Since 2014, The City of Greater Sudbury has been executing a coordinated digital signage strategy that has resulted in acceptance and continued growth of their digital signage across multiple City venues. This strategy is quickly becoming a reference model for Municipalities of all sizes across North America who share an interest in deploying digital signage to all interest groups within a municipality.
The City of Greater Sudbury, located four hours north of Toronto Ontario, has a land area 5 times the size of Toronto but a population of approximately 1/16th the size.1 This is significant in that the team responsible for management of the digital signage networks is providing support across a wider geographic area and with a smaller team than many other municipalities. Within the City, digital signage player hardware and servers are supported and maintained by the Hardware & Technology department, which is comprised of 6 frontline support staff and 8 other team members to support all PCs, desktops, and servers.
The City’s first digital signage deployment was in 2011. This effort attempted to provide a way for the communications team to keep staff at major outlying locations up to date on important employee messaging. The original system chosen required the use of proprietary media player hardware and offered a low level of vendor support, which caused frustrations and was not going to work for this busy team if they wanted to be able to expand the use of digital signage.
In 2014, The City converted the existing signage platform to Capital Networks’ Audience™ platform. Audience™ was chosen for its flexibility in configuration, ability to use non-proprietary hardware, and availability of 24/7 technical support. Capital Networks consulted with the Hardware & Technology team to determine the Audience™ playback solution that would be the right fit for the type of communications the City was currently doing with considerations for future growth. Together they decided on a Capital Networks Certified Audience™ for Android solution.
By 2015, the Hardware & Technology team had determined they were more than satisfied with the performance of Audience™ and the support received from Capital Networks. At that time, use of the system was expanded to include public indoor pool facilities and recreation centers for public facing communications. After this effort went smoothly, Scott Boulet – Senior Support Technician, who oversaw the deployment, knew he had implemented a winning solution and felt confident to open up digital signage as part of a communications strategy to all City departments. Over 2016 and into 2017 digital signage use within the City expanded to over 45 locations to date including:
- City employee communications
- Pools & recreation centers
- Fire & Ambulance depots (with common layout to allow for shared emergency communications)
- Arenas (to display city information as well as local specific information regarding change room assignments, updated throughout the day)
- Public transit depot (including schedule information so travelers know when to expect their next bus to depart)
- Sudbury Airport
In addition to each department and building being able to manage their own specific content through a browser based interface, each screen includes higher priority playlists and an automated Twitter feed to allow for fast communications across all city services at the same time when needed.
When a new department or City group expresses interest in adding Digital Signage to their facility, the Hardware and Technology group connects them with their Capital Networks Account Manager to review their unique scope of work and design requirements. Each group receives the same pre-sales consultation that a new client would receive – to ensure that once again the correct hardware and playback configurations are selected. Capital Networks then works with the new department to create a screen layout and design that not only meets their immediate needs, but would fit in with all the other City layouts to ensure the greatest flexibility and opportunity for shared content when needed. Once implemented, the Hardware & Technology team sets up user accounts and grants access permissions as they require.
“From the personal pre-sales consultation that each of our departments receive, to the highly scalable nature of their Audience™ platform, working with Capital Networks has been instrumental in the success of our digital signage deployments as we continue to expand across the city.”
– Jim Dolson, Manager of Hardware & Technology
This collaborative on-boarding strategy for new departments highlights Capital Networks commitment to share its expertise in digital signage technology, and also demonstrates its understanding of the customers challenges and commitment to providing a solution that is flexible, scalable, and easy to use.
For the City of Greater Sudbury, they are confident that their digital signage strategy is delivering on its operational promises and is backed by a team of experts who are eager to help and provide ongoing guidance and support.
1 Extrapolated from Statistic Canada 2011 and 2016 Census Data