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Yearly Archives: 2012

Dynamic World Clocks For Digital Signage

Written on November 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm, by

Some businesses and government agencies need to know what time it is in other cites across the globe. We recently created a world clock for a client that allowed them to simultaneously display time from eight cities on a single screen.

 

Here’s what the World Clock layout looks like:

 

Dynamic World Clocks Example

 

 

(Note: This example is displayed in Standard time version with out day of the week (Easily added). We can create one with Military time as well and modify the color scheme to match your branding.)

 

The end user can customize the cities they want to show through a simple and easy to use, custom user interface application. 

 

All the user needs to do is enter the city name, set it’s GMT offset and then check it’s Daylight Saving time settings.

 

This allowed the customer full control over the time information being displayed.

 

Let us know what you think and if you have any custom applications that we can help find a solution for.

 

If you’re interested in using a World Clock with your digital signage messaging, give us a call at (541)752-5654 or send us an email at sales@magicboxinc.com, we’d love to discuss this solution with you.

 

Please share this post with your Twitter and Facebook followers and leave us a comment on your thoughts and ideas regarding this project. Thanks again!

ClearOne releases new MagicBox Digital Signage Server

Written on October 25, 2012 at 4:24 pm, by

ClearOne logo

 

 

ClearOne releases new MagicBox Digital Signage Server

 

Also enhances MagicBox WebSuite, a web-based platform offering enterprise applications for digital signage

 

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (October 25, 2012) – ClearOne (NASDAQ: CLRO) today announced the release of the MagicBox on-premise Entry-Level Server (ELS) to extend its web-based, digital signage offering. The ELS runs MagicBox WebSuite software applications for digital signage, including content creation and asset management inside of a browser for a comprehensive content management experience — from design to verification. The ELS is available with upgradable licensing options to support 5, 15 or 25 media players.

 

Applications included in the ELS are:

 

  • Composer – a flexible application to manage multimedia assets, custom-build layout, schedule & publish projects
  • Ad Logger – for network verification of impression analytics
  • Audio Manager – for audio playlist creation and management software

 

Additionally, the ELS offers enterprise-class user access controls for efficient planning and added security. These administrative applications include:

 

  • Library – to upload content and manage content repository
  • User Manager – for administering user roles and security levels
  • Player Manager – to set up and organize signage players on the network
  • Remote Update – for media player firmware updates

 

In addition to releasing the ELS, the existing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud-based MagicBox WebSuite is also enhanced with some new features:

 

  • The MagicBox media players can now be configured either to pull or push content and schedule information from the server; allowing customers to manage and publish content from anywhere with an internet connection. Media players can be placed in multiple locations, behind firewalls with private IP addresses and managed both centrally and locally. The media players are not required to have public IP addresses.

 

  • The MagicBox WebSuite software now also supports workgroup and playlist capabilities. Administration of national and local content is simplified by allowing a central administrator to control a common set of playlist content for multiple locations. Users can add unique, local content without impacting other locations.

 

“With the ELS, customers will greatly benefit from the ability to control and administer full digital signage solutions on their own private and secured networks. With a flexible and scalable architecture and no recurring fees, the total cost of a web-based signage solution is well within reach,” said Tom Searcy, Vice President of the ClearOne Digital Signage Business. “New features in the MagicBox WebSuite software improve the control of multiple media players at one or many locations and also provide flexibility and access for multiple users with different management rights in the system. By offering both the ELS and SaaS models, our digital signage customers now have the option of hosting with either an on-premise server or a cloud-based solution, according to their digital signage requirements and business models.”

 

The new ELS and the enhancements of MagicBox WebSuite SaaS will be available in November.

 

About ClearOne

 

ClearOne is a global company that designs, develops and sells conferencing, collaboration, streaming and digital signage solutions for audio, video and data multimedia communication. The performance and simplicity of its advanced comprehensive solutions enhance the quality of life. ClearOne products offer unprecedented levels of functionality, reliability and scalability. More information about the company can be found atwww.clearone.com

 

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Display Your Twitter Feed In A Crawl Region

Written on October 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm, by

Social media is a powerful method for businesses to communicate to their customers. What if companies could leverage that communication channel and insert it into their digital signage networks?

