One of my schools a few months ago had some guys in asking for a port to be commisioned in one of the classrooms, i asked obviously whats it for and they replied for LIFE Channel, obviously i went and double checked with teh headteacher and she said help them as required so i patched a port in and gave them the proxy. a few weeks ago i was invited to a training session for life channel, basically its a little box like the espresso box and all it does is stream video and images that the school put in via a CMS. i dont know how much the school are paying for this but im sure its a rippoff. the school didnt ask me else id say create your own videos and show them on the screen that il fit and cable for you!!
right now the school are making things via photostory3 (just images) and sometimes adding mpegs/divx's which are being played on a small 40inch Plasma in a big hall (you can hardly see it from the back of the hall)
do any of you have thins in your schools, apparantly life channel are quite big and are 'everywhere' (according to the rep!)
We have Life Channel in our school, I wasn't involved in the procurement.
Life channel produce subtitled short films on various topics, sexual health, healthy eating bullying, etc.
These are sent to the PC's they install overnight and are then shown on a loop during the day.
The school can add its own content to be shown in between each of the films in the loop. Or if necessary suspend the content loop and show their own 'important' content. We recently did this after a switch failiure, rather than try and get to everyone round the school we just had an 'everythings working' message shown on the screens around the school.
Can't comment on pricing, as I said I wasn't involved in the procurement.
you have a few screens? this school has ONE on one side and its a fairly big school!
they dont stream the standard life channel stuff (they disable that) all they show is pictures and musing done on photostory, they would have been better off paying for a clean install of the server as someone totally bodged that up (begins with E and ends with E)
Glad to see some other views on this. One of my primaries nearly blew the ICT budget on this this year, thankfully I managed to persuade them that buying better PC's to replace the failing ones in the classroom was a better use of the money! Looked at the site and heard the approx costings and not convinced. If they want info screens then as someone suggested I would think streaming their own content would be better, bet even to be conviced on that yet as who is going to spend time watching it.
lol im glad to know others feel the same way, it may be usefull in some scenarios but in this school they need more managed service time not life channel - they only have half a day every two weeks and when i get in theres a million issues in the book not counting the ones where they come upto me and ask me to do certain things which they THINK will take 2 mins!
Ditto. I'm sure we could have done our own system cheaper.
I'm starting to see a pattern, why are we kept out of the procurement process?
If you had a overpriced piece of junk to flog would you want to talk to the onsite IT guy who could create and install something similar for a fraction of the price or would you rather sweet talk the SMT with a powerpoint presentation and a free meal?
We don't have it as we created our own digital signage system, it was mentioned by a deputy head to me but I believe it costs a fair few £'s.
What did you use to create the digital signage, or how did you go about it?
Our head has been in talks with life channel and i would like to have an alternative option to hand. There is a demonstration that i am attending on life channel and want to go in armed with as much information as possible although keeping an open mind.
Is the content that they provide worth the additional cost over a standard digital signage system?
Is the content easy enough to create?
Is the content that you create limited by the system in place?
Sorry for all the questions, just after some useful information about this Life channel.
“Is the content that they provide worth the additional cost over a standard digital signage system?”
Yes more so if you are short of time. Do you really want to spends lots of hours a week making new content? I find it very useful to use there content and just slot its bits of my own when I get time. A lot of people saying they can do it cheaper in house with their own system don’t factor in the time and resources needed to make hours of content. If you don’t need the life channel content it’s not worth getting, but if you factor in all the content you get compared to making it all yourself it is reasonable value.
"Is the content easy enough to create?"
You are given no software to create content. How hard or easy content is to make depends on which software package you buy. You can send in a limited amount of content to them and they will edit it for you. You can also download extra optional free content. If you are skilled at packages like Pinnacle Studio 12 then content should not be hard to make but still time consuming.
“Is the content that you create limited by the system in place?”
Yes it’s limited compared to other digital systems. Content is pretty much videos and picture only although I recommend using pictures in video files. There interface is very unfriendly when it comes to pictures. Your limited by whatever your video editing package lets you do. With a few exceptions like a ticker, but it’s still a limitedsystem.
Last edited by Pottsey; 29th September 2009 at 04:27 PM.
I, personally would be using the iLife suite to create the content. Using the footage created by the kids could be a good way to show off their creative skills with the software that we have in school i.e. Stop motion animations etc. Hmm, it may have possibilities i suppose...
As Pottsey has said I believe the reason your paying is due to the resources that are created. I was told that the content is designed specifically for pupils and schools and that there are lots of resources that the school can choose to download & use.
From what I saw it looked quite good, I was quite happy to let the school go that way as I had too much work to do as it was. But like most things it never went any further than a good idea
My last school has had it installed. Again, the IT people were kept out of the loop, management paid over the odds for it and it's been a pain in the backside. The people from life channel wanted some sort of remote access to it, so the box had to be firewalled off from the rest of the network.
I'm not sure that prefab content has much impact on kids unless the production quality is truly exceptional and full of pizazz. Content relevant to the school is much more engaging IMHO so I'm pushing that as much as possible with our new signage. Currently it's only got photos and school news on (and, grudgingly, a BBC news ticker!) but we should have some pupils' videos on very soon.