I spoke with Jackie from Lychburg recently, and she encouraged me to write about integrating e2Campus with FourWinds Interactive.

It’s a pretty straightforward process, but there are a few ingredients that might expedite your journey of using digital signage for emergency notifications on your campus.

First things first… this post assumes that you are using FourWinds Interactive for digital signage AND e2Campus for emergency notifications. If you’re not, this post will be pretty useless to you.

Step 0: Familiarize yourself with Channels in FwI

Head over to the FourWinds Wiki, and familiarize yourself with channels in the software.

Step 1: Activate the RSS Feed option in the Network tab in e2Campus

e2campus-rss-feedWe use the RSS Feed from e2Campus to trigger signage overrides at UMHB. There are other ways to do this, but I had the greatest success with RSS.

Feel free to click the screenshot to see how we have our RSS feed set in e2Campus.

  • I’ve changed the name from RSS to “Web / Signage.” This just helps our Police Department to know what it does when they send a message to this service.
  • I’ve changed the service to be “Active” and to be included as a default service. The default service setting just means that messages will go to this service unless the Police Department un-checks the box, rather than the other way around.
  • I’ve changed the “Duration” to be 30 minutes. This will stay on signage until the duration expires. This is just a default, and it can be tweaked on each message. We found that the default of 2 hours mostly annoyed people.

When you’ve got the RSS service activated in e2Campus, copy the RSS Feed URL from the page. You’ll need that in FwI.

Step 2: Set up the channel in FourWinds

channel-activationOn the General tab, give the channel a name and set it to be “Enabled.” Then, give it a Deployment ID… we used “CRUALERT” as our Deployment ID… it can be anything. Finally, set your polling interval. This is how often the players will check the RSS feed for updates. We’re using a polling interval of 5 minutes free samples of viagra.

On the Activation tab is where some of the specific e2Campus magic happens.

The Activation tab is how you tell the player to automatically override regularly scheduled programming and break in with your very important announcement. The best way that I found to do this with the e2Campus feed is to wake up when the RSS feed you copied in step 1, processed with the XPath

/rss/channel/item/link

starts with http

All that means is that if there’s a link in the first item in the RSS feed, wake the player up.

 

Step 3: Create a template for your channel

You’ll need a template with regions for your channel. These are exactly the same as your normal templates. We’ve got a red template with an annoying ticker on the bottom.

Here’s a Screencast of our emergency alert template.

Step 4: Create “Live Data” content for your new channel template

live-dataWe’ve created a channel, and we’ve set it up to automatically activate. Now we need to grab the text of the emergency alert from the RSS feed so that we can show it on the template.

  • So, choose “Live Data” from the sidebar, and paste the e2Campus RSS URL in the URL box here as well.
  • Select “XML” as the “Data format”
  • Click the “…” doo dad next to “Data format”
  • Type the following into the “XPath” box: /rss/channel/item/description

Finally, you’ll need to set up the layout. Again, you’ll click the “…” doo dad next to “Layout.” I don’t really remember how I set up the layout, but you can see a screenshot of how mine is set up.

Step 5: Subscribe all of your players to the channel

This is super easy. You just drag the channel to each player… one at a time. I do have a couple of channels. I have one for my normal landscape displays, one for my portrait displays, and one for our video wall with non-standard resolution.

Step 6: Deploy all the players and test it out

You know how to do this one. I would suggest you test it on your dev box at first, so that you don’t freak out your campus too much.

Bonus Step: Schedule regular tests in conjunction with Campus Police

We like to run at least one full test each semester. We’ll have sentries monitor signage and desktop alerts in various campus buildings. This helps to identify any trouble machines we may have.