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Rolls-Royce Cellular-based Signage Network
Digital Message Centers
Rolls-Royce's cellular-based signs spread news and information to employees at its manufacturing facilities across Indianapolis.
November 1, 2007
By Amy Florence Fischbach
CHALLENGE: Improve corporate communications with employees, many of whom do not have easy access to e-mail or the company Intranet, in manufacturing facilities that spread across several sites.
SOLUTION: An out-of-the box, all-in-one digital signage system that uses cellular-broadband technology.
FOR MORE THAN A YEAR, ROLLS-ROYCE Corp. researched products to replace the aging AV infrastructure at its manufacturing facilities in Indianapolis. The company, which designs, develops, and manufactures gas turbines and advanced propulsion systems, wanted a way to link two, 1-million-square-foot manufacturing facilities and three satellite offices, which had not previously been networked into the dated system.
Plans to replace the 22 antiquated CRT monitors were nearly shelved due to cost, but a new digital signage platform from MediaTile, a Scotts Valley, Calif.–based provider of cellular-based digital signage systems, caught the company's attention. MediaTile's Digital-Sign-in-a-Box system integrates a high-definition LCD display, media player, network access, and a Web-based control system. Cellular-broadband technology allows Rolls-Royce to mount the LCD displays anywhere — as long as there's an electrical outlet and a broadband signal.
In April 2007, Rolls-Royce installed 30, 32-inch HD LCD screens in the break areas, cafeterias, lobbies, and other high-traffic locations to deliver key messages to its 4,300 employees.
By opting for this cellular-based, plug-and-play technology rather than a traditional, hard-wired solution, Rolls-Royce avoided making an investment in additional IT infrastructure and software and saved months on the deployment.
The cellular-broadband technology also ended up at one-third of the cost of a traditional hardwired installation, which would have cost about $500,000 to $600,000, says Chuck Gose, internal communications manager for Rolls-Royce. If the company went with a hard-wired solution, it would have had to run the software on the PCs and run Cat5 cable to each of the monitors to create a network. Wi-Fi was also not a viable option because the machines and metal in the manufacturing plant would interfere with the signal, says Keith Kelsen, CEO of MediaTile.
In a traditional deployment, the IT department would have been heavily involved in the design of the network and installation of the signage. The MediaTile system, however, didn't require additional software, hardware, networking, configuration, or testing, which minimized the resources required from the IT department.