MIDAS Digital Signage Addon

Download the complete Digital Signage Documentation for offline viewing (.pdf format, 707KB)
Digital Signage Addon Digital Signage

Overview

The optional Digital Signage addon for MIDAS allows you to automatically display a stream of upcoming bookings on display devices (screens) within communal areas of your venue, and/or outside individual rooms. For a step-by-step tutorial on how the Digital Signage addon works, please see our Video Tutorials page.

Pre-Requisites

In order to use this addon, you will need to have either;

Note: Display devices, tablets/computers, and any other associated hardware and infrastructure are not provided by MIDAS.

A basic knowledge of HTML is also required to compose your screen templates

Typical Infrastructure Configurations (PC/Desktop)

Single signage screen

(1 computer (with a connection to MIDAS), 1 display device)
Digital Signage Infrastructure Configuration 1

Multiple signage screens all showing the same content

(1 computer (with a connection to MIDAS), 1 VGA splitter/distribution amplifier (or similar), multiple display devices)
Digital Signage Infrastructure Configuration 2

Two signage screens showing different content from a single computer

(1 computer (with a connection to MIDAS) with a dual-head graphics card), two display devices)
Digital Signage Infrastructure Configuration 3

Multiple signage screens showing different content

(Multiple computers (with connections to MIDAS), multiple display devices)
Digital Signage Infrastructure Configuration 4

Typical Infrastructure Configurations (iPad/Tablet)

Instead of the above setups where a central computer (or computers) output their display to various screens/monitors, you can instead have iPads or other tablets around your venue (outside rooms, etc) and have these as your screens, showing generated content from the Digital Signage addon.
This method has the additional benefit of not having the same cabling requirements as the PC/Desktop/Server infrastructure configuration (i.e. you don't have to cable each iPad/Tablet back to a central server)

Installing the Addon

The Signage addon is available as an option for MIDAS v4.03 (or later), that can be purchased along with MIDAS, or added at a later stage. Once purchased, the Signage addon will become available for one-click installation via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage Addons → Addons Ready To Install → Signage

Once installed, various Digital Signage settings are available via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage Addons → Installed Addons → Signage

Settings

Digital Signage Settings
Above: The Signage administrative interface (MIDAS Admin Options → Manage Addons → Installed Addons → Digital Signage)

From this screen you can define and design the content of each of your display screens. The following settings may be found in this area...

Current Screens

This is a list of all the signage screens you've already defined.
To define a new screen, click "Add New" below the list.
To set an existing screen to be the "default" screen, highlight it in the "Current Screens" list and click "Set as Default". An asterisk will denote the current "default" screen.
Any display device not set to display a specific screen will display the "default" screen instead.
To remove a screen, select it and click the "Delete" button

Variables - Global

Lists a number of variables that you can use within your screen templates.
These variables will be substituted for corresponding content on your actual display screens.
A full list of Global Variables and their meanings may be found in Appendix A

Variables - Fields

Similar to global variables, when field "field" variables are used within your screen templates, they are substituted with live data from corresponding booking fields on your actual display screens.
A full list of Field Variables and their meanings may be found in Appendix B
Field variables must be placed within <bookings>...</bookings> tags

Enabled?

Allows you to "disable" individual screens. When a screen is disabled it will not show any booking information on your display devices, and instead display a "Screen Currently Disabled" message.

Screen Number

The internal number representing the screen you are currently defining.
This number cannot be changed, but is used for screen addressing. For example, to display Screen Number 4 on a display device, the URL for that device would be https://your_midas_url/signage.pl?screen=4

Screen Name

A name by which you can use to identify the screen you are defining.
This name will appear in the "Current Screens" list and can be shown on your display device if desired through the inclusion of the %SCREENNAME% variable within your screen templates

Screen URL

The URL which you should point your display device(s) to in order to display the screen you're currently configuring

Max Items on Screen

The maximum number of bookings that will be shown on the screen at any one time. Depending upon the font size used, and the resolution of your display devices, you may need to increase/decrease this number. The default is 5

Screen Refresh

How frequently (in minutes) booking data on the screen should refresh.

