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Stacks Admin Interface

Using the Stacks Digital Signage platform admin interface.

Introduction

Stacks is an advanced digital signage platform for building dynamic sequences of multimedia.

Multiple display candidates are stacked vertically and dynamically chosen by evaluating user defined conditions. Conditions can incorporate date and time, geographic location and custom data.

Administration of large numbers of sequences is simplified by creating shared base sequences. This allows a user to be granted the ability to only modify a subset of items displayed on a screen. By using the stacking concept and powerful multi-user access controls, complicated dynamic sequences can be constructed for showing worldwide, national, regional and local advertising on an unlimited number of screens.

Admin Interface

The admin interface is used to manage multimedia, sequences, screens, users, groups and cloud configurations. The functionality available to a user is configurable.

Sign in with password

Click the sign in with password button to sign in to the administration interface.

Sign In

An email address and password is required to sign in to the admin interface.

If you do not know your email address or password you must contact your digital signage manager or reseller.

Sequences

Sequence

Click the new sequence button to create a new sequence.

Sequence Dialog

The general tab allows a label, type and defaults to be specified for the sequence.

The populated by media RSS feed option periodically synchronises items from a media RSS source. This is typically used to pull live news items from sources such as BlueFox or ScreenFeed.

The populated by e-mail option enables the platform to receive media e-mailed to a special address and adds the media to the sequence.

Default values are applied when adding new items to the sequence.

The advanced tab is used to configure advanced sequence settings. A base sequence can provide default items and restrictions for the sequence. An administrator may require a specific base to be used to control how your digital signage device operates.

Transition animations can be configured to provide visually pleasing movement between items in a sequence.

Multiple devices playing the same sequence can be synchronised. See Playback Synchronisation for more information.

The frame tab allows the items in the sequence to be framed. A frame may position or scale the main content and provide additional information to the sides. A frame can also be used to overlay branding above the main content.

The events tab allows triggers to be defined that perform actions and interrupt regular playback.

The access tab is used to grant additional users and user groups to access the sequence.

The data tab is used to add custom data to the sequence. The data may be used in condition evaluation or to store any additional information required.

(It is common for a sequence to be automatically created and to have a specific base sequence configured by an Administrator when you first sign in. Click edit to modify this sequence)

Slot Dialog

Slot 1

Click the stack heading to view options for configuring how the stack operates.

When the sequence is used as a base, stacking above can be disabled. This prevents the upper sequence from overriding items in this sequence stack or lower. Effectively, this guarantees items are displayed and can not be replaced by the upper sequence.

The maximum duration limits the duration of items in the stack. If an item exceeds the duration, it will not be displayed. If the item refers to another sequence, the sequence will only show enough items to consume the duration. It will auto-progress next time the sequence displays.

Stack Item Dialog

Click the add button in a slot to add a new item to a sequence. The item editor will be displayed.

The general tab allows a Label to be specified for the item. The label is useful for reporting and indexing purposes. The Duration option controls how long an image or web page displays before progressing to the next item. If a video is uploaded and this field is not modified, it will be populated by the length of the video.

The display tab is where the multimedia to be displayed is defined. There are 3 display types:

Display a single Item

Library

The Library button allows an item from the library to be selected to display in the sequence. The library functionality is not enabled for all users.

Upload

The Upload button allows a local file to be selected for upload. A new item will be added to the list below and will read "Pending". When the "Save" button is pressed the file will be uploaded and associated with the item. Multiple images and videos can be added with different resolutions. The player will select the best batch for the screen.

Internet

The Internet button shows a text field that can be used to specify the address of a Web page, Image or video. There are 4 types supported.

Make sure you press Add to add the new address to the list of resources.

Build

The Build button presents a list of tools for building content. Examples include Weather and Text RSS feeds. This list is dynamic, expect more options soon.

Display multiple items at the same time.

