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Integration of Appointment and Calendar Data in Digital Signage & Kiosk Applications

feature_dataIn addition to the powerful standard features that FrontFace for Public Displays (Digital Signage Software) and FrontFace for Touch Kiosks (Kiosk Software) have to offer, additional functionality can be easily added by so called plugins, which are available separately. Specifically, the plugins for integrating appointment and calendar data are very popular and significantly increase the range of possible use cases and applications of the FrontFace software products.


1.) Displaying Timetables, Calendars and Room Occupancy Plans

The new Schedules and Timetables Plugin 2.0 now provides even more flexibility for integrating calendar data from various data sources and for displaying it in a visually appealing way. Here is what the new version has to offer:

  • Views: Table/grid view, calendar view (day, week or month) or single view, e.g. for digital door signs.
  • Data Sources: Microsoft Exchange Server (Outlook), Lotus Domino Server (Lotus Notes), iCalendar (ICS file, e.g. from Google Calendar) or an Excel spreadsheet.

schedule_en_1

No matter if you are using Outlook/Exchange, Lotus Notes/Domino, an Excel spreadsheet or an iCalendar-compatible system, such as Google Calendar, to manage your appointments ‒ the new Schedules and Timetables Plugin 2.0 lets you integrate these data sources directly into your playlists or touchscreen front-ends. You can choose from many visualizations such as table/grid view, calendar view (day, week, month) or a single appointment view (e.g. for digital door signs).

Download the free trial version of the new Schedules and Timetables plugin for FrontFace for Public Displays or FrontFace for Touch Kiosks! In order to allow a smooth start, we also recommend to have a look at the PDF quick start tutorial which is also included in the download!


2.) Controlling Playlists based on Calendar Appointments:

Specifically, for FrontFace for Public Displays, you can also use the event source plugins “Exchange Calendar”, “Lotus Domino Calendar” and “Calendar” (free of charge!) for another interesting way of integrating calendar data into your playlists: These plugins allow starting playlists based on appointments in a calendar. Furthermore, it is not only possible to start playlists but to also fill text and image placeholders with data from appointments. This way, you can e.g. easily create a professional welcome screen system that automatically welcomes visitors with a personalized message. The entire management is then done using applications like Outlook or Lotus Notes which makes this system very easy to use.

tv_welcome

The latest version of the calendar event source plugins also come with a new feature called “pre-run”. This allows you to define a timespan in minutes that will trigger an event before the actual appointment is due. This is great for managing the actual appointment data in the calendar and displaying the welcome message for every visitor e.g. 15 minutes earlier on the screen.

Download the free trial versions of the calendar event source plugins for FrontFace for Public Displays and the free quick start tutorial for welcome screens to learn how easy it actually is to build a professional, personalized welcome screen with FrontFace for Public Displays.

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FrontFace for Public Displays 3.7.0

FrontFace for Public DisplaysThe latest version 3.7.0 of our professional digital signage software FrontFace for Public Displays contains a completely redesigned Display Assistant application which comes with a brand-new icon set. In addition to that, the overall usability has also been improved further so that the Display Assistant offers you a truly intuitive user experience to manage and create your playlists, maintain your screens and schedules and to update player PCs or player PC groups with just a single click!

Display Assistant

But also the FrontFace player application has been enhanced by this update: When loading Web pages, you can now make the player application display an optional progress indicator animation which is very helpful for slow-loading Web pages so that someone who looks at the screen gets to know that the page is currently loading.

The integrated Remote Control Service (RCS) which can be used with the optional Remote Control Plugin has also been improved. You can now use a REST-based API to integrate 3rd party applications in order to start or stop playlists and to set the values of text and image placeholders.

Finally, we added some new, modernized layouts for digital blackboards. Apart from the classic “pin board style” you can now also choose the modern “magnet board style”. The blackboard layouts have also been optimized to support any screen resolution and orientation.

Digital Blackboard

The free trial version of FrontFace for Public Displays is available for download on our Web page. For existing customers that are eligible to obtain updates & support, the update is also – as always – available free of charge!

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Professional Touch Screen Software Kit for Multimedia Kiosk Terminals in Museums and Exhibitions

The kiosk software “FrontFace for Touch Kiosks” by mirabyte helps users to create professional multimedia touch screen applications and presentation systems for use in museums and exhibitions easily, quickly and inexpensively

(Hamm, 01.12.2015) Multimedia exhibits and info terminals today are practically standard items in museums and exhibitions for conveying knowledge and information in an up-to-date and visitor-oriented fashion. And yet their implementation with appropriate touch screen applications is often connected to a great deal of trouble and high costs for the museum as it not least requires extensive technical knowledge and programming skills that frequently are offered by specialized service providers. Thus particularly smaller museums and galleries with very limited budget relinquish this form of multimedia presentation, resulting in considerable loss of attractiveness – not only with younger visitors!