Next Screen

If left blank, when the Screen Refresh interval is reached, the current screen will simply refresh.
If a "Next Screen" is specified, when the Screen Refresh interval is reached, the selected "Next Screen" will be displayed. This allows you to create "PowerPoint-like" "slide shows" of your screens! For example, on a single display device you could have Screen 1 showing for 2 minutes, followed by Screen 2 showing for 5 minutes, and then Screen 1 again, etc

Limit Screen To

These settings allow you to control which bookings should be included on the current screen. By default "All Venues" and "All Booking Types" will be shown.
This is useful if you have a general display device in a reception area showing an overview of every bookings.
You can "untick" either of these options to limit the range of venues/booking types that are shown.
For example, if you have a dedicated display device situated directly outside "Meeting Room A", you may only want to display bookings for "Meeting Room A" on that particular screen. You would therefore untick "All Venues", and select just "Meeting Room A" from the venues list

Screen Preview

An example of how your screen will look on your display device.
Modifications to the Screen Template (see below) will be shown here in real time.

Screen Template

This is where you design the look and content of your screen using standard HTML code, Global, and Field variables.
Several template examples may be found in Appendix C

Custom CSS Styling

This field allows you to precisely control all the visual elements of your signage screen through the use of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). This field will accept the URL to an external .css file, or (starting from v1.13 of the Digital Signage addon) raw CSS code directly.

Save Changes

Once you're happy with your screen settings and template, click the "Save Changes" button to save your settings.
You can edit the template and/or settings for a previously saved screen at any time by simply selecting it in the "Current Screens" list.

Implementing your Signage

Once you've defined your screen(s) the next stage is to make them appear on your signage devices.

For PC/Desktop Infrastructures:

To display the same screen on one or more signage devices, your signage devices need to be connected to a computer with a modern web browser and a network connection to the server where your MIDAS resides.
  1. Open your web browser on the computer connected to your display devices, and navigate to:
    https://your_midas_url/signage.pl
  2. Whichever screen you've set as the "default" screen (or in the case where only one screen has been defined, this screen) will then be displayed in your browser (and therefore also on your connected signage device)
  3. Make your browser "full screen". If you're running a modern browser that supports the full screen API, you can simply click within your signage screen, and MIDAS will automatically place your browser in full screen mode (Note: MIDAS also automatically hides your cursor if it is "hovering" within your signage screen)
To display different screens on different display devices around your venue, each display device will need connecting to a different computer with a modern web browser and a network connection to the server where your MIDAS resides, or a single computer with a multi-head graphics card.

Setup each computer as above, but append "?screen=x" to the end of the URL, where "x" is the number of the screen you've setup within MIDAS that you wish to display on this device - i.e.

https://your_midas_url/signage.pl?screen=1

So, to display Screen 1 on one display device and Screen 2 on another display device, you would need to point their respective computers to:

https://your_midas_url/signage.pl?screen=1
https://your_midas_url/signage.pl?screen=2

For iPad/Tablet Infrastructures:

  1. Open the web browser on your iPad/Tablet, and navigate to:
    https://your_midas_url/signage.pl
  2. Whichever screen you've set as the "default" screen (or in the case where only one screen has been defined, this screen) will then be displayed in your iPad/Tablet's browser
  3. Add the current browser window to your Home Screen
  4. Close the browser, and open the "MIDAS Digital Signage" shortcut on your Home Screen. Your iPad/Tablet will then display (full screen) your Digital Signage feed
To display different signage feeds on different iPad/Tablet devices, follow the above steps on each device, but append "?screen=x" to the end of the URL, where "x" is the number of the screen you've setup within MIDAS that you wish to display on the current iPad/Tablet - i.e.

