Swanmore College

The background

Swanmore College of Technology, a public secondary school serving 1300 students in Southampton, Hampshire, sought a suitable medium for communicating valuable information. The college, as the central school in a network that includes separate feeder schools wanted a solution that was modern, efficient, cost effective and manageable both locally within the individual schools and centrally. Specifically the school wanted:

  • Screens at the central site and within each of the nine feeder schools.
  • Network connectivity between the main college location and the feeder schools, including FTP and proxy server access.
  • The ability to control and create layouts for the feeder schools from a central location.

The solution

The school chose the Black Box iCOMPEL™ system. Primarily, it was selected because it supports the ability to set up different zones with different content types. The system comes with a number of screen layouts that contain multiple zones for adding media. Users can manipulate zones however they want, and put them wherever they want, put zones on top of zones, and more.

The system was also chosen for its stability: The digital signage players are Linux® based and, therefore, more stable than Windows® based systems. With the system, Swanmore College of Technology publishes content to 10 different channels.


Nine player units each subscribe to the appropriate channel and are located in the nine feeder schools within a 10-mile radius. The school also installed an additional player in its college library.

Each screen displays a basic layout designed by the college. The layout contains two zones that the feeder schools can update locally, depending on what message they want to communicate to their particular students "ad hoc." In all, the layouts consist of a media zone, a text zone for school notices, an RSS feed containing BBC Newsround. bulletins, the weather, the time and date, and the school name and logo.

The result

This solution not only met the school's expectations but exceeded them. The flexible display and simple-to-use integrated software means content can be updated regularly without an excessive investment of time.

We have found (it to be) a flexible and comprehensive system which allows ad-hoc users to quickly and easily update the screen whilst allowing us to make more complex changes where necessary. Helen Woodland Community IT Technician, Swanmore College

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