 

With our RSStoCrawl MagicWidget, you can do just that. With this add-on for your Aavelin Composer digital signage software (desktop application – WebSuite v1.1 comes bundled with this feature), you can insert your company’s Twitter feed into one the Aavelin’s crawl regions.

 

Check out this example video:

 

 

If you already own the  RSStoCrawl widget, here’s the URL format to use:

 

https://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline.rss?screen_name=magicbox

 *To use your Twitter handle, change the “magicbox” after the equals sign in the above URL to your company’s Twitter user name.

 

Adding your Twitter feed to your project content has many benefits, most importantly it keeps your customers engaged with real time information and helps your business connect with your audience through dynamic social media channels.

 

Contact us now and add your Twitter feed to you Digital Signage project today!

 

 

Ordering Information

 

Description: RSStoCrawl MagicWidget
Part# AVMWD1
Cost: Call for pricing – (541)752-5654

 

Notes:

  • Twitter’s name and logo are trademarks of Twitter
  • Twitter may change the URL feed structure at anytime, so please refer to their developer’s api for additional information should your feed stop working.

 

StreamNet Technology – Part 2 of 2

Written on October 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm, by

Internet Protocol (IP-Based)
Intelligence and Unprecedented Scalability

 

The VIEW IP-Based Distributed Audio / Video and Control system leverages TCP/IP (the same language as the Internet) to deliver audio digitally. The VIEW system incorporates a state-of-the-art meshed network architecture in which each product on the network has its own IP address and network intelligence, eliminating the need for costly matrix switches and central controllers.In addition, audio streams are multicast to provide scalability. VIEW virtually has no limit on the number of sources or number of rooms you can have in the system, so no matter the size or scale of your home,VIEW can deliver the performance you require.

 
StreamNet’s suite of communication capabilities enables easy system configuration & concrete network reliability:
 

StreamNet incorporates a suite of communications conventions which reduce the system configuration time required and increase the overall reliability of the network. This section covers Service Discovery, Message Routing, and Status Reporting.

Service Discovery
 

Every feature or function of the ClearOne VIEW IP-Based Distributed Audio / Video and Control system is provided by a “service.”  There are many types of services – audio renderers, audio sources, general purpose input & outputs (GPIO), user interface, media server proxy, just to name a few.  These services ‘advertise’ their existence to the network, broadcasting their name, type, IP-Address(es) and other important information.  When StreamNet-Connected devices are plugged into the network, they immediately advertise their capabilities, reducing the need to program the entire system from scratch.

 

ASCII messages provide the primary method of control and status reporting for StreamNet. Every service has a name and optionally belongs to a “room” and /or some number of “groups”.  Messages may be addressed to the service name, room name or group name.  Messages may be sent multicast (UDP) or unicast (UDP or TCP) to any or all StreamNet-Connected devices. If required, StreamNet devices will forward messages to ensure delivery to the service(s) addressed.

Status Reporting
 

StreamNet services output unsolicited reports of their state and changes in state. Reports are in a flexible format that resembles XML.  Each report is a list of “variable=value” pairs. Status reports may be sent unicast or multicast. In addition, a TCP client may “register” for status from one or more services and the StreamNet device will aggregate the reports onto the one TCP connection.

 
High Quality, High Performance Audio
Choose Between Uncompressed, Full Bandwidth Audio and MP3

Your VIEW Distributed Audio / Video and Control system can handle a wide range of audio sources, from uncompressed, full bandwidth audio to MP3 songs compressed at any sample rate. It is important to note that compressed music (like MP3, WMA, and others) is significantly different from uncompressed music (.WAV – also known as PCM) in sound quality, mainly due to the compression algorithms used.

 

MP3 is short for MPEG2 Layer 3 — a fancy name for the MP3 audio file format. MP3 audio is a specially formatted and heavily compressed computer file.Depending on sample rate, the audio quality can sound close, but not equal to that of a CD. An uncompressed audio file of 1 minute consumes nearly 11.25 megabytes (MB) of disk space. An MP3 file uses only about 1 MB of disk space for the same minute of audio. This reduction in file size has revolutionized the delivery of music, because it is now easier to transmit music over the internet. A song that would have taken almost an hour to download, depending on the Internet connection, can now be downloaded in about 6 minutes using an MP3 or WMA file. In exchange for a smaller file size, the listener sacrifices 70% of the data that holds what some describe as the 3-D characteristics of the audio data necessary to create staging, imaging, and rich audio texture.