FrontFace for Touch Kiosks Touch Screen User Interface

FrontFace for Touch Kiosks Touch Screen User Interface

mirabyte software is an ISV (independent software vendor) that specializes in digital signage and kiosk software. Its standard software “FrontFace for Touch Kiosks” offers a proven software solution that allows users to easily create multimedia experiences. The software is designed to enable users without any programming knowledge to create attractive touch screen interfaces and menus for visitor use with minimal effort. Virtually anything can be used as content without further adaptation, from videos, photos and images to PDF files and even Websites! This way, documents and media can be used immediately without the time-consuming task of converting or preparing. FrontFace’s unique Print2Screen function even allows users to take over content from any Windows application that supports printing with just one click!

FrontFace also offers maximum flexibility with regards to hardware since the software can be run on every Windows-operated system and supports any screen resolution as well as nearly all touch screen hardware (including tablets). Thus even extremely inexpensive systems can be implemented with widely available standard components. And there is no need for users to worry about the security of the system during use: FrontFace automatically protects the underlying Windows operating system against manipulation and damage with the integrated FrontFace Lockdown Tool.

FrontFace also offers a solid basis for complex applications and installations: Additional functions such as plug-ins can be added easily. Besides numerous, immediately available plug-ins such as a quiz module or a live TV interface, plug-ins can also be developed individually. Furthermore, external systems such as lighting control, audio systems and even sensors can be integrated without difficulty; this way, models and exhibits can be incorporated to create a self-contained world of experience.

Thanks to multi-screen support, even external flat screens and projectors can easily be integrated, allowing the realization of comfortable multimedia presentation systems, also for larger visitor groups.

“FrontFace for Touch Kiosks” is available for download as a fully functional trial version on the mirabyte Website free of charge. The full version can be purchased at a cost of EUR 499.95 (plus VAT) as a permanent license with temporally unlimited use and no recurring costs. This price also includes free updates and support for one year.

For further information, please visit http://www.mirabyte.com/en/products/frontface-for-touch-kiosks/applications/museum-touchscreen-kiosk-terminals.html

Contact:
mirabyte Press Team
Phone: +49 (2381) 87185-30
Fax: +49 (2381) 87185-50
E-Mail: presse@mirabyte.com

About mirabyte Software:
mirabyte ® (founded in 2005) is a privately owned, independent software vendor (ISV) based in Hamm, Germany with innovative products and services ranging from digital signage and interactive kiosk systems to graphical user interfaces and Web technologies. mirabyte solutions and products are used successfully by clients from various sectors worldwide.

File Attachments:

Screenshot: Touch Kiosk Image Map (kiosk_imagemap.jpg, 207 kB)
Screenshot: Kiosk Assistant Add Content (kiosk_assistant_add_content.jpg, 104 kB)
Screenshot: Kiosk Assistant Menu and Content (kiosk_assistant_menu_and_content.jpg, 105 kB)
Packshot: FrontFace for Touch Kiosks (splash.png, 155 kB)

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How to integrate a Twitter Wall / Social Wall into your FrontFace Playlists

Digital Signage is not only about hardware, like screens or player PCs and software, but mostly about content! Presenting the latest news or weather information catches interest and helps to make your digital signage system more vivid!

Another great idea for integrating live content is showing posts and feeds from social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. You may either want to show your own tweets and posts or up-to-date information that is related to certain hash tags, topics or social media accounts.

Especially for events or exhibitions, displaying live data from social media channels on your digital signage screens is a great idea that motivates users to contribute and to interact!

socialwall-logo

Therefore, we are very excited to announce that we now have found a partner who is offering a powerful social media wall solution that can easily be integrated into FrontFace for Public Displays.

Social Wall allows you to show content from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest in a highly customizable way.

Here is how to get your own social wall up and running with FrontFace for Public Displays within minutes:

Sign up for a free trial account at socialwall.com.au. Next, select the social media channels that you would like to show. You also need to specify the size of the social wall in pixels. If you have a full HD screen that is mounted in landscape format and use the “Full Page” page layout for your FrontFace for Public Displays playlist page, the correct values are 1920 for height and 1080 for width. Another important setting is the number of columns that your wall should have. A value of “3” is a good choice but it depends on your personal preference. In order to make the wall scroll automatically in the FrontFace you should tick the “Yes” option for the “Auto Scroll” setting and make sure that the “Pause Scrolling On Mouse Hover” in not enabled.

screenshot-general

Now you can configure each social media channel and enter either accounts from which you would like to pull information or specific keywords/hashtags. There is also a backlist feature that allows you to specify words to filter the content that is shown (e.g. your competitors names or other undesirable things).

screenshot-twitter

Once you saved your settings, you can obtain the URL of the wall from the “General” tab.

screenshot-account

FrontFace for Public DisplaysIf you do not have a copy of FrontFace for Public Displays yet, please download the free, fully functional trial version from the mirabyte Website.

