Georgia World Congress Center
Corporate Communications, Wayfinding
The Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) is a 1.5 million square foot convention center facilitating events and activities that generate economic benefits to the citizens of the State of Georgia and the City of Atlanta. Three connected halls offer meeting rooms, exhibition halls and ballrooms/auditoriums for conventions, trade shows, film production, and much more.
GWCC has 120 rooms that are rented for conventions, exhibitions, training and other purposes, with a large digital screen outside of each space. The screens display the GWCC logo, the time and date, and the location (e.g. A402). The largest portion of the screen displays a schedule of events that changes daily based on the organization renting the space. This information created the biggest challenge in terms of content management since the legacy system was so difficult to update, requiring an IT resource to make any changes.
GWCC had been using an on-premise digital signage solution that was complex and laborious, demanding a great deal of time and support from the IT department. This legacy system was too complex for GWCC event clients to use on their own—in fact the IT department was tasked with writing new code every time the screens needed updates.
GWCC urgently needed to find a digital signage content management system (CMS) that was so simple to use it’s convention/event customers could update their own screen content, with no training involved.
GWCC event clients would be providing and updating daily schedules for each meeting room sign, so content management had to be extremely intuitive and simple.
Managing the original on-premise CMS was expensive and time consuming for the IT crew. The ideal cloud-based digital signage CMS would offer unlimited storage, no transmission fees, the ability to cache data on the media player, and offer device management with automatic software updates.
The solution had to provide cutting edge security for content, and the hardware needed to be tamper-proof.
Adding digital signage was an important investment that would solve a long-term need. GWCC has a lean IT crew, so simplicity and ease of use were paramount in a potential digital signage CMS. GWCC had been evaluating digital signage solutions for three years, but each solution they looked at only partially met their requirements.
In 2019, GWCC met Skykit, a Minneapolis-based Premier Google Cloud Platform partner. After the initial discovery, several IT consultation calls, and demos, it was clear that Skykit could be easily implemented at the convention center, and that users could manage their content with little to no training. This ease of use was important because it meant clients would not need to rely on the IT department’s resources.
GWCC currently has a 43” monitor installed outside each of its 120 event rooms. Skykit’s cloud-based software provides cutting edge security for content. Each screen is mounted to the wall inside a Peerless enclosure with a Skykit-approved media player. This enclosure is locked, making it tamper-proof and secure. It also provides a sleek aesthetic.
The screens are managed by Skykit—a simple, cloud-based digital signage platform that lets GWCC clients easily display content for their events. Content can be shared on a scheduled basis or updated in real-time. Skykit’s code bundle allows every screen to be managed within a single template, or screens can be managed in groups.
Before move-in day, GWCC provides a template to clients, assigning them to the room they’ll be using. The client then populates the template with daily schedule information. Any updates that need to be made are fast and easy. In addition to meeting info, clients select advertisements they want to run on the screens during their event, such as event partners.
GWCC offers clients a service in which they’ll help manage the content if the client thinks Skykit is beyond their skill set. According to Blake Jenkins, event technology manager for GWCC, not one client has requested that service.