 

An uncompressed .WAV music file contains all of the data found in a CD, without any compression or loss of data.This offers the listener the highest quality audio available from a CD.

 

Pure Digital Signal all the way to the Speakers

 

Digital Music provides the highest quality of audio since it’s essentially a perfect copy of the digital tape from a recording studio. However, at the amplifier, the digital signal is converted to analog so it can be heard.A fundamental principle in audio is the longer the speaker wire, the more compromised the audio signal becomes, as losses can occur due to speaker wire resistance (regardless of the gauge). Besides losses due to cable resistance, longer cables begin to exhibit a significant reactive component of capacitance and inductance regardless of the wire gauge.When you do distributed audio with longer cable lengths, the signal quality is compromised even more. The VIEW system maintains the quality of the signal by allowing the amplifiers to be located at the speaker or in the room, significantly reducing the length of the speaker wire required.

High Quality Audio Components to Maximize Fidelity

 

The VIEW Distributed Audio / Video Control system incorporates high quality audio components to maximize sound quality. From Burr-Brown® 96kHz / 24-bit D/A and A/D converters to high quality Texas Instruments® and Apogee® Digital Amplifiers, you get the best audio performance possible from your source equipment.

Infographic – 12 Benefits of Digital Menu Boards

Written on September 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm, by

This infographic from Digital Signage Today lists some excellent benefits for using Digital Menu Boards.

 

With the new labeling laws that are about to take effect, DMBs will help owners stay compliant, increase their revenues, and improve productivity.

 

Digital Menu Boards Infographic

 

Contact us today to see if we have a Digital Menu Board solution that’s right for your business.

 

Please let us know your thoughts and comments on Digital Menu Boards in today’s world.

StreamNet Technology Part 1 of 2

Written on September 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm, by

StreamNet Technology… a white paper in multiple parts

 

Introduction:

ClearOne’s patent-pending StreamNet Technology encompasses several protocols, conventions, and technologies to insure the best quality audio and video distribution over TCP/IP.  This whitepaper gives a good overview of StreamNet.

 

Automatic Synchronization of Streams (Time Sync)

One fundamental problem with using TCP/IP to distribute digital audio to multiple rooms in a home or workplace is the synchronization of playback.  Without synchronization, audio can sputter, cut out, or have strong echo effects from room to room, sometimes playing several seconds apart. Simply incorporating a buffer to attempt to synchronize the audio is not enough, resulting in a 50 millisecond delay between any two speakers, which is audible. ClearOne’s patent-pending StreamNet technology provides the solution, by removing the effect of network delays. A “master” is dynamically chosen to serve as the time reference, thereby allowing all devices to share the same concept of time. The sample rate is synchronized using a VCXO for low jitter. As a result, the maximum delay between any two speakers is reduced to 1 millisecond.  StreamNet allows audio in any and all rooms to be synchronized when playing the same source throughout the house, solving the problem of distributing audio over TCP/IP packet-switched streams. Audio synchronization is done automatically, so the only thing you have to do is decide which song(s) you want to playback in which rooms of your home.

 

Listen to Multiple Songs from a StreamNet-Connected Digital Music Server

Digital Music Servers are a great way to store, catalog, and listen to all of your music.  Depending upon the size of the hard disc drive, you can store hours and hours of music on one server.  However, with traditional distributed audio systems you can only listen to one song at a time, depending upon the number of discrete output connections on the server.  ClearOne has partnered with the leading Digital Music Server brands in the marketplace to incorporate StreamNet technology so you can listen to multiple songs* at the same time from one Digital Music Server over the VIEW Distributed Audio / Video and Control system.  You can even listen to multiple instances of the same song at the same time.

