Signage Helps Soldier Retention

The Colorado Army National Guard is trying a unique approach to encouraging re-enlistment.
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Signage at the Colorado National Guard
Ever since the military became an all-volunteer force, soldier retention has been a major issue. The Colorado Army National Guard is trying a unique approach to encouraging re-enlistment: digital signage from Tightrope Media Systems.

The Colorado Army National Guard is nearly 3,600 soldiers strong and growing all the time. Its forces vary from the most modern high-tech units such as Space Support to classic, hardcore, hardcharging infantry that harkens to its origins in 1860. It has 14 armories located throughout the state, with the bulk of them along the front range of the Rocky Mountains, but some in smaller outlying towns.

"We are constantly looking for ways to improve soldier retention," reported OC Edward Tuholske, Marketing NCO.

The team decided to install one flatpanel screen in the commons area of each armory. The primary information to be carried would be open job postings to encourage the soldiers to advance their careers within the National Guard. The system would also provide National Guard news, motivational posters and videos and general information.

Early in the planning process, the team recognized that they had a challenge to overcome. "Because of the sensitive nature of the information carried on the intranet that connects all of the National Guard facilities in Colorado, it is tightly controlled," Tuholske said. "We could not use it for the digital signage system."

The solution was to connect the signage network through the Verizon Express Network wireless data service. "Once this solution was designed, we made sure to select components that would function effectively with this system," Tuholske said.

The Guard selected the Tightrope Carousel Pro server and 14 Carousel Solo 220 players, each of which feeds a 42-inch Sharp 42SB45U LCD display, which has 1080p capability. The players connect to the network via a Verizon Air Card. "The Solo 220 player has an extremely small footprint so that it could easily sit behind each LCD even after the air card was installed," said Tuholske.

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The Denver office of Ford Audio and Video installed the digital signage system.

"The response to the digital signage system has been 100 percent positive," Tuholske said. "We are getting more and more requests from our commanding officers to add extra information to the digital signs because they see that more effective communication is improving the morale of our soldiers. Everything we have heard so far indicates that the signage system is improving soldier re-enlistment."