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The Experience of Digital Signage

Feb 16, 2011 12:00 PM

Digital Signage, IPTV drive ads and entertainment at Amway center.

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Live Operations

Despite its vast reach, a single operator controls the entire digital signage network. This includes creating new content on the InfoCaster Creation station and managing content from other sources. Once distributed, InfoCaster media players receive and decode video and audio content at the various display points, operating in a store-and-play configuration.

Various levels of synchronization are built into the operation. The InfoCaster players output synchronized AV content at the signs, as well as audio-only content at loudspeaker points in lieu of a Muzak or similar audio playout system. Audio and video synchronization is built into the signage software, eliminating the requirement for traditional hardware frame syncs.

Low-latency is one significant benefit of the system. Spectators watching a game from a suite may have one eye on the court and one on the digital sign. The system ensures that the live action on the court matches what’s on the screen.

The signal flow, along with overall system latency built into the network, eliminates the delay problems. Live HD-SDI shots from various cameras are transmitted via fiber to the NetVX bank, where the signals are encoded and distributed through the network to the InfoCaster media players for decoding and playout. The entire process takes less than one second, ensuring that live action and display screens are essentially synchronized.

Advertising Playout

Back in the control room, the signage system operator is also managing advertising playout. Moments of exclusivity campaigns also require interoperability between the Harris and Daktronics systems. This centralizes control to support effective, simultaneous playout of campaigns for these events.

This is where Harris IT Services’ comprehension of Cisco routers and switches was perhaps most valuable. There is an inherent challenge in synchronizing content over several unique subnets. In most cases, content divided among more than one subnet with naturally be out of sync by several frames.

The IT integration team configured the overall network so that network time protocols were permitted to travel among the different subnets unabated. This enables the InfoCaster Network Manager to trigger Moments of Exclusivity for simultaneous playout across the facility.

This could not be accomplished without interoperability between the Harris and Daktronics system. In advance of a Moments of Exclusivity campaign, a Daktronics operator directs InfoCaster to distribute a trigger to every player in the building. The message is passed over a fiber connection to InfoCaster Network Manager, which triggers the campaign for broadcast both inside the bowl and to the 1,100 digital signage screens outside the bowl.

The final cog in the digital signage system is the Punctuate advertising software. The signage operator builds playlists and identifies pockets of time for advertisements. The Network Manager component provides the program content, noting avails for commercial spots. Punctuate recognizes the avails and fills them with ads to fulfill campaigns. The signage operator identifies high-traffic areas and potential demographics during the playlist building process, establishing requirements for Punctuate to follow for advertising playout across the network.

The integrated production and distribution system for digital signage and IPTV content includes all the components the Orlando Magic needs to present event action, wayfinding information, promotions, local traffic and weather updates, and external advertising on scoreboards, television monitors and digital display signs in virtually every location on the premises. The cooperation of Harris, Daktronics, and PCS across multiple network and hardware integration levels—along with assistance from broadcast systems integrator Diversified Systems— has resulted in a unique multimedia and entertainment experience for every spectator that enters the building.

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