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Red Dot Digital Media Completes AV Integration at Valley Christian College Preparatory School

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Red Dot Digital Media recently completed a campus-wide AV integration at Valley Christian, a K-12 college preparatory school located in San Jose, California. The institution has been an educational fixture in the Silicon Valley for more than 60 years. Given its location, it’s no surprise that Valley Christian strives to deliver a tech-forward experience for its students, staff and visitors.

For this latest project, Valley Christian wanted to give its music instructors a streamlined way to assign and monitor access to practice rooms in the new music building, while also giving students the ability to use their student ID number to access the room-scheduling system, which unlocks their assigned practice room during their designated practice session time.

Valley Christian turned to Red Dot Digital Media to design, program and install a total of 10 room-scheduling screens for each of the school’s new music rooms. The entryway to each room features an 11-inch Bluefin touch panel with BrightSign Built-In, hardwired to automated locks that control access to the rooms.

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“We worked with Red Dot previously on a project to install screens throughout the campus for general messaging, as well as digital menu boards in our cafeteria. We were pleased with the result of that project, so it was an easy decision to engage with Red Dot again to outfit our new music building with a room-scheduling and access-control system,” Valley Christian Schools commented. “Our music instructors now have a state-of-the-art system to manage access to our practice facilities that’s on-par with what many student musicians won’t encounter until they reach college. ”

Red Dot says it built a custom software interface that enables school personnel to populate a shared spreadsheet with a student’s ID number, granting them access to the practice rooms. Calendar scheduling for each room is administered by the staff through Microsoft Office 365. When a student wants to reserve a room, they send a request to the staff member to schedule the time for them. At the appropriately scheduled time, the student then goes to the room and enters their student ID number on the touch panel keypad, which unlocks the touch panel. The student can then press the “unlock” button for the room door to gain access. If the student is not scheduled at that time, the room will not open. If the room is occupied it will display a red indicator, and if it’s available the indicator will be displayed in green.

“Valley Christian is forward-thinking in how they approach the integration of digital media into their campus. Each time we’ve collaborated with them, we’ve been impressed by their appetite to push boundaries and implement innovative solutions that are common in university settings, but quite unusual for a K-12 institution,” Darryl Kuder, president of Red Dot Digital Media said. “We’re grateful that Valley Christian entrusts their digital aspirations to us, and we’re especially proud of how this latest project turned out.”

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Implementing a custom room-scheduling system that provides automated access control to a series of rooms can be a costly endeavor. To help Valley Christian reign in the cost of the project, Red Dot says it assembled a solution that took advantage of readily available (and relatively affordable) hardware, underpinned by the Signagelive CMS, which powers the room-scheduling functionality of the project. Using touch-interactive Bluefin screens with BrightSign Built-In capabilities eliminated the need for external media players – an important consideration in this use case where using standalone players would have required lengthy cable runs to maintain the clean aesthetic that Valley Chrsitian desired. Red Dot says this approach significantly reduced the amount of custom work, saving Valley Christian thousands of dollars on the project compared to a fully custom-built solution.

This room-scheduling solution is the latest milestone in Red Dot’s longstanding collaboration with Valley Christian. The specialty integrator previously installed a digital wayfinding kiosk on the campus, as well as new digital menu boards in the school’s cafeteria. In each instance, Red Dot says it designed custom solutions built on different CMS platforms, taking into account each project’s stated goal, technical complexity and budget considerations. The wayfinding kiosk uses BrightSign’s legacy BrightSign Network CMS, while the menu boards are powered by Wallboard, and this latest project takes advantage of Signagelive’s room-scheduling solution.

Standardizing on a single CMS is convenient for the integrator, but it often requires the client to compromise the stated intent of their project. Red Dot says using a single CMS solution for a broadly scoped project typically means functionality tradeoffs have to be made, or costly bolt-on solutions must be purchased to achieve the desired functionality. In the case of Valley Christian, Red Dot says it was able to build custom solutions for each use case, ensuring it did not need to compromise the form or function of its growing digital network.

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