Our school is set up with 3 large LCD screens in our social areas to provide information to pupils and up until now we’ve had the screens running with a PowerPoint of our bulletin running on a loop. However I’ve always liked the idea of BBC News 24 or Sky Sports News with a ticker along the bottom of the screen and news displaying to the side.
So over the Christmas holidays I tasked myself with investigating new Digital Signage Solutions for the school. The 2 biggest requirements were ease of setup/use and a low cost (read free!). Most of the solutions that I looked at required a cloud based server and a local client, however I wasn’t entirely convinced that these solutions would work on our Managed Wireless. So after a long search I settled on 3 solutions that might suit the bill Acquire Digital SOLO, Xibo and Digital Signage.
After downloading and installing Acquire I spent around an hour attempting to get the local server application talking to the local client application with no luck; Acquire was out.
Next up was Xibo. The server documentation showed states that a web server with PHP5 and MySQL installed was all that was needed; ideal as I’ve used XAMPP on a few occasions before so I knew that it would do the job. After installing XAMPP I started up Apache and MySQL as services and created a database and user for the Xibo installation.
Next up I copied the server files into the htdocs folder of XAMPP and ran through the (fairly) simple installation wizard. Finally I installed the local client application which is (sadly) only available for Windows or Linux, plugged in the details that I provided during the server setup.
All in all it took me around 25 minutes to download and install everything. After a further 15 minutes of tinkering I decided that Xibo was the solution for me so unfortunately I can’t comment on Digital Signage which may or may not have done the job.
In my next post I’ll show how I setup our Layouts, added existing bulletin content and added live news and weather updates to the bottom and side of our bulletin messages.