Areas where the general public have to wait for an appointment often have notice boards on the walls, advertising all manner of things, from upcoming classes, to general notices such as shop/practise opening hours, or public health advertisements.
These notice boards often look ‘unkempt’, even ‘tatty’, and the general public never seem to take the time to read them. This can often mean that many people miss what could be important information.
Also, increasingly, shop owners are looking for ways to advertise their products either in their shop windows, or actually in their stores, often behind the counter, to be viewed by customers waiting to be served.
In the late summer of 2013, we were asked by a long-time friend and customer to develop a system that allowed them to have a full colour, moving graphics display, but importantly, that they could change themselves as seasonal and special offers became available.
We turned to the hugely successful Raspberry Pi for inspiration, and we now have three separate systems, with three methods of controlling the Pi’s display.
Unusually, for something as tiny as a Pi, it has a wonderful video system that will output full HDMI to give almost cinema-quality graphics with full stereo sound capabilities. While the sound system is mostly unused in our application, the Pi’s superb video capabilities are used to give vibrant, memorable images and graphics.
The three different systems are thus:-
- The first system (ADS01) is the for premises that don’t have a broadband or wireless Internet connection. This is usually smaller shops or offices who don’t have the time, or man-power, to worry about the advertising. Depending on the package chosen, we will come round every fortnight or month, and simply switch out the Pi’s SD card for a new one.
The new card contains the advertising for the following fortnight or month. Our team of top graphic designers will then work with the client over the next few days to put together the package of advertising for the following fortnight or month.
We find this system works well for those shop-owners who simply want full-screen, catchy advertising, but don’t have the time or inclination to do it themselves.
- The next system (ADS02) is Internet connected, and on switch-on, the Pi will automatically load files from TCK servers not available to the general public. The images stored on the TCK servers are only accessible by TCK engineers. This means the customer merely has to give us a call, tell us the changes they need, and normally within an hour, and a simple reset of the customer’s Notice Board, the system is up and running with the changes in place.
- The final system (ADS03) is a ‘hybrid’ of the first two systems.
With this system, the images and even movie-clips are stored locally on the Pi itself, but administration of the Pi is done through a standard Web browser by the client themselves.
With this system, the Pi can be set to visit websites for any length of time, but it will also play advertising movie clips, or show photos -again at any time. These images and movie clips are ‘uploaded’ to the Pi by the customer from their web browser.
We find that this system is particularly popular with ‘tech-savvy’ customers who like the idea of being in full control of their advertising.
All a display needs to function is one 13A mains socket -the Pi takes its power directly from the screen, so no extra plug needed.
If the customer is using the ADS01 system, then that really is all there is to it. The ADS01 really is ‘Plug-And-Play’.
If, however, the customer has opted for the ADS02 or ADS03 and they have a wireless Internet connection, then our commissioning engineer only needs to set this up once with the user name and password of the wireless system when first commissioning the system.
If the customer has a wired Internet connection and they have purchased the ADS03, then on first switch-on, the screen will give instructions to the user as to how to access the screen’s pages via the Internet. To see an examples of this, simply enlarge the image up here to the left.
Note: With any TCK Notice Board System, there is absolutely no external advertising ever shown on any of the screens. These screens are not ‘part-funded’ by any external advertising whatsoever. Whichever screen system is chosen, the customer always has total control of whatever is displayed. We feel this is a very important message to get across!
For pricings of the various systems, click here.
We are currently working on systems with Raspberry Pi’s that not only integrate displays, but also the Pi’s excellent input/output facilities.
More specifically, this involves electronics, LEDs and servo motors.
This opens up a very exciting line of shop window displays where physical robotics can be integrated with moving graphics and screen displays. This is still very much in development, but as soon as we have something to show, we’ll be annoucing it here.