https://your_midas_url/signage.pl?screen=1


Appendix A - Global Variables

The following global variables may be used within your Screen Templates and will be substituted for corresponding content on your display devices.
VariableDescriptionExample value
%BUILD%Current MIDAS build number1333703520
%BUILDDATE%Current MIDAS build date/time6/4/2012 @ 09:12
%DATABASE%The name of your current MIDAS database (usually your Organization name).
You can rename your database via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Database
My Company
%DATETIME%The current date/time shown in the format defined via
MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Appearance → Date/Time Settings
30/7/2014 @ 20:15
%LOGO%Your company/organization logo.
Please see "How to add your company/corporate logo"
Your logo
%MIDASLOGO%The MIDAS logoMIDAS logo
%NOW%The current time in the form of a live clock12:42
%SCREENNAME%The name of the current screenScreen 1
%SCREENNUMBER%The internal number of the current screen1
%TODAY%A "nice" representation of the current dateThursday, November 20, 2014
%VERSION%Current MIDAS versionv4.03

Appendix B - Field Variables

Field variables must be contained within a set of "booking tags" within your template - these "booking tags" define the section of code that is to be repeated (looped) for each booking to be displayed. For template examples, please see Appendix C
Booking TagsDescription
<bookings></bookings>This will display ongoing and upcoming bookings for the rest of the day
<bookings_now></bookings_now>This will only display bookings which are taking place at the present time
<bookings_next></bookings_next>This will only display bookings for the remainder of the day which have yet to start
The following variables can be used within a set of booking tags in your Screen Templates and correspond to booking fields within MIDAS. These variables will be automatically substituted with booking data on your display devices.
SettingDescriptionExample value
%ATTENDEES%Number of attendees10
%CLIENT%Name of clientJoe Bloggs
%FINISH%Booking finish time10:00
%NOTES%Booking notesThis booking may finish early
%ONGOING%Assigns an "ongoing" style class to the template element if the booking is ongoing. This could be used to display bookings currently taking place in a different color to other bookings. See Appendix C for examples 
%ORG%Client's organizationMy Company
%RESOURCES%List of resources assigned to bookingx1 Laptop
x1 Data Projector
%START%Booking start time09:00
%TYPE%Booking typeInternal Meeting
%VENUE%Name of venueMeeting Room A
%CUSTOM_x%If you've defined your own custom booking fields within MIDAS, you can include them on your screens using the "%CUSTOM_x%" variable (where "x" is the internal name of your custom booking field).
For example, if you've added a custom field to your MIDAS named "Room Layout", you would include data from this field on your signage screen with the variable "%CUSTOM_ROOM_LAYOUT%"

Appendix C - Template Example

Below is a typical Screen Template example, how it may appear on your display device, and a detailed explanation of how the template translates to what your visitors will see on screen...
Example Screen Template
<h1>Today's Bookings</h1>
<h2>%TODAY%</h2>
<h3>%DATABASE%</h3>
<table>
 <tr>
  <td>Times</td>
  <td>Venue</td>
  <td>Booking Type</td>
  <td>Client</td>
 </tr>
 <bookings>
  <tr%ONGOING%>
   <td>%START% - %FINISH%</td>
   <td>%VENUE%</td>
   <td>%TYPE%</td>
   <td>%CLIENT%</td>
  </tr>
 </bookings>
</table>
<br>Thank You For Visiting Us Today!
Example Screen Output
Today's Bookings
Friday, April 15, 2016
My Company
TimesVenueBooking TypeClient
08.00 - 09.00Room 1MeetingJoe Bloggs
09.00 - 11.30Room 4TrainingJane Doe
09.15 - 10.45Room 2ExamJoe Bloggs

Thank You For Visiting Us Today!

Powered by https://mid.as
Explanation
This simple screen starts by displaying 3 headings (<h1>, <h2>, and <h3>).
"Today's Bookings" is the first "static" heading.
The other two headings use global variables in the template, which are substituted with corresponding values when displayed on your display device(s).