Use the library and sequence buttons to add items. Drag to position and resize them. Click numbered buttons to edit and remove each item.

Items can overlap. The numbers represent order of drawing to the screen. To raise an item to the top, click the center icon.

Display an inner sequence

Select the sequence to display. Remember the inner sequence will only display for the duration configured by the item. If the inner sequence is longer it will automatically progress by one item each cycle of the outer sequence.

The campaign tab is used to control when an item starts displaying, stops displaying and, by providing a target number of plays, the rate the item should be displayed. When a target is defined, the item is displayed in a given loop of the sequence by a probability condition. The probability of display is dynamically adjusted to meet a linear pacing defined by dividing the target play count by the period of time to display the item.

More about smart display pacing

The condition tab is used to control when this item is displayed. The text area provides the ability to write JavaScript like expressions using data in the system. Buttons provide helper tools for writing advanced conditions.

More about conditions

The advanced tab provides custom transition options (images only) and the ability to hide a sequence frame so that the item displays using the full screen.

The events tab is used to define what happens when the screen is touched, a key is pressed or a condition is true.

An event consists of two parts; a trigger and an action. When the trigger occurs, the action is performed. Actions include displaying a web page, playing another sequence, collecting data (such as an email address) or adding advanced data.

A trigger can occur at any time while the item is displaying and the action will interrupt the playback of the active item.

The data tab is used to add custom data to the item. The data may be used in condition evaluation or to store any additional information required.

Test Data Dialog

The test data dialog allows you to set data to be used when evaluating advanced conditions. For example the time, gpsLatitude and gpsLongitude can be set to test whether the item will display at a particular time or GPS location. This is also useful for testing expressions using custom data.

Screens

Screen

Click the new screen button to create a new screen.

Screen Dialog

When adding a new screen, the general tab displays software download links. When the software is installed on a device, a MAC address will be displayed. This MAC address must be entered into the MAC address field in the interface to associate the device with the screen entry in the admin interface.

A meaningful label can be assigned to the screen to help find it in the future.

The display tab is used to control what is displayed on the screen. The drop down list will contain all the sequences you have created. Select a sequence to start playback on the screen. When instant updates are available the next and previous control buttons will become available. Pressing these buttons will instantly change the item displayed on screen making it possible to remotely control the sequence.

For sequence playback, a player must be selected under the player tab.

The software tab controls the player software used to display the sequence on the screen. Custom player implementations are available to provide advanced functionality such as using cameras for audience analytics and additional data collection.

Commands can be sent to a device to perform maintenance and debugging:

CommandDescription
Send logSend log information to the server to help debug problems. (DS Loader v6+)
Send screenshotSend a screenshot of what is currently on the screen to the server. Please note, videos may be displayed as black when they are using hardware acceleration. (DS Loader v6+)
Clear dataDelete all downloaded images and videos stored on the device.
Restart appStop the app and start again.
Stop appStop the app and do not restart.
Reboot deviceShutdown and restart the whole operating system. Only works on rooted devices.
Upgrade DS LoaderUpgrade the loader software responsible for loading the player. Only works on rooted devices.

The location tab displays the current geographic location of the screen. If the device has GPS support, the location will be automatically updated. If no GPS device is available, the IP address will give a rough location. A location can also be manually specified.

The access tab is used to grant additional users and user groups to access the screen.

The data tab is used to add custom data to the screen. The data may be used in condition evaluation or controlling advanced player settings.

More about screen data

Users

Access to the platform requires an email address and a password. These credentials and other user related data is defined in a user item.

Administration interface features can be selectively shown and hidden to reduce complexity and simplify tasks. For example, a user may only be responsible for adding content to a sequence and only have the sequences tab visible. Another user may manage the screens and only need to screens tab visible.

Each user only sees the items they create unless they are granted access to other items. All items (including users) can be shared with other users using the access tab when editing items.

It is recommended that specific users are created to control API operations.

