Expanding Chrome devices for use in Video Walls with USB HDMI adapters

Expanding Chrome devices for use in Video Walls with USB HDMI adapters

One common issue with the majority of the Chrome devices on the market today is the limitation of built in video outputs or Chrome device expansion for video walls. Devices like the ASUS Chromebit and the AOpen Chromebox Mini are limited to a single HDMI video output. Higher end Chromebox like the AOpen Chromebox Commercial, ASUS Chromebox CN60/62, or the Acer CXI2 have an additional video output in the form of a DisplayPort output which can be connected to the majority of modern displays either directly through the DisplayPort connector or via an adapter to convert the DisplayPort output to HDMI.

In Chrome OS R45, support was added for DisplayLink USB adapters that allow HDMI or DisplayPort outputs to be added to Chrome devices. https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=238785 The initial implementation only worked with DisplayLink USB 2.0 adapters, however Chrome OS R51 added support for USB 3.0 adapters. https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=572763

Various other bugs relating unified desktop mode and surviving reboots prevented utilizing these features for digital signage. https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=467193

https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=540606

USB HDMI chrome device expansion for video wallsWith the advent of USB DisplayLink adapter support in Chrome OS, we’re now able to add more video outputs to a Chromebox where we were limited before. This means that technically single output devices like the Chromebit and AOpen Chromebox Mini can drive more than one monitor. USB display adapter support was still limited, and only allowed multiple displays to be unified in 1 row. This limitation kept us from using the feature except in a few special use cases. 

Finally in Chrome OS R64, arranging external displays in unified desktop mode was fully implemented. This will allow Chrome OS Kiosk and WebUI apps to arrange and rotate as many displays as the hardware will support. With this feature fully implemented, multi-monitor video walls will be possible without using an additional video wall controller, matrix switch, or monitors with built in video wall functionality.

Video wall controllers scale and split a single video input for output to multiple monitors, this results in a loss in quality. Using a Chromebox with the built in video outputs and additional outputs via USB adapters, means that full resolution can be achieved on each monitor.

Arreya Tests on Chrome Device Expansion for Video Walls:

Asus Chromebox for Digital Signage and Kiosks

In our tests, we verified the display arrangement feature functions properly in Chrome OS R64 and we were able to create a 2×2 matrix of 1080p monitors. After unifying the four monitors, Chrome recognizes all four monitors as one 3840 x 2160 display that our kiosk app can display on as if it were one monitor.

A simple performance test was performed with an ASUS CHROMEBOX2-G015U Chromebox with the i7 processor. Playing a 4K video across the 2×2 video wall resulted in smooth playback. A higher end Chromebox with at least the i3 processor is likely going to be required for optimal playback across 2 or more screens.

This method of creating video walls without using an external video wall controller is still in the early stages. Currently, a higher end Chromebox required to run 3 or more displays in a video wall configuration isn’t cheap. As processing power increases and hardware costs continue to decrease we will see video walls become easier and more cost effective to implement for a broader range of clients.

Read more about Arreya Chrome integration on our website.

 

8 Places to Use Hospital Digital Signage

8 Places to Use Hospital Digital Signage

Many Uses to Go Digital In Hospital

Healthcare and hospitals are implementing hospital digital signage for marketing, information, digital donor walls and wayfinding than ever before. Streamlined communication with visitors, patients and employees saves time, money and frustration for hospital marketing teams and human resources Hospital digital signage informationdepartments.

8 Places to Use Hospital Digital Signage:

1. Hallways and Waiting Rooms – This is the best place to reach a broad crowd with upcoming events that are open to the public, honors earned by hospital staff members and departments, healthy living advice, and even weather forecasts and road conditions.

2. Cafeterias – Post menu boards in several locations in the cafeteria and maybe even just outside its door makes it easy for those browsing the menu to for customers to stand away from the serving line while they are still pondering what they crave.

3. Patient Rooms – Create a channel for patients to access on the television set that is already in patient rooms. It can display daily or weekly meal choices, special entertainment or opportunities for patients and their families, weather forecasts, and information about what patients can do to make their stay more enjoyable.

4. Donor Recognition WallsDigital donor walls and kiosks are a great way to create a fluid, easily updated and attractive list of donors, tell donor stories and recognize the work and dedication that has gone into capital campaigns, ongoing donations and specific projects. They can stand alone, or be part of a larger, more artistic donor recognition wall.hospital digital signage in cafeteria

5. Lobbies, Elevators and Stairways – Digital wayfinding can be interactive or static. It is easily updated when directions change, doctors or departments move, or building additions are built.