In the Display Assistant application of FrontFace for Public Displays, create a new playlist page or use an existing one and add a content element of type “Website”. Finally, you just need to paste in the URL of your social wall and you are ready to go. Run the playlist preview so see how your wall looks like.

display-assistant-setupplayer-preview player

By the way: If you statically display the playlist page that shows the social wall, you might want it to update from time to time. For this purpose, you can define a reload interval in the “Website” settings dialog in the Display Assistant that will trigger a refresh after the given period of time.

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FrontFace for Touch Kiosks 2.0.3

FrontFace for Touch KiosksThe new version 2.0.3 of FrontFace for Touch Kiosks again comes with a lot of great new features and improvements. For example you can now add a real-time clock with date and/or time to your front-ends. Another major focus of this release was put on several improvements of the built-in Web browser that is used for displaying Web pages within your touch screen-friendly user interface.

Please click here for more information about the product!

These are the most important changes of the latest release:

  • Searching online for updates and new versions is now supported by the Kiosk Assistant
  • Improved URL whitelist filter for the integrated Web browser
  • A warning message is shown in case a Website is blocked by the URL whitelist filter
  • Zoom factor for Web pages can be set individually
  • Loading progress animation is now shown, even if the Web page is shown in full screen mode
  • A problem with focusing the input controls on a Web page when opening the onscreen keyboard has been fixed
  • Loading animation when displaying contents
  • The circle theme now also supports hiding the default button artwork
  • A problem with video playback on systems with no sound card has been fixed
  • A clock (date and time) can now be shown optionally in the user interface
  • The remote update feature has been improved
  • Compatibility with Windows 10 has been improved
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Remote Control Plugin for FrontFace Player PCs

The digital signage software FrontFace for Public Displays offers different ways how to control which playlists are shown on the screen: By using so called timers, you can schedule when a playlist is supposed to be shown on the screen. Also recurrence patterns (e.g. every day at 5 pm) can be defined.

The other method of controlling playlists is using events. In order to start a playlist when an event fires, you first need to set up an event source. The “Calendar” event source plugin which is already included with FrontFace provides a simple calendar that you can use to manage appointments. Once an appointment becomes due, the event fires and the associated playlist is started on the screen. There are also other event source plugins available that can be used to integrate external Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Domino (Notes) calendars as event sources.

Generally speaking, you can integrate anything that produces events as event source, e.g. triggers from 3rd party systems, sensors (e.g. a photoelectric barrier), and many more. With the free FrontFace Plugin SDK you can easily implement your own event source plugins or let someone with programming skills do this for you.

Remote Control Plugin in the Display Assistant

The Remote Control Plugin and the Calendar Plugin are configured as event sources in the Display Assistant

The recently released event source plugin “Remote Control” for FrontFace now offers a new way to easily start playlists on demand. The “Remote Control Plugin” works hand in hand with the “Remote Control App”, a little Windows application that is optimized for use on tablet PCs but which can also be used on any regular PC.

The Remote Control App allows you to start playlists on FrontFace player PCs with a single click from any PC or tablet remotely. Furthermore, the app also allows stopping playlists and to make onscreen text notification appear on demand.

FrontFace Onscreen Text Notification

An onscreen text notification displayed by the FrontFace player application

Similarly to the “Calendar” event source plugins, the Remote Control App also supports text placeholders that can be filled with “live” content. A typical use case is a reception desk where the Remote Control App is installed on the reception PC. The desk clerk can then make personalized welcome messages appear on the large screen controlled by FrontFace with a single click. In combination with the “Calendar” event source plugin you can welcome visitors both with pre-scheduled welcome messages as well as with ad hoc welcome messages where the name of the visitor is entered manually at the point of time when it is actually needed!

FrontFace Remote Control App

The FrontFace Remote Control App with two pre-configured buttons that can start playlists

The Remote Control App is so simple and intuitive to use that anyone can use it- even without prior training! Simply click on one of the previously defined buttons to start the desired action on the player PC (e.g. start off a playlist). Furthermore, you also execute different maintenance actions, e.g. shutting down the player PC remotely.

Just give it a try and see how easy this is! The Remote Control Plugin is available for download as free trial version. The package includes a detailed manual as well as the Remote Control App.