 

Compatible with Traditional Audio Sources

VIEW distributed Audio / Video and Control system is also compatible with more traditional audio sources (DVD/CD player, cassette player, XM Satellite Radio, AM/FM tuner, LP player). The StreamNet technology incorporated in the ClearOne’s MediaLinX™ automatically converts the audio in real time so that it can be streamed over TCP/IP for playback in any room of your VIEWsystem and learns and packetized its IR commands to be sent over TCP/IP for easy control of the source.

 

…to be continued.

Digital White Board Solutions For Hospital Rooms

Written on August 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm, by

We recently had an opportunity to help solve a problem in the medical industry. A hospital is looking to improve upon and provide the best possible service and communication to their customers specifically, the care-provider to patient communication.

 

The administration and care faculty are looking for ways to streamline and enhance their communication channels especially when the patient is in the hospital room.

 

The hospital currently uses grease boards with hand written patient and care provider information on it.

 

Here is an example of the solution we provided.

 

Medical Whiteboard Example

(Note: Fields can vary depending on the needs of the individual medical facility)

 

We used our EZ-Stream Database Integration software to tie into the data source the hospital will use to manage the room and patient information. The 42″ LCD widescreen displays in each exam room will be driven with our Aavelin Café digital signage media player.

 

This solution allows the staff to input the information from their desks and workstations throughout the facility. They can also enter future patient information for each room so all of that data entry can be performed at one time.  This saves a considerable amount of time, energy, and money from having to hand write the information on a dry/erase whiteboard in every exam room they have for each patient throughout the day greatly improving communication to the patient.

 

Additionally, we helped design the template layout with the hospital’s company logo and  branding scheme which tied the project all together in a professional and visual appealing manner.

 

MagicBox was extremely happy to help put this solution together and more importantly, we are thrilled that we were able to help another business improve their channels of communication with their customers.

 

Like the hospital that we helped, we too value our communication with our customer’s, so please let us know if you have a similar situation or have ideas on how to improve this particular one. We would love to hear from you.

 

MagicBox Launches New SaaS Cloud-hosted Digital Signage Software Platform

Written on April 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm, by

We’re excited to announce the release of the MagicBox WebSuite platform. Here’s the official press release.

 

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ClearOne Launches New SaaS Cloud-hosted Digital Signage Software Platform

 

The new MagicBox WebSuite is a web-based platform offering
enterprise applications for digital signage systems

 

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (April 25, 2012) — ClearOne (NASDAQ: CLRO) today launched the MagicBox WebSuite digital signage software platform that allows users to control their entire signage network from any web browser at any location. The new platform is available as a cloud-hosted SaaS model at www.magicboxinc.com

 

“We’re making digital signage more affordable and more manageable by leveraging the efficiency of platform maintenance and security in the cloud,” said Tom Searcy, Vice President, Digital Signage Business. “With easy to use web based software applications, you can upload and access your content while managing your signage network from a single centralized location or multiple remote locations. As organizations grow, the SaaS model provides the most affordable and secure way to scale their signage network with a powerful web-based software solution.”

 

The MagicBox WebSuite incorporates several new applications, including content creation and asset management inside of the browser for a comprehensive design to verification experience. With the new applications, multiple users can simultaneously create and edit multiple projects.

 

Applications included in the MagicBox WebSuite are:

 

  • Composer – flexible application to manage assets, custom-build layout, schedule & publish projects
  • Ad Logger – for network and verification impression analytics
  • Audio Manager – for audio playlist creation and management software

 

Additionally, the WebSuite offers enterprise-class user access controls for efficient planning and added security.  These administrative applications include:

 

 

  • Library – to upload and support content repository management
  • User Manager – for administering user roles and security levels
  • Player Manager – to set up and organize signage players on the network
  • Remote Update – for signage player firmware updates

The WebSuite digital signage software is designed to work with MagicBox digital signage media players. To order your suite, contact ClearOne sales at 800-707-6994 orsales@clearone.com for more information.

 


About ClearOne
ClearOne is a global company that designs, develops and sells conferencing, collaboration, streaming and digital signage solutions for audio, video and data multimedia communication. The performance and simplicity of its advanced comprehensive solutions enhance the quality of life. ClearOne products are designed for business and residential use, offering unprecedented levels of functionality, reliability and scalability. More information about the company can be found at www.clearone.com.

