Yesterday, I briefly covered how to use iPads as digital signage for conference rooms (and other places too). I covered it in a more in-depth fashion on the UMHB Web Services blog.

With the Kiosk Pro app, it’s possible to control settings on the iPad remotely using a simple XML file.

Why?

I’m glad you asked. That’s one of my favorite questions. What if your boss wants to make a super special graphic for a super special guest and display it on the iPad signage? That’s a great idea! The problem is that your office is a quarter-mile away and in a different building.

So, you could put on your hiking boots and trek across campus to change the content on the iPad, or you could just change the XML file that the iPad references. Easy peasy!

Kick it up a notch

Since 10 of our iPads display content on the same template, you could host 10 different XML files… OR… you could make a simple PHP script to generate the XML file on the fly. I prefer the latter!

The trick is that the Kiosk Pro app only works if the file is named settings.xml. So, we had to employ a little mod_rewrite action to trick the app. When you ask for /ipads/[ROOM_ID]/settings.xml, my Web server knows to serve up /scripts/ipads/settings.php?room=[ROOM_ID].

Then, we’re in business.

Putting it all together

I made the cheesiest, simplest little PHP script. It takes one input, room ID, and it outputs the XML for the kiosk. I’m telling you, this is laughable, but it may just benefit one or two of you who want to do this.

All that’s left is to point to the XML file on your iPad and set the update frequency to 1 minute. It’ll grab the file, update all of the settings, and you’ll be off to the races.