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eBoard Messaging system using TV2s

TV2s as a cost effective implementation of a college message board system

After many a false turn and problem discovery (they lurk behind every corner) we finally have a generic styled multi user eBoard system. I’m finishing of the documentation still and will be training the relevant staff early next week on how it all works.

A few quick tips if your heading down the path though :

  • TV2s are near the cheapest solution you’ll find (until the RasberryPi)
  • You don’t need commercial grade TVs just get something BIG and currently TV2 is only capable of 720p, so no need for a super HiDef TV cause it’ll go to waste. Try and get a TV with an auto on and off timer, most TVs come wit this standard.
  • Teach the TV to recognise the TV remote as an TV@ remote.
  • Don’t forget you need HDMI cables too, The Apple ones available online are actually great for price and they’ll arrive with the devices.
  • If your behind a proxy – forget about internet connectivity (unless you have a Kolbe iProxy setup), this also means expect to take them offsite to do the required updates before installation as they have no proxy settings.
  • You will need a single dedicated machine and NO it can not be your server (Your Server is probably on a different vLAN by now anyway right?)
  • Figure out who your invested users are early, once people see it working during testing they’ll all want in. Having selected the managing staff early will make them endeavour to make it work (if it isn’t updated daily then you wasted a heap of money on what could have essentially been done with a printer).
  • Get a slick Keynote, intact get it so good that it can double as your College external presentations template, the branding will give all staff and students a sense of ownership too.
  • No matter what your ICT department thinks, it can be done, infact there are so many ways to do it I plan on posting the best way we have discovered.
  • AirPlay is awesome and dangerous… Make sure you know early on how you want to deal with AirPlay mirroring as it is the great extension of the device and is not easily traceable. Get your policy right before it goes in and let the staff know not to type passwords whilst mirroring.
  • Dropbox is your answer – for many reasons the most important of which is that the service automatically updates folders and connection even after outages. No need to write SSH keys and scripts.
  • Dropbox is your answer – yep its important enough to mentioned twice, this is the simplest way to control staff access and even student level access if you wish, just share the appropriate folder… so simple. Plus you effectively allow staff the freedom to share pictures and information from anywhere (imagine that Pilgrimage, Ski Trip or Conference being uploaded in real time)
  • Don’t rush it, the eBoards are a form of communication, it’s better to get them right than turn people off them by implementing them badly. Get the right people involved.