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Synchronizing content for digital signage

The digital signage sector has long been marked by a lack of accuracy in the synchronization between screens and their content. Now, more and more businesses in the digital media sector provide synchronized content on different displays. For example, Plex is a company that offers content management and sharing from a media library and can synchronize the content shared with different users. This allows you to watch a movie with your family simultaneously, even if everyone is in different locations. This concept also exists in the digital and dynamic signage sector, and the latest developments offer a superior quality. Digital signage businesses that do not offer content synchronization will need to ramp up their efforts in the coming years to close this gap in their software in order to meet a growing market need.

Many solutions on the market choose a hierarchical synchronization method: a “master” content player is linked to other content readers and shares information to ensure all linked players have the required information, at the same time, to share the content. This method has significant vulnerabilities that could compromise the entire shared content chain if the “master” player malfunctions. Other innovative methods achieve the same result, without the risk of having an entire content-sharing network breaking down.

Calculation accuracy – A perfect harmony

To benefit from a quality synchronization without having displays depending on each other to share content, we need to use a method of advanced calculations that can define on a timeline what content needs to be displayed on screen, and when. By pre-calculating all the content that will be displayed and the time at which it will be shown as soon as the content-sharing software starts, it becomes possible to avoid a synchronization link between screens. Each display precisely calculates its configured elements during start up; as such, every single display remains independent, but they all know what operation they need to execute and when to do it.

calcul
Figure 1. Representation of a set of complex calculations
 

This method creates trust in the logical relationship between screens and enables the implementation of a logic-heavy synchronization link between screens. By displaying the same content on different screens, content synchronization is enabled for all platforms. Thus, the calculation accuracy to the millisecond ensures a high-level synchronization while leaving out the potential problems of synchronizing devices through a logical link. To use a comparison, a synchronized swimming team uses the same model: athletes are not joined by a link. Every team member knows before the choreography precisely which movements will be made and at what time. As a result, each athlete works independently, yet is in perfect harmony with the rest of the group.

Benefits of synchronized content

Synchronized content between different digital and dynamic displays provides the important benefit of being able to share the exact same content in real time on a large number of screens, no matter their platform types. For example, it is possible to watch content on a computer’s web browser and to display the same content at the same time on a BrightSign player.

ITESLIVE from the ITESMEDIA company offers synchronized content sharing functions on multiple screens as well as synchronized content sharing in a multifunction mode with a precise calculation method for elements to be displayed. This allows you to synchronize your content without worrying about an element of the display network malfunctioning or about interrupting the synchronization on other screens because a single screen requires maintenance. To use the synchronized swimming team analogy once more, an athlete can rest without affecting the other team members; the same logic applies for displays. It is therefore important to choose the right content-sharing software to benefit from the best methods applied during their engineering.

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