Using Frog to manage digital signage

Like lots of schools, we have a number of televisions placed around the site to pass on information and celebrate the school in a bright colourful way.

We use the MagicInfo Pro system, which allows a single user to control the TVs either as if a single display, as individuals or in groups.

MagicInfo Pro

The system has worked quite well for a while, (mainly because I had nothing to do with it).  It was all controlled by one of our Assistant Heads.  It really only came to my attention when he left.

The problem with the software is that only one user had been set up to manage it.  Others could manage the system, but any change made by one user effectively undid the work of the other user.  What was needed was a content management system allowing multiple users to set the content for different sections of the same display.

Sound familiar?

This is where Frog comes in.  Rather than having to train multiple staff on a new system and explain the dangers of being able to undo others work, we set up MagicInfo to point to several Frog pages via iframes.

We have a page containing all of our current Whole School notices.  An autoscroll script in an html brick on the page keeps the moving before jumping back to the top to start again.  This allows any teacher to post a notice for display onto the screens.

The other section of the screen is linked to another Frog page.  This one points to a streaming feed of BBC News, courtesy of the very handy widget demo-ed at the Frog Conference and found in the Widget Store.  (Sorry, I don’t know who made that widget, but thank you.)

Content on our Digital Signage

Updating

What’s made setting this up worth it was the ease of which anyone with editing rights can alter the pages:

Want to replace to the News programme with photos congratulating a sports group?  No problem, just create a PowerPoint of the photos and use iSpring Free to make it a looping presentation.

Want the student radio station to broadcast over the screens at lunchtimes?  No problem, let’s make a Flash file which picks up the time of day and switches the content to another page and let’s have the same Flash file switch the content back at the end of lunch.  (If anyone wants to know make their own Flash file or just use mine, drop me a line here – I might even try to make it into a Frog widget).

Controlling the digital signage through Frog has also allowed us to set up one screen to be controlled by the Drama department and another by the Sixth Form.  The teachers involved have full editing control over their bits, while not affecting the others.

The digital signage used to be a not-insignificant chunk of one person’s time.  Each week they created new content, changed messages and generally refreshed the digital signage.  Now the entire system is constantly renewed automatically.  The News feed and student radio keeps it dynamic.  Add to this, the ability to drop in slideshows with only about 5 minutes work and we have a digital signage system doing exactly what it should.

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