The First Academy Drives Campus-Wide Digital Signage with Tightrope
The First Academy (TFA)—a worship-centered college preparatory school in Orlando, Florida—has deployed a Carousel digital signage network from Tightrope Media Systems to keep its 1,200-plus student body informed and inspired.
Designed for scalability, security and ease of use, Carousel lets users fill displays with a montage of video, pictures, text, tickers, social posts, weather graphics and more. TFA regularly updates Carousel-driven information on eight 55-to-65-inch digital displays strategically located across its large campus. Each display is divided into zones dedicated to the different school divisions, including: the Upper School (high school), Middle School and Lower School (K-6), athletics facility, media center, library, theater and school store.
“Our goal was to engage students with timely, captivating content that would keep them informed about important school events while still celebrating the achievements of our students and teachers,” said Matt Eggert, M.S., director of technology and innovation for The First Academy. “We also wanted our signage system to be easy to use and update on the fly, with displays reinforcing our school brand identity. Carousel does everything we need as part of its automated workflow.”
The First Academy is committed to using state-of-the-art technology, including iPads, computers and digital media systems like Carousel to support and enhance the academic experience. In the case of Carousel, each school division can easily create unique content, which is automatically delivered to a zone on their display. While the Upper, Middle and Lower schools see information focused on their school experience, items that pertain to all TFA students, like school store sales or the weather, are pushed to all the displays at once.
Eggert notes, “The network quickly scaled after the Upper School went live with the initial Carousel media players,” inspiring a call to Tightrope’s Professional Services team to bring more creative and dynamic design elements to the network. The web-based Carousel server, which operates on the school’s existing local area network, supports up to 300 players should the campus choose to further expand, and as Eggert points out, “it’s a cinch to connect new players to Carousel’s virtualized backbone.”
“It didn’t take long before others across the campus wanted their own displays, so we expanded the system to support other departments very quickly,” said Eggert. “However, while Carousel has a wide array of built-in design tools, we turned to Tightrope’s professional design team to help design our templates. Over a conference call with Tightrope’s design team, we discussed how to apply our website’s look, colors and fonts to our Carousel displays, which Tightrope considered in the creation of our custom templates.”
The Carousel network expansion has opened new opportunities to drive content from different personnel. Teachers now regularly email photos to their displays’ administrator for posting, and Carousel automatically converts them to the file formats and resolutions needed by the system. Video clips can be programmed to run continuously in a loop, or simply run as a special bulletin at the top of the hour. Additionally, visits from college recruiters, college deadlines and messages from the guidance department are just some of the important announcements made on Carousel, reinforcing the power of a campus-wide digital signage network.