Digital Signage, you asked for it.
June 4, 2011 1 Comment
So I’m just going to make this quick. At our church we use a network of flat screens to broadcast the daily schedule of events that are going on. We use a very simple system where every screen displays the same thing. I know there are systems out there that allow you to change what is displayed depending on the location of the screen, but that was not something we needed.
The heart of our system is our SQL backed room scheduling software. I’m not thrilled with our software, but the database does the trick. We have custom fields in the DB for displaying events on the daily schedule and for displaying future events. From there we have a desktop running a Powerpoint slide show with an add on piece of software called datapoint.
Datapoint allows us to run queries against our SQL DB and return the results into the slide show. I have three queries running within the software. One for all events that haven’t ended between now and the end of the day, one for all future events that need to be displayed in advance, and the last for displaying Sunday information for our children’s ministry.
The Powerpoint is set up to look like an arrival/departures screen at an airport that cycles through today’s events 8 at a time. I also have 3 static slides (schedules for our cafe, coffee bar, and bookstore) and 3 slides reserved for graphic marketing. Each graphic slide points to an image file that we change every week.
The slide show outputs to the secondary display on the PC which is a HDMI connector to a digital encoder. The encoder feeds the signal to a particular channel that goes out over our coax cable network to each TV. Tune the TV to the appropriate channel and you have our digital signage.
I also created a task that restarts the slide show every Saturday morning to refresh the graphic slides. This serves another purpose as well. Since we are running VNC on the PC, I can VPN in from my iPhone, connect to VNC and run the task whenever there’s a problem to restart the show. Also, for special events, we’ll create a completely custom slide show to display while the event is going on. This was especially handy for our student ministry’s New Years Eve all night event.
Well I think that’s pretty much it. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or hit me up on twitter.