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Integrating InformaCast Fusion with Carousel using CAP

July 16, 2019

Carousel has always had the ability to respond to incoming CAP (common alerting protocol) messages, giving you the ability to activate bulletins using other systems that can generate CAP commands. InformaCast Fusion recently introduced the ability to generate such commands. This article will walk you through the basic steps involved in setting up the InformaCast system and Carousel in order to complete the integration.

Let's start with the Carousel configuration:


Set Up a Bulletin for CAP

We need to have these bulletins pre-created for our various incoming CAP messages.  For our purposes, we will assume that we only want to create a general purpose bulletin to be triggered in the event that an incoming CAP message is received.  If your scenario is more complex, then repeat these steps for each variety of incoming CAP message.

Create a New Bulletin from a Template

Choose a template or create a new one that matches the layout and design of the kind of bulletin you want to use to display the incoming CAP message.

Customize the Bulletin Layout

We are going to need the bulletin to have a text block for each node of the CAP message that we want data from.  CAP follows a standard so all compliant messages will have an EVENT and a DESCRIPTION node. Let's start there.

We will make sure that our bulletin has a text block named 'event' and one named 'description'.  It isn't important the actual text that is contained within them at the moment as that text will be replaced with the text in our CAP message.

The rest of the bulletins look and feel are completely up to your creative impulses.  The only thing that is imperative is that we name the appropriate text blocks correctly.

Schedule the Bulletin

Since we don't want this bulletin to display immediately, we are going to leave the schedule as Always Active but uncheck all of the Daily Availability days. 

Settings and Tags

Now go to the Settings tab and make this bulletin an Alert if its not being created in a Full Alert zone.  After all, we want to ensure that this bulletin is displayed immediately when it's created. 

The last thing we want to do before publishing is to Tag the bulletin with a semi-unique tag.  You'll notice in the initial example the URL contained a list of tags. These tags are how the system knows which bulletins to target, so you shouldn't have any bulletins that you don't want triggered to share the tag or tags you apply.

Publish the Bulletin

Since we de-selected all of the availability days, this bulletin will remain in upcoming bulletins and will not display until we trigger it with a CAP message.

Configure and Test CAP in Carousel

Navigate to the CAP settings page in the Carousel UI at Configure > System > CAP.  Here you can set the global CAP token, see what CAP messages have been received and when, do some testing, and get the URL you should use for CAP POSTs.

Configure your CAP Token

The CAP token is a security token to ensure that incoming CAP messages are authenticated in some way.  The value is used in the URL that CAP messages are POSTed to.  This setting is global, so if you have already configured CAP services outside of Carousel, do not change it or those integrations will stop working.  

Choose Tags to Target

Choose what bulletin tags you wish to target. These should match the tags we tagged our bulletin with.  Once you've chosen a tag, the URL For This Test will contain the URL that you should use to POST CAP messages at.  

Test Your CAP Message

You can trigger a CAP message from your external system or paste the XML from your system into the text box on screen and test using the UI.  Either way you should see the newly sent CAP message appear in the list of received CAP messages and get some indication of if bulletins were triggered, or if there were errors.

Disabling Triggered CAP Bulletins

Bulletins triggered by CAP can be disabled manually in the UI or, they can be disabled by sending a CAP message to the same URL with the text CLEAR in either the event or description XML nodes inside the info node.

Next, perform the following steps in the InformaCast Fusion UI


You'll need to add an Outbound CAP Collaboration Group

An outbound CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) collaboration group allows you to post the contents of a message template’s Subject and Body fields to your endpoints that support consumption of CAP messages, e.g. digital signs.

Before you can send notifications to your CAP-supporting endpoints, you need to add outbound CAP collaboration groups.

Step 1.       


Go to Recipients | Collaboration Groups | Outbound CAP. The List Outbound CAP Collaboration Groups page appears. 


Step 2.       Click the Create icon. The Create Outbound CAP Collaboration Group page appears. 


Step 3.       Enter a name for your collaboration group in the Name field, e.g. Elementary Classroom Signs.


Step 4.       Enter a location in the Location field, e.g. Elementary School.

The Location field is a free-form text field that can be used by your receiving system, e.g. the CMS of a digital sign system, to route the notification to certain endpoints. For example, there is an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school. All have digital signs managed by a central Content Management System (CMS). You could set the Location field for each school, e.g. Elementary, Middle, and High, and set filters in the CMS to only post messages with the Elementary location to signs located in the elementary school.


Step 5.       Click the Create icon next to the Connection Configuration dropdown menu. The Add Connection Configuration pop-up window appears. 




Step 6.       Enter a name for your connection in the Name field, e.g. K12 Carousel Signage.


Step 7.       Enter a URL in the Connection URL field. This is the Carousel URL that will receive InformaCast Fusion’s notification data. The url will contain the token you configured earlier in Carousel as well as the tag you wish to target 


Step 8.    Click the Add button. You’re returned to the Create Outbound CAP Collaboration Group page.


Step 9.    Select the connection configuration you just created from the Connection Configuration dropdown menu.


Step 10.    Click the Save button. Your collaboration group is saved.

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