Homeless outreach using digital signage for Thanksgiving service

Nov. 19, 2012

A Dallas-based nonprofit organization is using Rise Vision's free digital signage platform as part of its efforts to help the city's poor and homeless, according to an announcement from Rise Vision.

Networked flatscreen monitors installed in Our Calling's cafe keep the men, women and children who use the ministry's outreach services informed about things like meal times, food distribution points and weather conditions.

"We use the system, in part, to offer convenience information such as the weather and social updates for customers in retail businesses, but for the homeless men, women and children who come to see us, it can be life-changing," said Our Calling Pastor and Executive Director Wayne Walker. "Getting updates on freezing weather conditions or locations where food will be distributed is not about convenience, it is about saving lives."

Our Calling also uses the system to run news and sports, and the ministry is fine-tuning plans to integrate real-time information from a database, including notifications of where people stand on wait lists for using the shower and laundry facilities, according to the announcement.

Walker says his group has to make feeding and clothing the poor the top priority, so finding a technology solution that fit Our Calling's budget was tough.

"Most cheap technology solutions cost more in headaches and maintenance than they are worth. Once we found Rise Vision, we were very skeptical. However, our skepticism quickly dissolved when it worked. I don't have any other words to say than it works and it works very well," Walker said. "It is very powerful, flexible and easy to use. Someone donated an old Dell laptop to us and I installed the 'player' and it has run flawlessly ever since."

Our Calling expects 1,000 people this week for a Thanksgiving meal, and the digital signage screens will be a key component in communicating to both the guests and a team of more than 500 volunteers.

"This is such a heartwarming story," said Rise Vision CEO Byron Darlison, "and it perfectly shows how a free solution doesn't necessarily mean a compromised solution."

Rise Vision's completely free, enterprise-grade digital signage platform is a full, robust platform that remains free to users no matter the number of licenses or complexity of the set-up, the company said.

According to Darlison, his 20-year-old company, based in Toronto, can offer an enterprise (or business class) platform at no charge based on profits from a sister company doing pro AV integration, and near-term plans to offer optional premium plug-ins such as analytics to Rise Vision users.

Read more about digital signage software.

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