Digital Signage System

Digital sign

The Visix digital signage system was introduced with 5 displays in the Student Center  when it re-opened after the new construction in the Fall of 2007.  The displays were used to list event times and locations, advertise special events such as Wayzgoose and sales in the Bookstore, campus trivia, weather, and more.

Over the past 4 years, the system has grown to comprise 23 displays managed by a wide range of departments from across the campus, including the Visitor’s Center, Environmental Health and Safety, the Cross Cultural Center, Financial Aid, two Bus Shuttle stops, Social Ecology, Medical Education, Engineering, and the UCI Libraries.

All displays are coordinated by a centralized server located in the Student Affairs data center and managed by Student Affairs IT (SAIT), now part of OIT.  Departments create their content on SAIT’s server using a web-based system.  Content can be configured to launch at any desired date or time.  A “player” system owned by the department communicates with SAIT’s server to get content and timing information, and controls its local display.

The content creator determines how long each slide is shown, the order that slides will run, and its transition to the next slide.  The look and feel of the layout is also completely customized.   It is very easy to upload, configure, and manage content.  Technical staff typically does not need to be involved after the initial setup.

The Student Center is planning an expansion of the system to support small LCD displays located at each conference room with up-to-date details of meetings and events that are taking place at that time.   Our hope is that the digital signage system will continue to grow and provide current information in a visually appealing format to an ever-broader campus audience.

Interested departments are invited to consult with SAIT regarding the equipment, set-up, and licensing costs.

ZotPortal: Online Resources for Students

ZotPortal

After an extensive campus-wide planning process, the student portal “ZotPortal” went live on April 27 of this year.  IAT-NACS worked with Student Affairs to design the high-reliability and high-performance system hardware, and provides ongoing network and system administration services, as well as housing elements of ZotPortal in separate data centers.

Through ZotPortal students can access academic and administrative information, connect to a Facebook account, subscribe to UCI campus news, student media and entertainment feeds, check UCI libraries catalogue and even search for people and campus web sites from one search box.

Students can arrange ZotPortal’s look and layout flexibly through a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface, subscribing to the particular information channels they want.

ZotPortal runs on hardware intended to provide maximal service continuity.  There are duplicate servers, connected through IAT’s DMRnet.  In the event one server becomes unavailable (say due to a power failure), the twin automatically assumes all portal activity.  Within each physical server are many CPUs, configured to provide a flexible group of virtual servers so that ZotPortal can support very large numbers of simultaneous requests.  Data is stored on a disk cluster configured with Sun’s ZFS (zettabyte file system) which provides both redundancy (data protection) and high performance parallel access.