By Arch Nelson, Sales Director, NanoLumens
It's impossible to escape the digital world today. From laptops to smartphones, the average American has multiple digital interactions daily. And for millennials, the generation that came of age during the internet era, communicating digitally is what they know. It's as natural to them as breathing. So, perhaps it's no surprise that college and university campuses are increasingly looking to incorporate digital displays into the college experience. University leaders recognize they need to speak the language of college-age students to attract them, and today's students are fluent in digital.
Digital signage increases revenue, cuts costs
Digital displays offer only value to higher education institutions. Probably the most attractive feature for university officials is the ability to generate an additional stream of revenue. LED displays are tailor-made for advertising. And, because they are flexible and easily programmed, one LED screen can display advertising from any number of sponsors, exponentially increasing the value of each digital display.
While digital displays can increase ad revenue, they cut costs on the other side of the balance sheet. Today's digital displays are environmentally sustainable and energy efficient, consuming very little power. And, they replace traditional paper messaging, cutting costs for labor, paper, and ink. Unlike conventional paper posters and messaging, digital signage can be changed at the touch of a button — all across campus.
Because messaging on digital signage can be altered, updated, or changed with a couple of keystrokes, they are ideal for safety and crisis communications on college campuses. Whenever a crisis or emergency on a college campus happens, it's immediate news and safety becomes a public conversation. Digital displays are an important tool in providing consistent, accurate emergency information and wayfinding across a college campus. And because content on all digital displays on a campus can be controlled from one, singular location, emergency evacuations can be synchronized and well orchestrated — and it can be done very, very quickly.
Attracting top students, faculty
How can a college really impress a top prospective student and his or her family? Trigger an LED display through a chip in the student's nametag, to light up with a personalized greeting as soon as the student and parents walk into the student center for an admissions tour. Colleges and universities are using LED displays in libraries and other buildings to attract the very best students and highest quality faculty. Digital displays communicate on-campus events and happenings and serve as educational tools for professors in the lecture halls, who use the displays to compliment their teachings.
Improving fan experience at sporting events
College sports venues are constantly upping their game, now rivaling many professional teams in terms of fan experience. For the top tier universities, football or basketball programs generate hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue a year. Universities are getting the same gigantic digital displays seen in pro arenas in order to create the same level of fan experience. From scoreboards to displays in the arena's VIP area, top colleges and universities are attempting to match the professional sporting experience, step by step.
All of the LED displays in a stadium or arena, from the giant scoreboard, to the LED ribbons lacing the outer rim of the stands and the concourses, to the VIP sections, are all major revenue generators. They not only provide information about the game, highlights and scores for other games, but they display multiple messages from a variety of advertisers. And, since college sporting events often attract big name advertisers like soft drink and car companies, the revenue from this advertising channel is often very, very lucrative.
College officials are also tricking out the teams' locker rooms and practice facilities with LED displays that can be used to review game footage, be turned into giant television screens for watching opposing teams, or as a monitor for playing video games – something loved by young, still teenage athletes. To get the best athletes, and therefore, field the best team, universities and colleges have to offer the most alluring experience. And, powerful alumnae who make sizeable donations to university athletic programs don't want to get outdone by their team's fiercest rival.
The technology with LED displays will only continue to advance. The ability for a university or college to tap into this technology is critical to continue to appeal to millennials and Generation Z, whose members have always had digital interactions as part of their lives.
Arch Nelson is a sales director at NanoLumens, bringing to life digital dreams through mass customized, scalable and patented curveable digital displays created for every size and purpose, indoors and out.