6. Breakrooms – Keep employees updated on upcoming event, policy changes, continuing education opportunities and hospital recognitions. Post birthdays and work anniversaries, and even the employee of the month.

7. History Displays and Hospital Museums – Older hospitals have a rich history in providing care for their communities. Share the history in an interactive display, or a slideshow of building projects, doctors who have served and made a difference, and breakthroughs that were made because of your staff through the years.

8. Healthcare Clinics and Pharmacies – Hospitals often have community clinics and acute care facilities for walkin patients and preventative care. Share upcoming health classes, wellness tips and staff information with patients as they wait.

Digital Signage Becoming Mainstream Hospital Communication

Digital signage will soon be mainstream in hospitals of all sizes, but when you are planning implementation consider rolling it out in phases. Learn how it works, what you can do with it and how you can get the most out of it. Then add more display channels or devices as the budget and staff availability to manage more displays allows.

Your hospital may not have use for digital signage in all of these places described, but more and more hospitals are implementing digital signage for 3 to 4 of these uses. Digital signage is not just for huge hospitals anymore. Arreya Digital Signage Suite has made it easy and affordable for even the smallest hospitals to have professional looking hospital digital signage.

Chrome, AOpen and Arreya Partnership Creates Eco-system for Easy Digital Signage

Chrome, AOpen and Arreya Partnership Creates Eco-system for Easy Digital Signage

Software, Hardware and CDM Help Make Beautiful Displays Without Frustration.

An intuitive creative suite, remote access to every device, and devices that will withstand commercial usage are just a few benefits of the partnership between Arreya Digital Signage Suite, AOPEN and Google. Understanding all of the elements of the digital signage ecosystem is the first step in deploying a system that is easy to use and meets the needs of your business or organization.

What is Arreya?

This cloud-based digital signage software was created with user experience in mind, from content management to deployment on devices. From video live streams to simple slideshows, and even calendar content from other sources. Page as a slideshow allows you to create a more dynamic display right inside of the creative editor.

  • Create and manage content in your browser
  • Remotely manage devices from your computer
  • Cloud-based digital signage offers instant updates
  • Interactive displays and noninteractive applications
  • Flexibility in creative editor and use scenarios
  • No contract lock-in
  • No proprietary equipment needed
  • Deploy the same content to hundreds or thousands of screen for one monthly subscription fee
  • Integrations with Google Charts, Google Sheets, Google Slides and More
  • Partnerships with leading companies like Google and AOPEN

Arreya is a complete solution for retail, marketing, employee communications, school signage and digital donor walls.

How Does AOPEN Work with Arreya?

Global technology company that offers general use commercial grade hardware. These are the only commercial grade Chrome OS devices in the world, and are created to be the most stable devices in the industry. They will withstand 24/7 usage, temperature changes to 140 degrees fahrenheit, and multiple users. They are designed for the least downtime possible, and  automatically restart when networks do go down.

AOPEN’s all in one devices are designed to be placed in public places. They have no power button, and when used in Kiosk Mode, they are locked down to only display the content the user wants on them.

  • Rugged and Enterprise-ready
  • Auto Power Resumption
  • Long Range AC Wi-Fi (PCI Security Level) via Dual Antenna and BLE
  • Secure Power Connector
  • Fanless, Solid State: Dual Independent Screen Support
  • Internal Circuit and PSU Protection
  • Anti-Shock and Vibration Protection
  • Selectable Powered RJ50 Ports for Commercial Applications

AOPEN also works with the best kiosk manufacturers in the world to make sure that mounting solutions are available for devices for any use.

How Does Google and CDM Come into Play?

Google Chrome is the inpoint for cloud-based solutions, and is the best, most reliable, flexible and simple to use platform for digital signage.

Chrome is designed to run on very low-end hardware, and Google does not charge manufacturers for Chrome OS, minimizing the cost per device. The simplicity of the design leave very little to go wrong.

With Chrome Device Management (CDM), you can control all of your devices from one easy to use console.

  • Turning devices on and off from anywhere
  • Configuring device policies including network configurations and player settings
  • Monitoring and notifications for key metrics and issues
  • Remote troubleshooting that sends screen grabs and reboot information
  • Works with touchscreen and non-touchscreen applications
  • Choose from public session or kiosk mode

Using Chrome Devices in Kiosk Mode Lowers Total Cost of Ownership. How?

