Mvix, a leader in affordable digital signage solutions, sat down with Campus Safety Magazine to discuss the effectiveness of digital signage as an emergency communication tool for K-12 and higher education campuses.

​​​​Campus Safety, a leading publication with an online and print presence, covers the latest in campus safety and security. The publication carries thought-leadership articles, reports, and blogs on topics such as active shooter, emergency preparedness, mental health and underage drinking. These make Campus Safety a destination hub for school administrators and law enforcement agencies looking for ways to leverage technology to increase safety for students, faculty and staff. The publication serves campus police chiefs, security directors, IT personnel, emergency managers and executive administrators.

In the interview, Mike Kilian, DSCE and Mvix’s Director of Business Development, discussed the need for an effective emergency notification system. School threats have gone up by 158% so administrators need a superior emergency alert system in place. Mike explained why digital signage is the perfect tool and how it is superior over other methods of mass notification like texts/emails, sirens, intercoms, social media, etc.

While digital signage can be used as a stand-alone emergency response tool, it is most effective when incorporated with several technologies. This way, the strengths of one can compensate for the weaknesses of others. A combination of digital signage, audio systems, and email/text ensures maximum reach and maximum impact.

Mike Kilian, DSCE, Director of Business Development

According to Mike, today's students are very receptive to digital technologies, and this makes digital signage the ideal vehicle for emergency communication. The technology addresses the visual component of mass communication, and students will naturally look at the screens for information.  

He also addressed how the technology makes the management of emergency preparedness and communication efficient. Unlike sirens or intercoms, digital signage does not need to be monitored in real time. Alerts and safety instructions can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the digital signage software. They can then be activated and displayed when the emergency occurs. This “set it and forget it” nature of digital signage saves time and frees up personnel to respond to an emergency.

In the interview, Mike provided tips to campus safety officials to guarantee information on digital signage screens gets to the entire campus in case of an emergency:

From the interview:

While digital signage can be used as a stand-alone emergency response tool, it is most effective when  incorporated with several technologies. This way, the strengths of one can compensate for the weaknesses of others. A combination of digital signage, audio systems, and email/text ensures maximum reach and maximum impact.

The interoperability of the digital signage network is also important. In most campuses, the acquisition of digital signage tends to be done on a departmental level and not campus-wide. So it is not uncommon for different departments within the campus to have digital signage systems from different vendors. These systems need to be interoperable and “talk” to each other in order to accept a campus-wide emergency alert.

A thorough plan of action should be determined beforehand. Having a library of messages is the start. These should be reviewed regularly to make sure they are still relevant and accurate. In addition to determining what messages should be used and when, administrators should also define who will be in charge of the messaging. When is the decision made to deploy the message? Once these decisions have been made, a clear protocol should be drawn up and distributed to all appropriate personnel. If a thorough plan of action is determined beforehand, it is less likely people will panic during the actual emergency.

Campus administrators should also get in the habit of using the digital signage displays regularly so students, staff and faculty see the value of them. People will get in the habit of looking at these screens to get useful information, so in the event of an emergency they’ll naturally look at the digital signs for information on what to do.

Mike also described an ideal emergency communication platform, and discussed the versatility of digital signage, and how it plays into the ROI and ROO.

Mvix has carved a place for itself in the digital signage industry. They are revolutionizing the digital signage space by offering a subscription-free yet powerful cloud-based digital signage software. This keeps costs low and frees up dollars to be spent on a content strategy, network management, etc., which are just as important to the success of a digital signage project as the technology.

To read the full interview, visit www.CampusSafetyMagazine.com.