updates. ScreenCloud’s versatile capabilities enhance the flow of information and ensure Brown’s community stays well-informed.

 Personalised, relatable communication

Brown has escalated its implementation of digital signage. Pairing ScreenCloud’s software with a trusted hardware provider has allowed the university to double the number of on-campus screens in recent years. In doing this, Brown has reduced communication costs at Brown, using a cost-effective hardware option paired with ScreenCloud’s efficient software solution.

 Creativity and education

Brown has used digital signage to drive its creativity, connectivity, and education initiatives. Through playlists, Brown has facilitated the display of event promotions and more. The ability to blend media types when generating content for Brown’s digital signage screens has provided communications staff with opportunities to undertake innovative tasks.

“When someone comes to us with a new display for screens, we can help guide them and provide insight without too much effort. ScreenCloud is easy to understand and doesn’t require training for people to get on track with how to use it,” says Stephanie Obodda, User Experience Strategist in Higher Education IT at Brown, adding, “We’ve seen the use of digital signage explode across our campus, pairing ScreenCloud’s software with inexpensive hardware that we are familiar with, instead of being tied to expensive hardware that is costly and difficult to use.” 

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