  • 45% Reduction in management hours per device each year
  • 61.1% Lower initial device investment
  • 67.4% More efficient ongoing device management
  • 319% Three year ROI
  • $4,146 Average annual benefit per device per year

By using Arreya in conjunction with AOPEN Devices and Chrome Device Management, you have the complete digital signage package. Arreya has tested many scenarios in house to help streamline the process of creating and deploying digital signage. This reduces the stress and dependance on your IT department, and increases ROI for your company or organization.

Learn more about using these Using Chrome OS and Google Partners for simpler digital signage displays.

Chrome Device Management Now Mandatory for Kiosk Mode

Chrome Device Management Now Mandatory for Kiosk Mode

Chrome Devices Management (CDM) has always made managing digital signage convenient with remote management capabilities, device health notifications, and locking devices into kiosk mode. But now, Google has made it mandatory to have a CDM License in order to lock the device in Kiosk Mode.

What is Kiosk Mode?

On Chrome Devices, kiosk mode keeps your signage secure from passersby changing the web content it being shown. You have probably heard of kiosks run on a Microsoft platform being “hacked,” and suddenly showing porn or other unwanted content. This often happens when the kiosk goes down. When it comes up again, you get an error screen with an address bar that allows anybody to go to any website.

With a Chrome device in Kiosk Mode, the device is locked down for security, not just the display. After the device crashes, it send you a message from your CDM that the device is down. When your device restarts, which you can usually do remotely, your digital signage display comes back up in kiosk mode, with no address bar available for people to type in unwanted URLs.

What is Chrome Device Management?

Google Chrome Device Management is a product from Google that is required in order to run a Chrome application in “Single App Kiosk” mode. Kiosk mode allows a Chrome device to be locked down from tampering and allows it to run a single app at a time, in this case the Arreya client application.

There are currently two options for Chrome Device Management, ENTERPRISE and STAND-ALONE.

CDM for Enterprise

  • For organizations that already use Google Apps or are looking to start a Google Apps account
  • Requires a domain that you can verify you own https://support.google.com/a/answer/60216?hl=en
  • Verification must be completed before we can provide licenses

Stand-alone CDM

  • For organizations that do not use Google Apps or do not wish to start a Google Apps account.
  • No domain is required, you will access the Google Admin console with a provided account and username that end in deviceadmin.goog
  • Registration can be done using the following link: https://devicemanagement.google.com/signup/form?product=Chrome-Kiosk
  • After registering for a Chrome Device Management Trial, your account name, which ends in .deviceadmin.goog, will be used to provide licenses.

 

QUESTIONS? We are here to help. 319-294-6671 or e-mail us directly at info@arreya.com

 
 

AOpen Chromebase Mini for Digital Signage

AOpen Chromebase Mini for Digital Signage

Aopen Chrome Devices for Digital Signage new Chrome OS based Chromebox Mini and Chromebase Mini have a lot to offer for the digital signage and kiosk industry. These two products are AOpen’s first commercial Chrome devices targeted to a lower cost market. From a user standpoint, here are some thoughts, specifications, and how we plan on utilizing these two new devices released in 2017.

AOpen Chromebase Mini – Not a Tablet

AOpen’s latest addition to their Commercial Chromebase line of products, features a great looking 10.1” touch screen. The very first thing we noticed about this device was the weight, at 2.7 lbs this is not a tablet! The Chromebase mini is built for a commercial environment, an all metal enclosure makes it an admirable alternative to a cheap tablet for a high traffic, high use environment. Another feature differencing the Chromebase mini from a cheap tablet is the lack of an accessible power button to limit tampering with the device. We see this device being used for retail end-cap displays, conference room displays, calendar/scheduling displays, wayfinding, and many more use cases.

Aopen Chromebase Mini

The touch screen features 1280x800 resolution and supports up to 10 point multi touch. Overall the screen looks great and is a big win for this device. The Chromebase Mini shares most hardware specs with the Chromebox Mini and has similar processing power. Standard VESA mounting patterns on the back of the device make finding a mounting solution extremely easy. The HDMI output on the device is great to see for multiple monitor displays. The metal case makes it perfect for commercial use, or affordable enough for consumer use.

