It’s been a busy pre-holiday season for ScreenScape. This morning we released updates and new features to all three main areas of our service: the ScreenScape application, our Windows and Android SmartPlayer clients, and our templates.
New feature: Repeat Schedule
The ScreenScape app received a boost to its Scheduling capabilities, in the form of a new feature called Repeat Schedule. Similar to setting up a repeat meeting on your calendar (“meet every second Tuesday at 10am”), ScreenScape users can now publish content on a recurring basis.
For content items such as bi-weekly menus or alternating daily promotions, this advanced schedule option allows playlist managers the freedom to set up complex schedules in advance.
This feature is compatible with all content items and all previously defined schedules – no action required.
You can find out more about Repeat Schedules on our Support site.
Both our Android and Windows SmartPlayer clients were upgraded today.
In the case of Android, the update was an invisible change to allow the players to recognise the new ‘repeat schedule’ formats.
In the case of Windows, the update was major, with new features and improvements on several fronts:
- New device Setup (more on that here)
- Embedded live support
- Additional WiFi options (802.1x PEAP, Enterprise WiFi, Proxy connections)
- support for Repeat Schedules
- Faster boot times, performance improvements and various bug fixes
The new SmartPlayer for Windows capabilities will enable 2017 improvements such as a new range of device offerings based on Windows 10 IoT Enterprise (more on that in the new year) and drop shipping direct from our OEM partners.
All upgraded ScreenScape players will detect, download and install their new versions automatically – no action required.
Because of a recent bug introduced in the latest version of Adobe AIR 23 (more here), about a dozen of our templates were reworked and redelivered to sidestep the issue. These updates will apply themselves automatically – no action required.
We’ve worked hard to ensure that these are silent and automatic updates for our customers – no action required. But as always, if you see anything unexpected or have a question, our Support team is here to help.
Today we released 8 new templates in the Social Media collection.
The animation behind each template features an ‘icon explosion’ to capture audience attention and is followed by a focused message. The message carried by each template is similar, a reminder for audiences to engage on the highlighted social network.
The templates are called “x4” because they randomly rotate between four background animations, and four background textures (white, gradient, paper and wood). The core content stays the same, but the random selection keeps the playlist rotation dynamic where dwell times exceed playlist length.
Social networks covered include:
A new batch of 16 ‘Infotainment’ templates is available free of charge to all members, as of this morning.
The strong response to our last round of new ‘Infotainment’ items has prompted us to update the collection with new content. A good percentage of our member base are now using Infotainment as an easy way to keep their playlist rotations fresh and their audiences engaged. Today’s update includes:
- Pop Quiz – a second set of 15 video Pop Quiz (by popular demand!)
- EcoTips – a selection of friendly tips on how to improve your eco-footprint, on a playful animated backdrop
- Quotes – similar to the current Quotes, these notable quotables are about Design and Nature
- Photo Galleries – a selection of photography grouped by subject (Bridges, Trees, Birds, Churches, etc)
You’ll find these new template options when you ‘Create Content’ and select the ‘Infotainment’ collection. This latest update increases the total number of Infotainment templates to a grand total of 80.
Thanks to everyone who sent in their feedback and ideas – keep them coming!
I was recently asked to share a WiFi router recommendation for digital signage, so I thought I’d pass along the response to our blog.
My first thought was that the request like recommending a car to a new acquaintance. So many questions! (target price? driving style? climate? business or pleasure? urban/rural? passengers? gear? kids? pets? … ). There’s no end of room for debate, and no single right answer.
That said, most of our customers aren’t strangers and their needs are pretty simple. They’re small or medium sized businesses, not international airports or NFL stadiums. And although they’re businesses, they usually don’t have complex commercial demands like high scalability or VPN. They just need something reliable and fast for the digital signage in their lobby. A quality consumer router will likely do the job. If you’re that type of user, read on. (If you need higher security or scalability, take a look at business routers.)
The TP-LINK Archer-C7 is a good all-round WiFi router for about US$100.
In general, you’re looking for:
- a WiFi router that supports the /a /b /g or /n WiFi standards. If you find a new router that has support for /ac – that’s fine. It just means it supports the latest and greatest standard – the router will still be compatible with the ScreenScape Connect.
- reasonably high speeds (>100Mbps). A higher speed is important if you’re planning to stream video like YouTube, and less important if you’re not.
- a WiFi router that’s equipped with dual band (2.4GHz and 5Ghz). The ScreenScape Connect supports both of those bands. You want this so you can get a strong signal to your device, even if your location is crowded with interference. The dual band option will help to find a quiet(er) frequency. Having a 5GHz option is like moving a conversation to a side room in a crowded bar – it’s much easier to communicate.
Recommendation: the Archer C7 WiFi router
With these points in mind, the TP-LINK Archer C7 is a good all-round router that sells for about US$100 at the time of this post. It’s what I use for my own network, and it’s good value for money. To continue the car analogy, the Archer C7 is like a Honda Accord V6 – reliable, decent power, good mileage at a great price.
You may also consider a simple range extender like the TP-LINK RE200, depending on the proximity of your router to your digital signage device. They’re inexpensive and it can’t hurt.
For more options, the New York Times recently offered a good article on consumer grade routers that you can read about here.
Plug and Play Digital Signage just got easier!
If you’re looking for resources to help you install and setup your ScreenScape Connect digital signage device then check out our brand new ScreenScape Connect Digital Signage Easy Setup Video.
In this video you will get a detailed tutorial on how to attach the included accessories to the digital signage device, install the device into your television, and then connect it to your local WiFi network.
You can find our full setup guide at setup.screenscape.com
This article will guide you through connecting your Instagram account to your ScreenScape digital signage service. Once complete your Instagram posts will automatically appear in your ScreenScape display.
Instagram and Digital Signage
Update: Instagram API changes and what it means for you
Expect the setup process to take approximately 15 minutes for a user with intermediate computer skills.
Step 1: Make a Zap
- Create free accounts on Zapier and Instagram.
- Go to https://zapier.com and click on the “MAKE A ZAP!” hyperlink.
- Choose “Instagram” as the Trigger App and “RSS by Zapier” as the Action app.
- Connect your Instagram account.
- Complete the set up RSS by Zapier section.
- Enter any value in the “URL” section (e.g. “Instagram”). Once entered, be sure to click the “Copy to clipboard” button, this is the URL you’ll use when creating your ScreenScape content:
- Enter any value in the “Title” section (e.g. “Instagram RSS”):
- Enter any value in the “Source URL” section (e.g. “https://zapier.com”):
- Add the following fields in “Content” section in this EXACT ORDER and ADD A SEMICOLON after each field:
- User Profile Picture
- User Username
- Images Standard Resolution URL
- Caption Text
- Add the “Created Time” field in the “Pubdate” section:
Step 2: Publish ScreenScape Content
- Once the set up RSS by Zapier section is complete, create new content in ScreenScape using the “Instagram” template.
- Paste the URL copied to your clipboard in the earlier step to your ScreenScape content:
- Publish this new content to your display.
That’s it, you’re done! New Instagram posts after this setup is complete will now automatically appear in your ScreenScape display.
Here’s a sample:
Update July 2016
Read about important changes to the Instagram API: Instagram API changes and what it means for you