Carousel + BrightSign with Pete

August 3, 2018

Carousel + BrightSign with Pete

Hi, I'm Pete! I'm part of the Carousel sales team. Carousel supports a handful of media players, but one of our favorites is BrightSign. Carousel plus BrightSign is powerful combination for customers who want a digital signage network that allows for broad participation, helps keep content fresh, and values long term sustainability. Let's dive into the specific features we have developed to make the deployment of BrightSign seamless.

I can't quite say "if it's purple, we support it". But we do support the full line of Series 3 and Series 4 players. We also support the XD models from Series 1 and 2. This means you can mix and match BrightSign players to meet your needs. Even the dusty ones.

Unlike a lot of other CMS partners, we took the time to build our own custom BrightScript app to configure and display content on BrightSign players. The native app lets us control content caching, makes the players more responsive to content changes and creates a better deployment and management experience. Much more powerful than a little HTML.

There are three options for deploying the Carousel-for-BrightSign app. The first, and most common, is to simply copy the autorun.brs file that Carousel generates for you onto an SD card. This file contains all the information your BrightSign player needs to contact your Carousel server and start showing content. If you are installing oodles of players, & you have the networking know-how, we also support the DHCP Option 43 and Known-URL features which allow for true zero-touch deployment. Just plug the BrightSign player into the network and it will automatically find the server and start playing content! This makes it a snap for installers to get the signage network up and running fast.

Once the players are connected to the Carousel server you can manage them remotely; including changing network settings, display settings like rotation & frame rates, and video wall synchronization. You can also toggle the diagnostic tools remotely in case you need to troubleshoot. And as of a previous release, even remotely reboot players with the click of a button. You can also use player tags to quickly select and change settings on entire groups of players on the fly.

One of the more challenging aspects of managing a large digital signage network is updating the software and firmware of the players. Carousel will automatically update the BrightSign players when new versions of the software are deployed to the Carousel server. This is a great feature, but we take it one step further by allowing you to control which players are updated, so you can stage the rollout of firmware upgrades. This way you can control the impact to your network and help ensure upgrades go smoothly.

Carousel actively monitors all connected BrightSign players. We report the firmware versions, channels that they are playing, IP address, and the last time they checked in. If a player were to go offline for any reason (like Larry stealing another network cable) you will receive a notification. But don't worry, since the players cache all the content, odds are your customers won't even notice.

Carousel allows you to schedule channel changes by player.  This, combined with scheduling the display's on and off times gives you precise control of all the displays in your network. This is great for multi-use facilities or special events. In the K12 space, we see this used for community ed, or the dreaded parent-teacher conference night.

Content changes made in Carousel are synchronized onto the BrightSign players, including channel changes and our dynamic playlists. Unlike many other CMS providers who just leverage a polling method on the players, with Carousel we make sure the communication between the server and players is rock solid by using both a push and polling method. This way you can be sure emergency messages show up on your displays quickly. The BrightSign players can also post back details of all content played, generating reports for your team to download and use. All of this communication is wrapped in TLS so you can be assured that your data channels are secure.

We have been working closely with our friends at BrightSign since 2013 to develop the "tightest" integration possible. We know that Carousel plus BrightSign is a great choice for sustainable digital signage networks. We look forward to talking with you about your unique digital signage needs. Thanks guys! 

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