User

Click the new user button to create a new user.

User Dialog

The general tab allows a name, email and password to be specified. The email must be unique and is used when granting group access to objects in the system.

The location tab allows an address to be specified for the user. The search box allows an address to be found using google maps. An address can also specified by dragging the red marker or manually typing the address fields.

The advanced tab allows features to be enabled and a base sequence to be set. These options can only be enabled by another user with the features enabled already. The base sequence option restricts the sequences that can be displayed on the screen.

The auto setup tab speeds up the process of configuring the end user by automatically creating a sequence and screen for the end user.

The access tab is used to grant additional users and user groups to access to this user. If another user has access to a user they will be able to masquerade as the user and see all item that user has access to.

The data tab is used to add custom data to the user.

Groups

A group is useful for granting one or more users access to many items in a single operation. For example, newly registered users can be automatically added to a group. A special user can be given access to the group and act as an administrator for all the users.

Groups can be used for sharing items. For example, multiple library items can be added to a group then access to the group can be given to multiple users to form a shared library. Screens and sequences can also be grouped and managed by multiple users.

Group

Click the new group button to create a new group.

Group Dialog

The general tab allows a label and a name to be defined for a group. The name must be unique and is used when granting group access to objects in the system.

The members tab lists all items assigned to a group. Everything in this list will be accessible to the users on the access tab.

The access tab is used to grant additional users and user groups to access to all the members in this group.

The data tab is used to add custom data to the group.

Library

The library makes it easy to reuse images and videos. An item can be uploaded into the library once and added to many sequences quickly and easily. Each item in the library can be shared with multiple users or groups of users and can act a template supporting modifications such as adding custom text.

Item

Click the new item button to create a new item for the library.

Library Dialog

The library dialog provides a similar set of options to the stack item dialog. Please refer to the stack item dialog section.

Cloud Configuration

The domain name and path used to access the digital signage platform selects a cloud config. The cloud config controls branding, customisations and advanced settings. For example, the domain demo.example.com may allow anonymous registrations and assign users to the user group demo which has a sequence with restrictions imposed by a shared base sequence. The welcome logo, color scheme and favicon may all be customised and different default player applications, languages and timezones configured.

Branding Tools

The following web sites can be used for creating compatible bootstrap 3 theme CSS.

OAuth2 Configuration

Sign in can delegate authentication to Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! OAuth2 providers. To enable, a client ID and client secret must be configured for each.

Reports

Reports provide access to data collected by the platform. This data includes user actions, proof of play and other collected data. Reports can be displayed in the administration interface or downloaded as a CSV for viewing in a spreadsheet application.

User Actions

All actions performed in the administration interface create user action records. The records form a comprehensive audit trail listing the changes made to screens, sequences, users and other items. It also includes failed sign in attempts and other important information. A user action record contains the following data:

The snapshot makes it possible revert to earlier revisions of an object. It also makes it possible to restore deleted objects. To revert changes or restore a deleted object. Edit the record and click save.

User Summary

A summary of users and groups including counts of accessible items and storage used. This report is built using the configured access controls and will show duplicates where items are shared between users and groups.

Display Reports

To collect data for display reports an item in a sequence must have the collect playback data option enabled. When the item is displayed on a screen a display report record is created. A display report record contains the following data:

Adding the option collectGps=true into the screen data will instruct the player to also collect the current GPS location and store with each display record.

Additional data associated with items and screens can be combined with display records when reports are generated.

Collected Data

The platform provides the ability to collect additional data. For example, an event can be created that allows a viewer to touch an advert and register interest for a product. Data collected can include email addresses, phone numbers or other text data. A collected data record contains the following data:

When a user is allowed to interact with a web page, each new web address visited will also be added to the collected data. Scanned barcodes and NFC tags will also be added to the collected data.

The collected data for each record is limited to 100 characters. If a web address or other data exceeds this length only the first 100 characters will be available.