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Comment Digital Signage Software is the Key (Score 1) 131

Two people have already mentioned Scala and Brightsign on here, but the reality is that Digital Signage software is the key to mastering and easily managing a widely distributed network of touch-panels running interactive content that changes on a regular basis.

This industry has been around for almost 20 years but people in the Museum and Entertainment industries are only recently starting to realize the potential this software represents to simplifying your everyday lives.

Don't waste your time home-brewing some web-based directory system, or buying hardware without the software solution to drive the system. Buy a complete solution. Digital Signage solutions are characterized by the following key factors: Centrally Managed via the Network, Network Addressable Playback Devices, and Rich Media Playback in 24/7 implementations. Unless you can gaurantee that your home-brew solution can match the results of a Scala Player *OUT OF THE BOX* then you're wasting your time and money.

Hire a consultant to help you find the right solution for your needs. DVD based playback systems are a thing of the past. Today's rich media management systems use archival servers to store motion video and static graphics in a content management system that can be interfaced from a web client that enables the content manager (YOU) to assign media to playback devices, create new messages or sets of content for playback on displays, and create interactive touch systems that are simple to setup and intuitive to use.

In this case I would actually suggest that Scala, Omnivew (Moxie), or Coolsign would all be good candidate products to consider for this application. All three offer fully interactive touch-system setup ability out of the box, and they also integrate their solutions on almost any hardware. Scala specifically now supports everything from WiFi Picture Frames, and Appliance Based RISC Play-back devices to full-blown desktops that drive massive multi-display solutions. Omnivex is great a data integration and information polling for public terminals, and their design system is relative simple to use. Coolsign has a very nice design environment, and their play-back devices range from Displays with Built-in playback devices, to other appliances that can playback a myriad of file formats.

ALL of these providers solution are industry certified and they represent some of the best products in the Digital Signage marketplace today. I would suggest starting with Scala, specifically I would suggest Checking Out one of Scala's biggest resellers that works with Casinos and other large venues. The company name is "Alpha Video - Digital Display Group."

In an ideal world you would store all the content for your playback devices on a central server. That central server would host a web catalogue that you as the administrator could assign content and interactive templates to specific playback devices. The Server would distribute the media assetts to the player systems, and all content would be run locally at the player (screen) to minimize network loads and traffic between the server and players. This type of implementation is called "Push to Playback". The server pushes the content and a playback "schedule" or "script" down to the player, and the player system simply reads the script and displays assetts and touch templates based on parameters outlined by the administrator from the web interface.

Digital signage solutions perform all these functions standard, out of the box. Go do your homework, and find a consultant that can help you make some educated decisions. I work in this industry, but you probably can't afford me.

Good luck.

Comment Nearly the same thing happened to me... (Score 1) 1547

I was in the airport in Albuquerque, NM and after they ran my laptop bag through security I was pulled out of line and had my bag searched. Where upon the T.S.A. agent called over the airport police who escorted me into a locked room and proceeded to drill me for TWO AND A HALF HOURS on why I had, (and I'm not kidding), 2 USB hard-drives in my carry on luggage. Apparently USB harddrives look like bombs because the T.S.A. morons are techno-phobes who can't differentiate one piece of technology from another.

There's nothing quite like being yelled at for no reason and threatened with being "taken-in" for carrying a common piece of technology that any moron can buy at Best Buy.

In the case of this MIT student she had something on the outside of her clothes that looked suspicious... I was wearing a freaking suit and tie, with nice shoes... and they freaked out over something that wasn't even on my person. What a joke.

Someone who is trying to get something through security at a major airport wouldn't put it in their bag, or on the outside of their clothes. Terrorists aren't stupid. Although it certainly seems like our airport security think that people interested in causing serious harm are to dumb to tie their own shoes... I mean REALLY.

She probably should have been a little more conscientious, but the reality is that they over reacted... just like they are over-reacting to techno-philes all over the country.

If you travel with more than a notepad, and pen be prepared for the Luddite assault you'll receive at the airport. I now give an extra hour every time I travel to account for these people; it is literally the most pathetically predictable thing you will ever experience.

I've actually started taking bets with my collegues every time we travel on whether or not I'll get flagged for special search. I ALWAYS bet in the affimative... and thus far I haven't lost... despite my attempts to wrap my cables more cleanly and pack my electronic more frugally. It has no effect.

I realize this may be flame-bait... but if you travel as part of your work, and you work in technology, you're almost gauranteed to get treated like a criminal everytime you go through security. It's down-right insulting.

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