Student-based program provides campus TV screens

By Lana Groves, Asst. News Editor

What started as a single broadcasting screen in the S. J. Quinney College of Law has expanded to new flat screen TVs in buildings across campus, including the Language and Communication Building, Union, the University Campus Store and others.

Aaron Dewald, director of the law school’s technology initiative, said he was asked to write a software program that would allow the law school to announce lectures and other events on a screen for students, faculty and staff to view.

Daniel Gorrell, the former technology initiative director, encouraged Dewald to design the program and asked the law school for funding to buy a flat screen TV to broadcast the program.

Dewald and Wes Christiansen, network administrator for the law school, worked on the program specifically for the law school, but realized they could market the program after the bookstore displayed interest in the software.

Dewald and Christiansen approached the Lassonde Center on campus about creating a business plan. Students in the Lassonde Center created a business plan and entered the company proposal in the 2007 Utah Entrepreneurial Challenge.

Recently formed company Akadi Technologies placed in the top 10 of the challenge and began attracting the attention of other colleges on campus.

The U’s marketing and communication department pays for use of the software every month and has organized for colleges across campus to have the flat screen TVs broadcast information.

“Each college gets their own software systems that allows specific content through that college to be broadcast,” said Jake Sorensen, business manager for the Utah Media Sales Group, which also sells advertising for The Chronicle.

Sorensen said the TV screen can broadcast U information and news from the college where it operates and advertising, which should draw in revenue and pay for itself overtime.

“In the long run, it will give money back to the department,” he said.

U information and news will take up 30 percent of broadcast time. Another 40 percent goes to the college or department where the screen is located. The remaining 30 percent is for advertising.

Andy Thompson, account executive for marketing and communication, said the Colleges of Science and Education have the broadcast screens, and that the building for the College of Architecture and Planning will receive the screens soon.

After the flat screens are paid off, the college or department that has the screen will receive half the revenue. The other half will be saved for a scholarship, Sorensen said.

The department pays $69 per month to use the software, but Dewald said the system is inexpensive compared to other broadcast programs, and easier to use.

“The Union had a system (a while ago) and invested $10 or $20,000 in servers,” Dewald said. “They were heavy and very specific. The thing about the software we wrote is that it is web-based.”

Dewald said the broadcast screens will also be used for campus alerts.

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