Can Apple TV Help Keep Our Children Safe in School?

Back to school season brings with it thoughts of bulletin boards, backpacks, sharpened pencils and school safety. More relevant than ever, safety is at the forefront of concerns for school administrators. Traditional alerts, including bells, email, texts or audio announcements, may no longer be sufficient to address today’s increasingly complex security and safety needs.

Carousel app for Apple TV is an easy and affordable solution for deploying digital signage in classrooms and common areas across your school. Teachers can switch between signage content and airplay from iPads or macOS devices. Administrators can issue emergency messages that override airplay sessions to deploy full screen digital alerts. The video below will show you how this works.

Carousel digital signage app Apple TV emergency alerts
In an emergency, deploy full screen visual emergency alerts that override other functions on Apple TVs in your school.

How Is Digital Signage an Improvement Over Traditional Alerts?

Traditionally schools use audio announcements, bells, emails, and messaging apps to provide alerts for drills and emergencies. Audio announcements can go unheard in crowded or active areas. Students typically hear bells differentiating various alerts including fire, lockdown, and evacuation. However there is no means to provide additional information. Emails and messaging apps can provide additional information, but they require the student or teacher to be actively on their device or in a particular app like Mail, Messages, or Remind. Digital signage creates another layer of notification combining the strengths of all these methods. Since alerts can be triggered to automatically display and override AirPlay sessions on Apple TV, student and teacher input is not required. Digital Signage can show meaningful images, videos or play sounds. It can also stream instructions and content to help provide useful information so students and teachers know what to do.

What’s Unique About Carousel?

Rich, customizable features in Carousel are what truly distinguishes it from other digital signage apps for Apple TV. Carousel has the ability to stream various types of content including images, video feeds, weather, web html, Twitter, Facebook, RSS, bulletins, and messages. I really like the options that Carousel brings to schools.

Carousel app zones Apple TV safety K-12 security alerts
Carousel app allows customizable zones to stream dynamic content.

For example, alerts aren’t confined to single static images on the screen. Instead the screen can be subdivided into zones. Each zone can display content to keep teachers and students informed during emergency situations.

Fire drills, tornado drills, and lockdown drills help train students and teachers how to respond in emergency situations. Schools typically use direct teaching and display visual reminders like posters or signs that guide students during these events. The zones feature allows schools to display alert notifications that also stream useful information and content to minimize uncertainty and confusion. On-screen content can easily be updated to help keep teachers and students informed.

 

How Does It Work?

The magic behind all this is in the unique way that Apple TV, Carousel digital signage, and Jamf Pro mobile device management work together to provide a simple and affordable solution. With Apple TV, you can easily add wireless video streaming from an iPad or macOS device to your projector or flat-panel display. Teachers can take students through a lesson while freely moving about the classroom to provide individual support. They can also encourage students to share their work  instantly from their own device.

“[AirPlay] absolutely simplifies the teacher’s ability to connect their device to the classroom display. No more wires; no more need to set the room up based on where the A/V connection is located. This frees the teacher up by allowing them to create the best learning environment for students without regard to the A/V hookups,” says Tim Yenca, Apple Distinguished Educator.

Apple TV is essentially a specialized iOS device. While its main use in schools is for AirPlay, it also can have apps including Movies, Photos, Netflix, YouTube, and more. While development of 3rd party apps for tvOS is still in its infancy compared to iOS, the potential for the education market is wide open. The engineers behind Carousel’s creation are ahead of the curve in bringing value to Apple TV.

Jamf Pro is a mobile device management solution that can work hand in hand with Carousel to ease deployment, configuration, and management of Apple TVs in your school. My school district currently has over 640 Apple TVs all managed with Jamf Pro. Jamf’s Apple TV management solution can cut a significant amount of time off your Apple TV deployment. Leveraging zero-touch setup and support for Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP), mass Apple TV rollouts are relatively easy.

The Carousel digital signage software solution for Apple TV uses an app to stream content from a Carousel server directly to displays in classrooms or common use areas. The Carousel server can be hosted in an on premise VM, in public or private cloud solutions, or directly as an appliance on your network. Different users who manage and update content can be authenticated directly or via LDAP including Active Directory. This gives schools the freedom to empower different stakeholders while removing the burden of generating content from IT. The Carousel app can be launched on Apple TVs manually, or as is more often the case, locked in by deploying a Single-App-Mode configuration profile from Jamf Pro. The Carousel server works hand-in-hand with Jamf Pro to enable any alert overrides and configuration necessary during an emergency situation.

Find Out More

To find out more, contact the folks at Carousel. In my experience, they are very friendly and have a genuine interest in helping schools. You can check out the different products, quick start guides, and view how-to videos on their site: https://www.carouselsignage.com  They’ve recently even developed a learning portal to help bring people up to speed on how to leverage all the features in their solution.

 

Related Links

Carousel Digital Signage

Basic Apple TV Deployment Tips

Centralized Apple TV Management with Jamf Pro

Big Changes Come in Small Packages – Feb 2018 TechEDge

TechEdge

About Apple TV