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FrontFace for Public Displays 3.6.8

FrontFace for Public DisplaysThe latest maintenance update of FrontFace for Public Displays, the software solution for professional digital signage applications, again offers a lot of new features and helpful improvements. Here is an overview of the most important changes:

  • Significant performance improvements of the Display Assistant when dealing with projects that are stored on a network folder
  • New overlay layouts for even more design options
  • A new version of the Clock plugin that now also supports “timer” and “countdown” mode
  • Publishing to a single player PC that is registered within a player PC group is now supported
  • The publication protocol is now more readable and supports an abbreviated and a verbose mode
  • The selection dialog for plugins in the Display Assistant has been improved and now also shows the version number of the plugins in use
  • Searching for updates and new versions (online) has been added as a new feature within the Display Assistant
  • The onscreen notification feature has completely been redesigned (CAUTION: If you are currently using the onscreen notification plugin, please contact mirabyte technical support before installing this update!)
  • Playlists that only have one single page that use a hot folder which contains a single video, XPS or PDF file can now also loop infinitely
  • Various minor improvements, optimizations and bug fixes in the Display Assistant and the FrontFace Player Application

For existing customers that are eligible of getting free updates and support, this update can be downloaded for free. Prospects may download the full-functional free trial version!

For more information, screenshots, plugins (extensions) and video tutorials, please visit the FrontFace for Public Displays Webpage.

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Internet Explorer Plugin available for “FrontFace for Public Displays”

ie-logoThe digital signage software FrontFace for Public Displays comes with a powerful, built-in browser engine that allows the seamless integration of Web pages into FrontFace playlists. The Web browser of FrontFace is based on Chromium and supports apart from HTML5 and CSS3 also JavaScript and even plugin technologies like Flash or Silverlight.

But there may be some rare cases where the integrated browser engine does not or only partially support specific but yet required Web features like special ActiveX controls for Web cams, etc.

In order to still be able to integrate these Web pages into your FrontFace playlists, you can now use the new Internet Explorer Web Browser plugin!

This plugin allows the integration of Web pages into FrontFace playlists using the Internet Explorer browser engine. It renders Web pages exactly the way as the Internet Explorer does and supports all features that are supported by the IE.

The plugin is available for free (currently as beta version, since it is still being enhanced with new features). You can download it in the download area of the FrontFace for Public Displays product Web page (click on “Show all available plugins…”). A PDF manual is also included.

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FrontFace for Touch Kiosks 2.0.0

FrontFace for Touch KiosksFrontFace for Touch Kiosks is an interactive touchscreen kiosk software that allows you to easily present any kind of content or functionality on interactive kiosk terminals in a professional way.

Typical use cases include employee information systems, info terminals for hotels and tourism, interactive museum exhibits as well as digital product catalogs and POS information systems.

Here are the most important new features and improvements of the latest version 2.0:

  • Fully reworked user interface of the Kiosk Assistant application for managing content and menu structures in a convenient way, plus many improved details.
  • The integrated Web browser has been further enhanced in concerns of security aspects.
  • Not only static PNG images are supported as menu icons on the front-end: It is now possible to also add animations as menu icons.
  • Apart from the integrated onscreen keyboard you can now also select the built-in Windows onscreen keyboard as alternative.
  • Color pickers throughout the Kiosk Assistant now store any user-defined custom colors within the project.
  • When sending exotic content formats such das XPS using the e-mail content sharing feature, these files get converted automatically to common formats such das JPEG before being sent.
  • The new demo project “Digital Product Catalog” has been added.
  • Stretching options for content files (images, videos, XPS or PDF) can now also be defined per file instead of a global setting.
  • Paging through multi page PDF and XPS documents has been improved.

Customers that are entitled to access updates and support can download the new version for free!

Prospects may download the fully-functional free demo version from the mirabyte Website!

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Free Kiosk Mode for all Windows PCs

frontface-ldt-enThe new version 1.3.0 of the free “FrontFace Lockdown Tool” is now available! The Lockdown Tool helps administrators to easily configure Windows-based PCs as protected, public kiosk terminals or for other special use applications such as digital signage player PCs that are supposed to be run unattended 24/7!

While the Windows operating system has all the features and configuration options that are needed for these special use cases, it takes a lot of manual work to configure a PC for such an application due to the fact that the required settings are “hidden” all over the system, e.g. in the Windows Registry.

The FrontFace Lockdown Tool provides all the relevant settings in a single application with an intuitive user interface. Apart from custom configurations, it also comes with ready-to-use configuration profiles for a protected kiosk mode and for digital signage applications that can be applied with only one click!

frontface-ldt-130

The new version 1.3.0 now also features a command line interface that allows integrating the Lockdown Tool into batch configuration scripts that can then be used for a fully automatic configuration of Windows-based PCs.

The FrontFace Lockdown Tool is optimized for the use with the kiosk software “FrontFace for Touch Kiosks” as well as the digital signage software “FrontFace for Public Displays” by mirabyte. However, it can also be used with any other, custom Windows application!

The Lockdown Tool is freeware and is already included in the installation packages of “FrontFace for Public Displays” and “FrontFace for Touch Kiosks”. But it can also be downloaded separately on the product Website. The software does not require an installation and can even be launched directly from USB thumb drives which makes it a perfect tool for system administrators!

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