A Dallas-based ministry is using Toronto-based Rise Vision’s digital signage platform as part of its efforts to help the city’s poor and homeless.
Networked flat screen monitors installed in Our Calling’s cafe keep the men, women and children who use the ministry’s outreach services informed about things like meal times, food distribution points and weather conditions.
“A lot of digital signage systems are used to offer convenience information such as the weather and social updates for customers in retail businesses,” says Wayne Walker, Our Calling’s pastor and executive. “But for the homeless men, women and children who come to see us, it can be life-changing. Getting updates on freezing weather conditions or locations where food will be distributed is not about convenience, it is about saving lives.”
Our Calling also uses the system to run news and sports, and the ministry is fine-tuning plans to integrate real-time information from a database, including notifications of where people stand on wait lists for using the shower and laundry facilities.
Walker says his non-profit group has to make feeding and clothing the poor the top priority, so finding a technology solution that fit Our Calling’s budget was tough.
“Most cheap technology solutions cost more in headaches and maintenance than they are worth,” says Walker. “Once we found Rise Vision, we were very skeptical. However, our skepticism quickly dissolved when it worked. I don’t have any other words to say than – it works AND it works very well.
“It is very powerful, flexible and easy to use. Someone donated an old Dell laptop to us and I installed the ‘Player’ and it has run flawlessly ever since.”
Our Calling expects 1,000 people this week for a Thanksgiving meal, and the digital signage screens will be a key component in communicating to both the guests and a team of more than 500 volunteers.
“This is such a heartwarming story,” says Byron Darlison, Rise Vision’s CEO, “and it perfectly shows how a free solution doesn’t necessarily mean a compromised solution.”
Darlison says his 20-year-old company can offer an enterprise (or business class) platform at no charge based on profits from a sister company doing pro AV integration, and it has near-term plans to offer optional premium plug-ins – such as analytics – to Rise Vision users.