Our Pros:

  • Build quality, durability
  • Touch screen

Our Cons:

  • Non-standard 1280x800 screen resolution
  • Accessing the I/O ports can be cumbersome

Specs:

  • Panel: 10.1” 1280 x 800 250nits AHVA
  • Touch: 10 point multi-touch; pinch to zoom
  • CPU: Quad-Core Cortex-A17, up to 1.8GHz
  • DRAM: LPDDR3 Dual Channel 4GB
  • Storage: EMMC 5.0 16GB
  • FHD Webcam (2MP)
  • Built-in Dual Digital MIC and Stereo Speaker
  • WIFI+ BT4.0: 802.11 b/g/n/ac + BT4.0 x 1

AOpen Chromebox Mini

AOpen’s latest offering in their line of commercial grade Chromeboxes, is the aptly named Chromebox Mini. Just under 6″ x 1″, the device undoubtedly has one of the best form factors we have seen in a Chromebox. The Chromebox Mini comes with WiFi antennas which can be rotated to your desired angle, this inherently increases the footprint of the device but in tight environments, the built in ethernet connection can be used instead. The processing power of the Chromebox mini seems to be on par with similarly priced devices, although hardware specs are noticeably cut down from the rest of AOpen’s commercial Chromeboxes. Built in video output is limited to just one HDMI port. The Chromebox Mini also has a connection for a external power switch in the situation where the power button won’t be easily accessible.

The Chromebox Mini’s form factor and other features make it a great choice for someone looking for a powerful box for a traditional screen/player combo. The form factor of the device makes it easy to mount in existing enclosures and new installations. 

Our Pros:

  • Great form factor, easy mounting capability
  • Price: Just $189.00 USD MSRP
  • External power switch connector

Our Cons:

  • No mounting tabs or brackets out of box
  • Limited to 1 video output

Specs:

  • Fanless/non venting hole design
  • CPU:Quad-Core Cortex-A17, up to 1.8GHz
  • DRAM: LPDDR3 Dual Channel 4GB
  • Storage: EMMC 5.0 16GB
  • WIFI+ BT4.0: 802.11 b/g/n/ac + BT4.0 x 1
  • Dimensions: 5.75 x 3.8 x 0.94 in

QUESTIONS? We are here to help. 319-294-6671 or e-mail us directly at info@arreya.com

 
 

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Chrome Digital Signage Appeals to the Digital Native Employee

Chrome Digital Signage Appeals to the Digital Native Employee

Strategic Employee Communications

Digital natives have grown up with a small screen in their hand and a big-screen on the wall of almost every room in their house. It only makes sense that digital natives in the workplace will look to the digital signage for employee communications too.

There are many digital ways to get the word out to team members, but if the message is in multiple locations where employees work, take breaks, and walk to and from conference rooms, they are sure to get the message.

With Arreya Digital Signage Suite, you can put the information on office digital signage and at their fingertips with a shareable link. Whether you want to share information with people at your office locations, or those working at home or doing contracting work for your company, it’s easier than ever to keep everyone informed without filling their inbox with unread emails.

Improve Employee Communication Strategies

Create a Customer-Centric Team – Put up testimonials about team members or services that and make your employees proud to work for a company that cares about the work they do. Give employees something to strive for when they are helping customers too.

Acknowledge Good Deeds Internally – A great work environment is about everybody working together. Let managers and employees submit “happy notes” when a team member helps them out or goes above and beyond to resolve an issue.

Post Reminders About Special Events – Don’t let bad communication be the reason your employees miss important meetings, employee appreciation events or training opportunities. Add the information to digital signage that they can check in the office or at home.

Show Production Stats and Sales Goals – Give the whole team something to strive for and let them know when they hit production or sales goals. Call out the employees that had the highest numbers if it applies.

Screen Placement Matters in Employee Communications

Break rooms and company cafeterias are prime real estate for digital signage if you want your employees to take the time to read and discuss. In those places, you have a captive audience, and they will likely be looking at your signage, or down at their phones while they are there. The microwave will take 2 minutes to pop popcorn. That is plenty of time for your employees to read the most important information.

In the cafeteria, your employees will sit in their groups and discuss upcoming training opportunities, job openings that would be a great promotion, or what impacted a good or bad production day.

Each department may have its own information and statistics, so you may want different displays in production than you have in IT or administration areas of your building. All of the displays can reiterate the company wide messaging.

Hallways are a great place to put digital signage for employees to check back on. If your building is large and you frequently hire new people to your team, wayfinding signage is a great resource to add on touchscreens as well.

Digital signage will step up your employee communications, and get the right information to the right people. If you need help with digital signage hardware, and an easy-to-use software platform, contact Arreya today at 319-294-6671.