The next section of the template is a standard HTML table.
The first row contains columns names for "Times", "Venue", "Booking Type", and "Client"
Notice that the second row of the table is surrounded by <booking></booking> tags (indicated in orange) - this indicates to MIDAS that this section of code should be repeated for each booking displayed.
In this example, because the second table row is enclosed within <booking></booking> tags, a new row will be inserted for each booking. (Note: <booking></booking> tags will be automatically stripped from the final output display in order to generate valid HTML)

The field variables in this row are substituted for real booking data when displayed on your display device(s)

Note the presence of the %ONGOING% variable (indicated in green) - this tells MIDAS that if the booking is currently ongoing ("in progress") to apply an "ongoing" class to the element.

So, for ongoing bookings <tr%ONGOING%> would be substituted with <tr class=ongoing>

For all other bookings, <tr%ONGOING%> would be substituted with <tr>

If we assume that the Example Screen Output shown above was what was displayed on the screen at 08.15 in the morning - at that point in time, one booking is "ongoing" - the one highlighted on the screen in red.

You could define the color/style of our "ongoing" class in an external style sheet and then include it using the "Custom .css Stylesheet" option.

In your external style sheet, you can change the styling of this special "ongoing" class, as follows:

.ongoing{color:yellow}

Live Examples

You can see a live working example of the Digital Signage addon in action at https://demo.mid.as/signage.pl

Release Notes

v1.24
26th April 2017· Fixed: Going full screen when clicked/tapped not working in some instances
· Improved: iOS adding to home screen support
v1.23
15th April 2017· Update: MIDAS v4.15 database compatibility
v1.22
28th November 2016· Fixed: Timezones in UTC+6 (or higher) may display next day's bookings
· Fixed: Silent "Wide character in print" warnings in server logs if running under Apache
v1.21
26th May 2016· Fixed: Only the first instance of %TODAY% variable would be substituted in screen templates
v1.20
12th May 2016· Fixed: Ampersands substituted for HTML entities when viewing previously saved templates
v1.19
19th April 2016· Fixed: %LOGO% and %MIDASLOGO% variables not correctly substituted
v1.18
19th April 2016· Fixed: Compatibility with internal Javascript changes for MIDAS v4.12
· Fixed: Booking field variables may not be substituted in some instances
v1.17
29th February 2016· Fixed: Double quotation marks in custom CSS styling may prevent correct screen previewing and subsequent display of raw CSS code upon next edit
v1.16
2nd December 2015· Fixed: A screen may not refresh correctly back to itself if it is not set as the default screen
v1.15
28th October 2015· Fixed: Full Screen Support in IE
· Security Enhancements
v1.14
7th October 2015· Fixed: Custom styling may revert to default upon subsequent screen refreshes
v1.13
26th September 2015· Improved: Custom CSS styling field now accepts raw CSS code or an URL to an external .css file
v1.12
10th July 2015· Fixed: Race condition which could cause excessive server traffic/load in certain conditions
· Fixed: When no "Next Screen" is specified, upon screen refresh, the current screen may show as disabled
v1.11
6th February 2015· Fixed: Multi-database support (again!)
v1.10
31st January 2015· Fixed: Multi-database support
v1.09
20th November 2014· NEW: Smooth transitions between screens
· Improved: Handling of lost server connections
· Fixed: JS error on Settings screen if no Booking Types have been setup in the system
v1.08
10th September 2014· Fixed: Compatibility with MIDAS v4.07
v1.07
6th May 2014· Fixed: %TODAY% variable not being correctly substituted
v1.06
5th May 2014· Fixed Timezone issues
v1.05
28th April 2014· Fixed issues with refresh rates & MIDAS v4.06 compatability
v1.04
17th January 2014· Bug Fixes
v1.03
9th January 2014· Bug Fixes
v1.02
2nd January 2014· New: %NOW% variable to show current time
· Improved: Support for touch devices
· Fixed: Possible "Duplicate entry" MySQL error leading to "Unable to Save Settings" message
v1.01
14th October 2013· Bug Fixes
v1.00
1st August 2013· Initial release of the Digital Signage Addon (for MIDAS v4.03+)