Case Study

Digital Signage Delivers Distinction and Pride

Alamo Colleges Toyota Workforce Training Program

Company

The Alamo Colleges serve the Bexar County, Texas community through programs and services that help students succeed in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed in today’s world. Five colleges offer associate degrees, certificates and licensures in occupational programs that prepare students for jobs, as well as arts and science courses that transfer to four-year colleges and universities and lead to AA and AS degrees. Part of Alamo’s Workforce Center of Excellence, the Toyota Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program (AMT) includes a two year Associate Technical Degree that combines cutting-edge curriculum and paid working experience, teaching students highly sought-after business principles and best practices of a world-class manufacturer.

Overview

Problem:

  • Create distinctive yet economical digital signage to replace standard printed circular banner

Solution:

  • Six ViewSonic® VSD241 24" all-inone smart displays for Android™, ceiling-mounted and positioned in a circle, delivered the ideal combination of capabilities and costs

Result:

  • Innovative digital banner delivers leading-edge visibility to the students, program, and training center
  • Solution was achieved at a fraction of the $50k quoted by other vendors
  • The outstanding performance of the banner and support of the ViewSonic sales team led the center to install multiple additional ViewSonic VSD241 24" smart displays throughout the facilities

These ViewSonic all-in-ones for Android have been ideal for us at this center. We’ve put them everywhere.

Steve Duran, Director, Alamo Colleges Workforce Center of Excellence

Problem

Formed in 2013 through a partnership between the local Toyota plant and the Colleges’ Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Academy, the San Antonio Toyota AMT program joined others of its kind in enabling students to earn a paycheck while attending college. Students in the program spend part of their week working at the plant, the other part attending classes, with the goal of becoming eligible for an entry-level full-time position at the plant after graduation.

“These students are training to be the ones that keep the Toyota manufacturing plant running,” said Steve Duran, director of the Workforce Center of Excellence (WCOE), as well as the AMT program. “They’re learning the robotics and electronics skills needed to keep the manufacturing machines running 24/7.”

Central to the AMT program is working on the impressive AMTEC robotics equipment that dominates the training room. Standard design at other AMT facilities is to put a printed banner above this equipment. Duran (whose center received the “Best of Texas” 2006 Award for Demonstrated Excellence in IT Operations, Support and Service) wanted something more.

“All the Toyota training centers put a circular printed banner above the equipment, with the name of the training center and some pictures of students,” said Duran. “I’m a technology guy and I didn’t want the same old banner. I wanted our center to stand out and make our students feel proud to be there.”

This turned out to be easier said than done, and Duran’s initial attempts at figuring out how to accomplish his goal proved somewhat frustrating.

“We looked all over for how to make the digital circular sign work,” he said. “With all the options we looked at we were going to have to spend around $50,000 to create it with a computer for each display and specialized software to integrate them to get the video to go around in a circle.”

Solution

Undeterred, Duran continued to keep his eyes open for the right solution. When his ViewSonic rep introduced him to the VSD241 24" Smart Display, he knew he’d found what he was looking for.

“When Walter told me about their all-in-one smart displays for Android, we looked at them right away,” said Duran, “and they were perfect. I loved them and the staff thought they were great.”

The integrated Android OS, Full HD resolution, crisp images and smooth video display delivered just the compact design and multimedia capabilities needed to accomplish Duran’s goals.

“And the price was right,” said Duran. “I didn’t have much budget to spend on digital signage. To be able to get a sign like that, that looks like a million dollars, was really outstanding.”

Duran and his team got to work creating a digital banner that would deliver their message ofleading-edge commitment to innovation in occupational education – both via its content and itsvery design. Six VSD241 smart displays were installed in a circle above the AMTEC Trainer. Duran and his team took a multitude of photos of the students using the training machine, loaded them onto a free Android app and timed them to rotate around the displays.

“With each image and the phrase ‘Texas Federation of Automobile Manufacturing Education’ displaying at a different time, it looks like a video going around in circle,” said Duran. “Now anywhere you stand in the room you see the kids at work and the text rotating. We’ve also got a video history of Toyota with audio that we can run when we have visitors.”

Result

It would be difficult to overstate the degree to which Duran is pleased with the performance of the ViewSonic smart displays, which enabled his vision of a circular digital banner to come to life. The benefits have been multifold.

For one, Duran noted, when people come into the center the digital banner is the first thing that grabs their attention.

“The AMTEC Trainer is a half-million dollar machine – it calls for more than just a printed banner. The high-impact screens go along with the machine, it’s like they’re a part of it,” said Duran. Highlighting another benefit, he adds, “I also think that it makes the students proud of their training room. They go in there to learn and they see a workspace that’s state of the art – that means something to them.”

That, it is clear, means a lot to him.

“We didn’t have enough people in San Antonio to work at the Toyota plant, people were retiring and Toyota didn’t have enough people to replace staff. Our center is training their new employees. And it’s incredible what this program does for these kids; it literally changes their lives.”

Having performed so well for the digital banner, Duran put the smart displays to work throughout his WCOE facilities: at each doorway of the Corporate College to list staff and meetings and mounted on the wall in the entryway for guest use.

“Everyone that comes in is just amazed when they see it there,” said Duran. “They love using it; the touchscreen is so responsive. And we love that now we don’t have to give up one of our computers when visitors need to check email.”

An additional ViewSonic smart display in his assistant’s office serves as a security monitor of sorts, displaying images from a video camera in the entryway, giving Duran an advance look at who’s walking into the center. Clearly a steadfast proponent of the benefits of technology, Duran also installed a ViewSonic EP4646 46" two-sided ePoster in the center’s lobby to inform visitors about the center’s mission, programs and corporate partners.

But that’s not all – and one gets the sense that Duran’s not yet finished finding uses for these multifunctional monitors.

“These ViewSonic all-in-ones for Android have been ideal for us at this center; we’ve put them everywhere. I even have one in my office hanging on the wall that I use as digital signage,” he said. “In fact, I love them so much I have a couple of them at home – one set up as a giant clock in the guest room, and the other my grandkids use for playing games and doing schoolwork; they love that the touchscreen is so friendly and easy to use. I even gave my granddaughter one for Christmas.”

Duran’s enthusiasm for ViewSonic isn’t reserved only for the displays. He stresses that the customer service he’s gotten from his sales reps is second-to-none.

“I’m truly thrilled to death with ViewSonic,” said Duran. “Everyone I’ve worked with has just been fantastic; Walter and Jason have really taken care of me. They give me everything I need, and tell me exactly how to make it work. If it’s up to me, if ViewSonic has what I need, I’ll only buy ViewSonic.”

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