We all know what a playlist is in the world of music. With the digital signage the user has a playlist but then for video files like images, video files and PowerPoint presentations. A digital signage playlist is a list of files that belongs to a logical group. At a tourist information center the user will see a given playlist with the information of tourist attractions in the direct neighborhood. At a shop the will find a playlist with product promotions, etc. A playlist is not just a list but a targeted and well though set to accomplish a goal.
With our digital signage software iPoint the user can set up playlists in the scheduler application. To start with a new playlist, give it a logical name. Then the user can start adding files to the playlist. Our clients often use just one PowerPoint presentation in a playlist because PowerPoint is a very powerful product to create a digital signage presentations with its different slides, transitions and animations. No other program can create digital signage presentations that easily. So just one PowerPoint file in a playlist is an often seen scenario. But the user can add images, videos and other PowerPoints to the playlist.
The PowerPoint is an ideal software for setting up a digital signage presentation because the user can easily add slides and add content like images to it. Per slide the user can determine how long an animation takes and how long a slide is shown. When the user use images directly in the playlist, then the user can only set a generic display duration time that is valid for all images in the playlist. So that when the user set the duration time to 12 seconds, then each image is displayed for 12 seconds, no matter what information that the user has on that image. Maybe it is just a graphic or slogan on the image, but sometimes there are pictures with multiple paragraphs of texts. So when the user have a mix of different pictures and picture content then the user will quickly understand why PowerPoint offers more functionality for setting up a digital signage presentation or playlist.
The only advantage of using images out of a PowerPoint presentation in a playlist, is when the user wants to display the images in an all-time different sequence to avoid boredom. With iPoint the user can specify how long an image is displayed and if the user wants to use a fixed or random sequence when playing.
Next to playlists with direct files in it, the user can also set up a digital signage playlist with folders. The advantage of using folders instead of files is that the user can be more flexible in playback because the content of the folder playlist is determined when the playlist starts. So that, with a file playlist the user will perfectly know what files will be played. With a folder playlist the user will know what folders are included but the content of the folder(s) can vary. The user can easily change the content of a folder by adding or deleting files in it. The iPoint server will monitor those folders of such a playlist and notify the digital signage player of iPoint that the folder content was changed. At the end of the playlist playback the player will restart with the new folder content.
The advantage of folder playlists is that the user can easily manipulate the digital signage playlist by adding and deleting files on file system level without changing the playlist definition at the administrator application. Let me give a situation at which folder playlists are ideal. The user has a party or an event for customers and the user take a picture of everyone when they enter the building, or move around and take random pictures. At several times the user can upload the pictures from the camera to the network share. Nowadays the user even have cameras with WIFI connections and other uploading capabilities. The user can upload the images immediately to a folder that is included in the folder playlist. The user can continue to take new pictures while the digital signage player will update its picture list and so display all images of a folder.
With a folder playlist the user can add of course multiple folders to the playlist. And the user have the possibility to include subfolders of the selected folders automatically.
Our digital signage solution iPoint allows the user to add files or folders to the playlist. As explained earlier file playlists are safe because the user know upfront which files will be played on the screens. With folder playlists the user has more flexibility but the user have to exclude the risk of unwanted content by setting proper access permissions on the network shares and users.
After the user have set up the playlist, the user can assign a playlist to a digital signage player and set the display period and time. The digital signage software will then distribute the playlist and all its multimedia files over the network or the internet to the digital signage players for timed playback.