Requirements before you begin:
- A supported player (BrightSign or PC Appliance (Windows/Mac)) that is activated against a valid Signagelive licence
Using Real Time Events (RTEs) you can send messages via the serial port on the player based on any of 4 events occurring (please see this overview article for more detail).
Serial commands are typically used to interact with hardware. For instance, there may be a lighting control system or mechanical system that needs to operate when your content starts or stops playing.
To configure an RTE for Serial Messaging, you can follow the steps below:
- Login to your Signagelive network.
- Go to Settings > Real Time Events.
- Click on the blue "+" button, and select Custom Event.
- Name your event (this will be saved as a template for reuse).
- Select whether it is to be Enabled On All Supported Players and Assets.
- You now have a choice of when the RTE is to occur, select the appropriate tab from: Asset Download, Asset Start, Asset Complete or Asset Remove.
- Within the tab, select Serial.
You will now be presented with the option to set Serial Port connection settings as specified by the external hardware manufacturer. Please refer to their manual for the exact value of the settings;
- Baud Rate (this is the rate at which the information is transferred in the communication channel)
- Parity (parity is used to add checksums into the data, enabling the target device to determine whether the data was received correctly).
- Flow Control (manages the flow of data to ensure data can be handled at an efficient pace).
- EOL (Stands for End of Line, and this can be used to terminate serial strings. Possible values for this are CR, LF and CR+LF).
- Data Bits.
- Stop Bits.
- Delay (this is in milliseconds, if the delay is lower than 100 then there is a chance the message may be ignored dependant on the receiving hardware, particularly if you are sending multiple commands (see below).
- Commands (Enter the commands to send a single command per line and click save).
In order to determine which Serial port the receiving hardware is connected to please see below.
- If the device being controlled is USB, then it will be Port 2. If not, it will be Port 0 or 1 depending on the device.
- Ensure the Prolific USB to Serial Driver is installed (available here).
- Open Device Manager (can be accessed by entering the admin settings. Guide here).
- Find the Ports (COM and LPT) section.
- Connect the device you plan to control.
- The Device Manager should refresh.
- Then look for an item named Prolific USB to Serial Port (COM #) (or similar).
- Note the number and add that to Signagelive against the ‘Port’ section.
- Load Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
- Enter the command ls /dev/cu.*
- The returned string that will need to be used for the port will look like /dev/cu.usbserial-A(0740MF
Completing Set Up
To complete the setup of your RTEs you will need to configure them against; the network, the player(s) or the media asset(s) as desired. These are explained below:
This will enable the RTEs across all supported players and assets on your Signagelive network. You enable this by:
- Going to Settings > Real Time Events.
- Select the RTE you would like to configure.
- Select the tick box labeled Enabled On All Supported Players and Assets.
This will enable RTEs across the player(s) that you choose. You can do this by:
- Going to Network > Manage.
- Selecting the Player you would like to configure.
- Navigate to the Real Time Events tab on the far right.
- Select the RTEs that you would like to enable.
Please Note: Only players that Support Real Time Events will show the RTE tab.
This will send the RTE for all assets on the player by default.
This will enable RTEs on the specific Media Assets that you select, and will therefore apply whenever the asset is published to a supporting Player.
- Go to Content > Playlists.
- Select the desired Media Asset(s) from your Library.
- Click the blue "+" button.
- Select from Template or Custom Events.
- Select or configure the desired event.
- It is possible to have multiple RTEs defined, for example: On an asset set a serial RTE to control lighting and on the player set an HTTP RTE to send PoP data to a 3rd party system.
- If you configure the same RTE on all 3 levels (Network, Player and Asset) then it will be executed 3 times.
- It is recommended that you create these as templates for the whole network using the numbered steps at the top above. This ensures that the RTEs you create can be reused or applied to different assets. If you create them against specific assets, they cannot be transferred and will need to be created again.