ChromeOS Flex for Digital Signage

What is ChromeOS Flex?

ChromeOS Flex is an exciting new operating system for Macs, Linux devices, and PCs. ChromeOS Flex was designed to make older devices faster and more secure.

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Why is ChromeOS Flex important for digital signage customers?

Many customers have older devices, or even newer devices that aren’t compatible with certain digital signage softwares. ChromeOS Flex allows these customers to enroll devices in the Google admin console, and lock them down in kiosk mode. Kiosk mode makes digital signs tamper proof and secure. Flex also allows users to control updates, and enables digital signage software to work with the operating system seamlessly.

What devices are ChromeOS Flex compatible?

Google is constantly adding to the list of ChromeOS Flex certified devices. One example is the AOPEN Ace Mini, which we recently reviewed. View the full list of ChromeOS Flex certified devices HERE. This list will indicate whether a device is certified, if minor issues are expected, or if major issues are expected.

Flex works on most Windows, Mac, and Linux devices made over the last 10 years. For every certified model the following actions are guaranteed to work:

  • Audio input, at least one method
  • Audio output, at least one method
  • Internal display, if present
  • Video output
  • Installation
  • Network—Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or both, if present
  • Touchpad, if present
  • Keyboard
  • Sleep and resume
  • System UI and graphics
  • USB
  • Webcam, if present

These actions are not guaranteed to work:

  • Automatic screen rotation
  • Bluetooth
  • Keyboard shortcuts and function keys, such as brightness and volume
  • Touchscreens
  • SD card slots

What about devices that aren’t on the certified models list?

Flex might work with no issues on devices that aren’t already listed as certified models, but Google can’t guarantee that it will work properly between updates.

How do you install Flex?

Installing ChromeOS Flex is simple. First, you’ll need a USB drive to create a bootable version of Flex to try before installing. Next, install Flex to replace your current operating system. Finally, add Flex to other devices with a USB drive or through network deployment.

How is ChromeOS Flex different than ChromeOS?

  • Security
    • Verified boot and Google Security Chip: ChromeOS devices have a Google security chip built in. This security chip enables devices to use verified boot, a procedure which prevents devices from booting up if they are infected. Since Flex devices don’t have a Google Security Chip built in, verified boot is not available.
    • Firmware Updates: Flex devices do not automatically update BIOS or UEFI firmware as ChromesOS devices do.
  • Virtual Machines and Apps
    • Google Play and Android apps: Not supported on Flex.
    • Virtual Machines: Flex does not support running Windows virtual machines.
  • Performance
    • Some performance factors vary by model such as: Boot Speed, Battery Life, and Power Savings
  • Device Management
    • Zero-touch Enrollment: Not supported on Flex.
    • Forced re-enrollment: Not supported on Flex.
    • Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol: Supported on Flex.

View the FULL LIST of differences.

Best Practices for Deployment

  • Enable Secure Boot
  • Clear and Enable TPM
  • Restrict bootable media and BIOS or UEFI access
  • Only use official Flex Images

View the FULL LIST of Best Practices.

 

How to Insert a Form using the Google Forms Widget

  1. From your Dashboard go to [Content] -> [Presentations]
  2. Click [Widgets] near the top left and click [Google Form] from the drop-down
  3. In the Google Form you would like to use, click the [Send] button in the top right
    1. Click the tab to send by link and copy the URL
  4. Back in Arreya paste the URL for your Google Form into the URL field of the Google Forms Widget
  5. If you have copied the correct link, you should see a preview of your Google Form above the URL text box. If you have the correct preview click [OK]
  6. The new widget will appear in the middle of the presentation
  7. The widget can now be moved, resized, or edited just like any other widget
    1. Click and drag the center of the widget to move the widget. Click and drag an edge or corner to resize the widget
  8. Click the purple brush icon below the Google Form widget to open the style settings, just like any other widget
    1. In the style settings there are options for transparency, borders, shadows, and more
    2. When finished, click [Ok]
  9. If you want to adjust the Google Forms widget after adding it to the page, click the purple gear icon below the widget to open the settings menu.
  10. When you are finished, click the green [Push Live] button to update your presentations
Choosing the Chrome Management License for Your Project

Choosing the Chrome Management License for Your Project

To remotely manage your Chromeboxes and other Google hardware that runs ChromeOS, you need to subscribe to a Chrome Management License. There are 4 types of services as listed by Google,  and you choose the one that best suits your project. When you subscribe, you specify the number of subscription licenses that you need, based on how many Chrome devices you want to enroll. How you pay for licenses (subscription type) depends on what service you subscribe to.  All the licenses allow you to lock the device into a 1 app kiosk mode. This gives you confidence that your devices are secure and not being hijacked to unwanted URL’s.  Your Arreya digital signage channel will be the 1 app shown on your device.

The four different service types of Chrome Management Licenses for Chrome OS Devices:

Chrome Enterprise Perpetual

The Chrome Enterprise license allows you to configure policies and settings for Chrome devices, manage users, manage apps, configure networks, and more. Chrome Enterprise includes 24/7 Enterprise support from Google. The perpetual license is valid for the life of the device but can be transferred to a like device in the event of a device issue. This license is a great choice for digital signage as it allows you to “set it and forget it” and not worry about renewing the licenses yearly.

