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technology Keeping Up with the (Dow) Joneses ONCE, OPENING A trading room equipped with LED stock tickers, video walls, and Bloomberg terminals was a way for business schools to set themselves apart from competitors. But with trading rooms more numerous, the differentiating factor is not so much that schools use them, but how they're using them to teach, says Ryan Cahoy, managing director at Rise Display, a digital sign- age company based in Shawnee, Kansas. That's why Rise Display recently launched a Web site where financial lab administrators can post ques- tions, share experiences, and read blogs about how to make the most of their financial labs. Schools can add their trading rooms to the site's interactive world map—each marker on the map links to informa- tion about that facility, including its size, age, and range of equipment. Rise Display also has formed the University Finance Lab group on LinkedIn, where members can ask questions, offer feed- back, and share news from the field. The group now has 150 members. One member of both groups is Adelphi University's Willumstad School of Busi- ness in Long Island, New York. Opened in 2011, the school's financial lab has the technology to impress prospective stu- dents and donors—seven terminals, two LED ticker displays, and two high-defini- tion televisions. But its primary function is not to impress, says Barbara Nemecek, the school's interim dean. "When these labs opened years ago in larger programs, their use was often limited to top investment students," she says. "But our financial lab is more like a classroom, open to everyone." Students from business and nonbusiness disciplines can be trained to use the lab for Bloom- berg certification, self-study, and personal research, she adds. Recent alumni even come in to use the terminals. Sharing information has become espeo- cially important among small- to medium- sized schools that typically have smaller 60 September/October 2012 BizEd The James Riley Jr. Trading Room at Adelphi University. budgets and fewer faculty to spare, Nemecek says. "We can learn how other schools handle the classroom experi- ence and allot faculty time.'" Estimated number of trading rooms at U.S. b-schools 295 Average trading room size square feet 29 1,192 Average number of data terminals Average time between technology upgrades 6 years 58 percent Schools with at least (smallest: 3, largest: 65) one Bloomberg terminal US$500,000 Average amount spent to build a trading room $90,000 Average annual operating budget Source – Survey from Rise Display Michael Driscoll, a visiting professor and senior executive in residence who teaches in the Willumstad School's lab, agrees. "People often call these spaces trading rooms or finance labs, but they're really student resource rooms," says Driscoll. "They're places where students can work on assign- ments and learn what they can do with Bloomberg's technology. The ticker run- ning around the top is decoration." It may be decoration in the trading room, but digital signage is establishing a growing presence elsewhere on cam- pus—especially now that screens have higher resolutions and can incorporate touchscreen technology. A new resource also has appeared for schools that want to use digital signage effectively as a mar- keting and communications tool. The nonprofit Digital Signage Federation, based in Warrenton, Virginia, has created an educational program for administra- tors responsible for digital signage instal- lations. The program includes three free hourlong Webinars that offer case studies and advice for content management. DSF's Webinars and other resources about the use of digital signage on campus are available at educationguide. For information about Rise Display's forum and LinkedIn group for financial lab administrators, visit and Finance-Lab-4051039, respectively.

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