Carousel’s software simplifies content delivery and device control on Apple TV devices
A prestigious Australian private school has deployed Carousel Cloud digital signage software to greatly improve the user experience and streamline costs for campus-wide communications. The deployment includes integration with an existing network of Apple TV devices, taking advantage of Carousel Digital Signage’s industry-first innovation of converting Apple TVs into digital signage players.
Walford Anglican School for Girls, located in Adelaide, South Australia, welcomes boarding, international and day students from Early Learning (age 4) to Year 12. The school relies on a campus-wide digital signage network to communicate engaging news and events for students and faculty. The network comprises 20 displays found in entrances for all four of its academic programs. Carousel content includes calendar items, local weather, and a newsfeed with updates and photos from recent events.
Walford operates on an all-Mac computing ecosystem, and had been using a Windows-based digital signage system that they found difficult to configure, manage, and update. “We had many Apple TVs around the school, and wanted to leverage those over purchasing separate digital signage players for each display. That was how we came across Carousel.”
Carousel Digital Signage software simplifies content delivery and device control on Apple TV devices, and is made possible via an integration partnership with Jamf, a comprehensive enterprise management that helps IT departments bring the Apple experience to business, education and government organizations. Walford IT operations manager Kyle Heading had previously integrated Jamf to better manage the school’s iPads, Macs and Apple TVs.
Walford has since deployed Carousel to some of its Apple TV devices via Jamf, leveraging Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP). “We configure them as digital signage players, and once complete they are instantly functional as part of the Carousel Cloud network,” said Kyle. “We can very easily add new players to the network with a Carousel app. It is very user-friendly.”
Walford faculty members are encouraged to provide photos and news articles to the marketing department for distribution, but the Carousel software automatically pulls content from the school’s calendar, including upcoming events, photos, and data from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology. Most content is targeted, with each educational program receiving content specific to their activities. General-purpose content is distributed to main reception desks.
The Carousel user interface includes several panels for content selection. For example, a general panel at the top includes Walford thematic content, the school logo and basic information. Elsewhere, the right-side panel pulls information from the main school calendar.
“The Carousel user interface is very easy to use,” said Kyle. “We can quickly get clarity on upcoming events, which we find particularly useful. As parents come in and ask ‘What’s on today?’ or, ‘What’s on this week?’ the Carousel network provides them with a quick reminder. Since the system automatically updates, that information is already there for them. We hardly have to do any work.”
Walford can also easily import video content that wasn’t created specifically for the digital signage network. “It’s really easy just to pick them up and drag and drop them into the Carousel system to display in various different points throughout the school.”
Carousel Cloud suits Walford’s needs in various ways beyond the user experience. The biggest impact has been the cost-savings achieved by not requiring standalone digital signage players. Kyle estimates that they saved about $5,000 (AU) by using their 20 existing Apple TV devices. Additionally, they save on licensing fees and the cost of dedicated servers for an on-premise system, which would also add to management overhead costs.
Walford anticipates an expansion of the Carousel network as new screens locations are added, and older projection systems are upgraded to flat-panel displays. He emphasizes that the success of the network to date confirms the value of digital signage as a highly effective tool for internal communications and promotion in education.
“People nowadays just want information at their fingertips,” he said. “Digital signage offers a very effective and dynamic way to present that information, and Carousel Cloud has proven to be the right choice for our environment.”
About The Author
Tim Albright is the founder of AVNation and is the driving force behind the AVNation network. He carries the InfoComm CTS, a B.S. from Greenville College and is pursuing an M.S. in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. When not steering the AVNation ship, Tim has spent his career designing systems for churches both large and small, Fortune 500 companies, and education facilities.