And having surfed a night or 3 on the web, I knew one thing. That Digital Signage is going to cost a lot of money.Sander Brand
Imagine you work at a radio station with a bunch of volunteers and giving your heart and soul into making your own show and broadcasting it into the world for everybody to hear. In this day and age, sound isn’t enough anymore, people want to be engaged with live streams and visual effects. As the new and youngest kid, I was given the challenge to find out how we could stream our radio station on the internet. And boy, was it challenging.
Digital Signage what’s that and what now?
First of all, I had no idea how I would set up our live stream, I knew that you could stream webcams and game-play to YouTube live but that wasn’t enough for me. I needed a program that could send actual weather, traffic and news without having humans to interfere (Skynet is watching). It had to be automated and updated automatically.
That’s when I learned about Digital Signage. The possibility to send information to any screen or any website that you want it to appear. And having surfed a night or 3 on the web, I knew one thing. That Digital Signage is going to cost a lot of money. High end developers offer great packages with dedicated servers, players and monthly subscriptions at $$ that make your head spin. For multi-million dollar companies a piece of cake, for a radio station run by volunteers a deathblow.
The lifesaver was nearby all along!
I was thinking, screw it all! No automated updates, no fancy sliders, no weather report. Just the basics. My good old pal PowerPoint. Who didn’t grow up with that bugger at High school? But then, like a godsend. My eye fell on the website PresentationPoint.com and knew, salvation is near.
PresentationPoint and PowerPoint
PresentationPoint specializes on making add-ons for PowerPoint, Add-ons that are interactive and can bring your presentation to live. I knew this is gold and the extensions I needed to get going. After a great chat with one of the company employees I was given a demo of PresentationPoint’s DYNAMIC ELEMENTS to experiment with the settings. Which I did and the results are amazing. So get your apron on and let’s get cooking!
Recipe for success
– 1 (preferably 2) pc’s
– PowerPoint 2013 (or up)
– PresentationPoint’s DYNAMIC ELEMENTS
– RSS Feeds
– Streaming software (OBS, XSPLIT)
– A feeling for graphic design
– Glass of Whiskey (or beverage of your choice)
Before cooking: Install all the Dynamic Elements and open PowerPoint. They will appear in the ribbon at the top as an extra tab to choose from.
Step 1: Design your slides (or download them)
First step is to design your slides how you want the look and feel of them. A feeling for graphic design is advised. If you are not so creative, PresentationPoint has lots of templates pre-made. Check them out here.
I designed my own in the colors of our Radio station. As an example, a radio show slide, a weather slide, traffic information slide and a news slide that gathers news with the help of an RSS-feed.
Step 2: Let Dynamic Elements do its magic
Using Dynamic Elements is really easy to use. After you have installed the plugins, select them from in PowerPoint.
For the news, you should google your favorite news site and take the RSS-feed information from them. You can select how long a news item should be displayed and how frequent the RSS feed should be updated. It is also possible to show news items with photos or not.
If you are a bit crafty, it is possible to show the photo of the news item next to the text like a real pro. We used a local news site so the news gets updated automatically and human error is ruled out. We did the same for the weather slide that gets its information from Yahoo Weather. For traffic, we used a RSS-feed from the traffic information site. We mixed in a few slides about radio program information and our interactive PowerPoint is done.
Step 3: Install PresentationPoint ShowPoint
Free of charge ShowPoint is a nifty program that automatically detects the PowerPoint presentation you made. It is wise to install it on a different PC then you have the PowerPoint on, so you can leave the slideshow unbothered forever. ShowPoint can find your PowerPoint across your network and as soon as you edit your PowerPoint it will automatically update the slideshow.
Step 4: Take a sip of whiskey
Step 5: Broadcast online!
Now with the broadcast software like XSplit it’s possible to go online. Load up the PowerPoint ShowPoint in as a scene, load up your webcams, select the audio source and press broadcast and you are live on YouTube! When we are not live, we keep the PowerPoint as a scene online so there is always information present at our streaming channel. With the flip of a switch we can select the webcams and broadcast our radio studio online. With the help of PresentationPoint we were able to realize a full functional digital signage for our radio-station. Without the Dynamic Elements from PresentationPoint this would not be possible. So thank you PresentationPoint!