Chrome Enterprise Annual

The Chrome Enterprise annual license gives you all of the same features as the perpetual license, but is billed annually instead. Licenses purchased mid-term are able to be prorated to align renewals to the same date. The license allows you to configure policies and settings for Chrome devices, manage users, manage apps, configure networks, and more.

Chrome Education and Nonprofit Perpetual

The Chrome Education and Nonprofit licenses allows access to the same features as the Chrome Enterprise perpetual license at a lower cost for Education and Nonprofit organizations. The license allows you to configure policies and settings for Chrome devices, manage users, manage apps, configure networks, and more. The perpetual license is valid for the life of the device but can be transferred to a like device in the event of a device issue.

For more information on each service type of Chrome Management License, refer to the description in the Arreya online store.

Annual vs. Perpetual

Perpetual Management Licenses are available for Chrome Education, Chrome Enterprise, and Chrome Nonprofit.
  • Covers the life of the device it’s enrolled to.
  • If you encounter a hardware issue and need to replace a device, you can transfer the subscription to another device of the same model (or equivalent manufacturer-provided replacement).
  • You can’t transfer a subscription from one device model to another in the same domain.
  • You can’t transfer a subscription to a device in another domain.
  • Transfers are audited.
  • We recommend reviewing the Auto Update policies for each device before you purchase a perpetual subscription.
Annual Management Licenses are only available for Chrome Enterprise.
  • Bought per subscription term and can be renewed when the term ends.
    • I got subscription licenses for Chrome Enterprise using the Admin console—Add your billing information to your subscription in the Admin console to automatically renew licenses at the end of each term. If you opt out of automatic renewal or don’t add your billing information, you’ll have to manually renew licenses when the term ends.
    • I have subscription licenses with an authorized partner—When the term ends, you need to manually renew licenses by purchasing an additional subscription term from your authorized partner.
  • Currently, there is no flexible plan available.
  • You can unenroll a device and transfer the subscription to another device (of any model) in the same domain.
  • You can’t transfer a subscription to a device in another domain.
  • If you purchase additional annual subscriptions mid-term, the cost is prorated and the new subscription expires at the same time as your original subscription.


Features by Chrome Management License

Chrome Enterprise License Service

 

Services governed by the Chrome Services License Agreement

Chrome Enterprise, Chrome Education and Chrome Nonprofit services allow you to configure settings and enforce policies for specific Chrome devices. You can control user access, customize features, configure network access, and more. Choose the service that’s right for your organization type.

Chrome Kiosk service gives you access to the settings you need to configure, deploy, and monitor a Chrome device as a single-app kiosk. It’s perfect for a device that’s used exclusively as a kiosk, such as a digital sign or point-of-sale system in a store. However, it can’t be used for public-session kiosks. This service is only available to business customers.

So which one is right for you?

For most Arreya digital signage subscribers, we recommend the Perpetual Chrome Enterprise Management License. A one time cost for the life of the device, there is no annual cost for updates or renewals. Google offers this license to non-profit 503c entities and certified educational entities at a large discount . This makes purchasing a large quantity of licenses very affordable. For projects that have a set cut off time, the Kiosk annual license may be the cost friendly alternative to the perpetual license. Contact us to discuss 319-294-6671, info@arreya.com or For more information go to Service and subscriptions.

Inserting a Google Chart using the Google Chart Widget

  1. Make sure you have your data ready in Google Sheets
  2. In your Google Sheet, click on the Share icon
  3. Expand the [Get Link] section. Change the access permissions to ‘Anyone with the link’. This will enable Arreya to read the sheet and create a chart out of it.
  4. Once you have it set to Anyone, click the [Copy Link] button.
  5. Go to your Arreya Presentation
  6. While in your Presentation, click on the Widget dropdown and select [Google Chart]
  7. Paste in the Link to your Google Sheet and then click “Next”
  8. Once it recognizes your link, it will open in the editor
  9. Change your Google Chart so it is displayed how you are wanting it to be shown and then click “OK” to insert it into your Presentation

Getting started with Chrome Enterprise Management

This article will give you an overview of your Chrome Enterprise Management (CEM) and the Google Admin console.

 

Logging in to your Google Admin console

The Google Admin console is where you take advantage of the Chrome Enterprise Management product. The Admin console is a cloud based website that allows you to remotely manage many aspects of your Chrome devices.

  1. You can access the Google Admin console from any computer with an internet connection by going to admin.google.com
  • Your login to this account will most likely be admin@channel.arreya.com with channel being replaced with your Arreya channel name.
  • If you are using your own Google Apps domain for CDM, you will login to the console with an email address on your Google Apps domain. You may need to contact your IT administrator for access.
    If you are signed in to another Google Account on the computer, you may have issues logging in to this site as it does not work with normal Gmail accounts.
  • If you get an error when trying to log in, try going to accounts.google.com and logging out of all of the accounts, or open an incognito tab (Ctrl+Shift+N) which will not have any accounts saved.

  1. This is what you will see when you first log in to your Google Admin console.

Chrome Enterprise Management

Frequently Asked Questions

Click a link below to be taken to the knowledge base article.

 

How do I move a Chrome device in the Admin Console?

How do I create an Organizational Unit (OU)?

How do I configure Chrome Kiosk settings?

How do I see information about each Chrome device?

How do I give my devices recognizable names?

How do I reboot one of my Chrome Devices or get a screenshot?

How do I add users to the Admin console?

How do I give a new user access to Admin console functions?

How do I pre-configure a wireless network?