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Mary's Woods at Marylhurst

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Mary's Woods at Marylhurst
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Mary's Woods is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) adjacent to Marylhurst University in Lake Oswego, Oregon, just south of Portland. It is a thriving community of elder artists, writers, professionals and family members from across the Northwest and around the nation. Its commitment to caring, community and individual growth is reflected in its wide variety of activities, services and resources which support an active lifestyle that honors the past and celebrates the future. This commitment, which extends to residents' families and friends as well as Mary's Woods employees, can also be seen in the investments made in the facilities, including in recently-implemented digital signage systems which are engineered by Planar Systems in nearby Beaverton, Oregon.

Vancouver, Washington-based digital system integration and content creation/management company EcoDigital Media developed a technology strategy. It then installed the digital signage system for the entire campus, whereby information is provided on five 46-inch and 55-inch Planar® PS-Series™ LCD displays (two Planar PS4652 and three Planar PS5552 displays) powered by BrightSign digital media players. The goal is to use the combined Planar and BrightSign technology to keep residents and employees fully informed of and excited about the many activities and events taking place at any time. "We could see immense value in this technology and content strategy," says Cheri Musotto-Conyers, Director of Marketing and Client Relations for Mary's Woods. "The display and content communication combination draws attention, creates interest and promotes engagement and interaction better than any other medium we could have chosen. They enable us to focus communication to targeted audiences so everyone - from a resident to a staff member - feels as if we're speaking to her or him personally."

Displays capitalize on EcoDigital's creative content strategy

Planar PS-Series displays were chosen based on their reputation as reliable, affordable commercial LCD displays with the visual performance and 24/7 operational capability to match the needs of a specialized space such as a continuing care community. "This is a digital signage system capable of displaying a wide range of content on screens that are bright and crystal clear and colorful, with great contrast and large, readable text sizes," says Kimberly Brecko, CEO of EcoDigital Media. "And with BrightSign digital signage players, we can schedule and show everything from photography, to live video, to RSS feeds, and have it appear in optimal positions on any screen, to ensure that we are effectively reaching and engaging with every audience type on campus."

The EcoDigital Media team - including Randy Short, Chief Technology Officer - recommended the 46-inch and 55-inch Planar PS-Series displays to be implemented in four campus locations: the sales and marketing parlor, the employee entrance, Independent Living and Assisted Living. Messaging in each location varies according to the audience being served. "For example, on the two side-by-side 46-inch displays in Independent Living - the main hub of the facility – BrightSign players provide a full suite of content, including the daily calendar of events, each day's menus, updates on new villa build-outs, videos of upcoming events, residents' birthday announcements and introductions of new residents," Short says. He adds that two single 55-inch displays in Assisted Living show a subset of this same content, presenting it in a fewer number of zones on each screen, tailoring it to the viewing interests and level of activity of the unit's viewers.

In addition to the five installed Planar displays, three additional interactive Planar PS4661T displays will be added. A two-display array is slated for the main dining area and will enable residents to view news, announcements, and menus as well as use the touch interactivity to order food and make dining reservations. A standalone kiosk is planned for the activities area where residents will be able – via touch screen – to arrange transportation, sign up for and RSVP to various events.

The media player choice for Mary's Woods was integral to the Planar PS-Series solution provided. The client required a reliable commercial solution that would integrate tightly with the 24/7 capabilities of the Planar PS-Series displays. Delivery of zoned presentations, live video, media feeds, scheduled content, as well as the ability to update content frequently was paramount. The BrightSign XD series of players fit the bill perfectly. Six BrightSign XD230 media players are deployed to drive the digital signage shown on the Planar PS-Series displays. The highly reliable players allow for the running of zoned presentations of content designed for the different viewers at different times of the day across campus.

Planar PS-Series chosen for its reliability, aesthetics, performance

The decision to use Planar PS-Series displays acknowledged Planar as a partner, and a number of key features built into the displays. Brecko says being able to work with a local company was important, but also that Planar offered a high level of technical support and an industry-leading replacement policy for the displays (though none of the units has required any service or replacement). "We've worked with Planar on other projects, and in the rare instance when we did have a display failure, Planar had a replacement onsite for us in less than a day," Brecko says.

As to product features that factored into the Planar PS-Series display decision, she cites price and performance, profile (sub four-inch installed depth), image quality (1920 x 1080 resolution), brightness (500 cd/m2), .5-inch bezel width and high reliability and durability (24/7 operational capability and ADA1 compliance). Further, given the range of content to be displayed (from internally generated graphics to live video and RSS feeds), VGA in/out, HDMI and DVI input capabilities are important.

"Other large-format displays have a perceived parity with the Planar PS-Series, but Planar designs a product that is truly commercial grade, aesthetically looks as if it was designed for the space, and outperforms the competition in terms of image quality and reliability," Brecko concludes.