After the technical set up it was time to customise Xibo to suit our requirements.
First I designed a simple background image with the school badge and sections for news, weather and bulletin updates. I wasn’t looking for anything too fancy, so I put it together in Keynote and exported the slide as an image. It’s important to export as a JPEG rather than a PNG. While the quality is better with a PNG file, the transparent sections used for BBC News and Weather don’t display correctly unless a JPEG is used.
In the Xibo web app, I selected Layouts then Design (I just used the default 4:3 layout that was pre made in Xibo), uploaded the background image and removed all existing regions.
Adding new regions was really simple (right click, add a region and resize to suit) and soon I had a Layout with 3 separate content regions that we could edit. First up was the RSS Feeds for live BBC News Headlines and Weather updates. The RSS feeds can be found on the BBC website for my favourite price…free! Just look out for the orange logo shown below.
Clicking on the RSS logo will give you the feed URL which you have to pop into Xibo. Just edit the region that will contain the news, add a ticker and paste the feed url into the Link box. The rest of the settings can be changed to suit your requirements. Ours is set up to pull live news every 20 minutes, and loop for 600 seconds (10 minutes) at a time.
Finally it was time to add in our existing bulletin messages. These are simply created in PowerPoint and exported as images (again JPEGs) and then added to the bulletin messages region of the layout; by default our images are displayed for 10 seconds.
The great thing about Xibo is it can display loads of different data types including videos or flash animations. As we add more up to date bulletin messages, I’m beginning to experiment with videos, flash animations and even live webpages (the school calendar from our website for example).
It’s early days for our installation, however I’m already planning to move to a web based installation that will allow me to update the content on the screens from any workstation in the school, or indeed any computer connected to the internet.