 

 

About MagicBox


MagicBox provides leading solutions in the digital signage industry. The MagicBox platform allows for ease-of-use content creation, scheduling, and management.  MagicBox provides toolsets that enable end users to combine text, graphics and multi-media content from any location. MagicBox’s exceptional database integration software creates an automated information display using several database types including SQL, Oracle, Exchange, XML, Excel, and more.  More information about the company can be found atwww.magicboxinc.com.

 

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http://www.b2i.us/irpass.asp?BzID=509&to=ea&s=0

 

Exciting Product Announcement – The WebSuite Digital Signage CMS Platform Is Launching Soon

Written on April 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm, by

Welcome to the WebSuite

 

We’re too excited to withhold the good news any longer so we thought it would be a good idea to let you in on it.

 

We’ll soon be releasing our first web-based version of our digital signage software applications called WebSuite.

 

It’s full of the great management applications that you’re used to as well as enterprise class features such as user role assignments and security level administration. The platform will be offered as a Cloud hosted SaaS (Software as a Service) model with self-hosted options to come.

 

The No-nonsense Definition:

 

The WebSuite is a cloud-based digital signage software platform which allows you to control y our entire signage network from any web browser at any location. Administrative management allows for enterprise class user access controls giving you efficient planning and added security. MagicBox’s web-based Composer software application is flexible and scalable, giving you the power to upload content assets and custom build your projects according to your communication needs.

So there you have it.

 

We’re thrilled to be launching this new product and can’t wait to get it into your hands.

 

When is it going to be available you ask? Well, we haven’t set an exact date as of yet, but we’re shooting for the end of this month or the beginning of May.

 

Please let us know if you have any questions, thoughts or ideas and we’ll be happy to help you anyway we can.

 

Please share this post with your social media outlets to help us spread the word.

 

Be sure to Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for more updates on the WebSuite and all things digital signage.

 

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Thank you!

The Collaboration Security

Written on January 6, 2012 at 10:32 pm, by

The last time you walked into a secure group room conferencing environment did you notice all the devices that “made collaboration happen?” Did the group room include devices to provide rich audio, great data sharing and video? If your answer is yes, chances are your immersive experience was founded on tools common in today’s business: A phone pad and equipment that allowed you to dial the conference number, a PC to bring up the teams desktop sharing software and video devices that allowed you to see the teams smiling faces.

 

So how did you secure all the devices that made this group room possible? You probably had to secure the personal computer AND the video codec AND all the other miscellaneous devices that made up this complex collaborative environment connected to your network. You did remember to look at all of the AND’s… didn’t you?

 

In comes the AND factor. When securing group rooms is not enough to secure just one piece of a required infrastructure. You have to secure all of it. This device AND that device AND that software AND so on… With this in mind one can come to the quick conclusion that good security can be improved, if not at least simplified, by limiting just how many AND’s you have in the AND Factor equation.

 

Well we know what we can’t remove from the equation. The PC. Great group rooms need, or more accurately require, the use of a computer with a standard operating system that allows an organization’s human resources to be quickly productive without extensive training. Even if our best efforts are spent trying to prevent these common devices from entering our group rooms, they have and will continue to be used. There is however good news here. With access to extensive and rapidly growing resources and tools, our IT organizations already know how to secure these PCs.

 

So to reduce the number of AND’s in our equation we must instead focus our efforts on removing, or at least securing, the other devices… or do we?

 

In comes a solution like the ClearOne COLLABORATE™ that provides an all in one collaborative platform, based on Microsoft Windows, that effectively reduces our AND factor equation to the smallest possible security footprint; The PC that has to be there anyway. Imagine a laptop with a 46” screen, a built in world class audio conferencing system, and an HD camera all able to run today’s and tomorrow’s collaboration software. In other words we have a professional group room end point that is really nothing more than another, albeit very cool, PC on our network. If we can secure a PC we can secure this… and our teams are GOOD at securing this.

 

So what of our battle with the AND factor? With ClearOne COLLABORATE we can reduce our AND factor to achieve simplified security in our group room collaborative environments