Curtin Uni’s social media command centre Likes a video wall.
Text:/ Christopher Holder
Marketing has come a long way since the days of the Mad Men, when an idea over a long boozy lunch could change the fortunes of a Fortune 500 company in one easy catch phrase.
Digital has changed everything.
To be ‘on the pulse’ of a company’s marketing position you need to be on top of at least a dozen ‘vital signs’. What are people saying about you on social media? Is your YouTube push going viral? How’s our microsite faring? Do we really need to get onto Snapchat?
For example, if a multinational like Volkswagen drops a thermonuclear bombshell like, oh I don’t know, that it’s falsified the emissions readings on thousands of its vehicles, then marketers need to have an accurate picture of the impact the news is having on its brand.
Curtin University’s Marketing School is very aware of the world for which it’s preparing its graduates. And being able to read the digital tea leaves and filter the noise to understand how to best protect a client’s brand or recover from a PR disaster is essential.
‘The Agency’ — as the department’s social media command centre has been christened — is the marketing school’s glamorous showpiece. And the jewel in the crown is the 3×3 video wall.
WHEN SOCIAL COMMS CALLING
The Agency is so called because it emulates the look and working environment of a real-life marketing communications agency.
Much like many marcomms agencies, Curtin Uni is running Radian6, a digital marketing software platform. Radian6 provides a window into over 650 million sources from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, news and more, to hear what’s being said about a brand. The Radian6 dashboard provides the overview and allows you to zoom in and out of the data and make your own queries.
Curtin’s big idea was to truly leverage Radian6 as a teaching tool, making it a central focus for students as they study current marketing hits and misses. But to provide a central focus would require a mighty display , a display that could be used to show the Radian6 web portal, as well as the standard suite of Curtin Uni software tools; and for the display to be touch enabled to allow the teacher to work within those software platforms without losing the focus of the class for a minute.
CHW Consulting was engaged to design the video wall. The brief was for a display solution which could accommodate either a single image across all displays or a unique feed to each display. The video wall would also need to integrate with existing teaching and learning tools used by the university and mandated for all teaching spaces.
IN TOUCH WITH THE TECH
The 3×3 video wall comprises NEC commercial displays. Importantly, the bottom three screens are touch-enabled. The trick was to select a screen that could accommodate 3M touchscreen film. Initially CHW attempted to find three touchscreen displays that shared the same size and construction as the six other (non-touch) screens. This proved difficult, hence the use of the film.
As per Curtin University’s guidelines, all source switching and distribution is via Extron XTP/DTP systems with control and room metrics handled by the AMX NI series processor and X series touch panel.
LIKES & SHARES
The Agency is a vibrant, exciting place to be, and a compelling forum in which to soak up knowledge. School of Marketing Associate Professor Sonia Dickinson agrees: “The moment they enter this space students are excited to learn. The space has a real wow factor and underscores our position as a real leader in this field. It represents our commitment to transforming learning, and not just the physical spaces but looking at transforming students’ willingness to learn and engage, using technology, and the benefits of doing so.”
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first social media command centre in an Australian university, demonstrating Curtin’s commitment to bridging between academia and industry through hands-on collaborative methods.
CHW deserves particular credit for its design of the video wall: it’s a clever hardware integration of both source switching and control/management, teamed with the software/web portal interaction. In all, you have a very potent teaching tool and an object lesson in how AV can turbocharge the classroom.