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Fractalia media whitepaper_en_4_0_0

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  • 1. Fractalia Media “White Paper” Functional and technical description V 4.0 13/04/2010 Fractalia Software
  • 2. Document properties Document name Fractalia Media “White Paper” Version V 4.0 Date 13/04/2010 Author Product Management Department Content Functional and technical description of Fractalia Media Project Fractalia Media, Manager, Digital Signage, Work Dynamic Keywords Marketing Total number of pages 16 Distribution control RECEIVING ORGANISATION OR PERSON NO. OF COPIES 1 Change control VERSION DATE AUTHOR REASONS FOR CHANGE V V Contacts CONTACT COMPANY/DEPT. PHONE E-MAIL C1 C2 Page | i
  • 3. Contents 1 Introduction ............................................................................... 1 1.1 About Fractalia Software ............................................................. 1 1.2 Digital Signage .......................................................................... 1 1.3 Key points ................................................................................ 3 2 Functionalities ........................................................................... 5 2.1 Concepts and definitions ............................................................. 5 2.1.1 Media and content ............................................................. 5 2.1.2 Onscreen organisation of the media ..................................... 5 2.1.3 Scheduling of information ................................................... 6 2.2 Users ....................................................................................... 6 2.3 Media library ............................................................................. 7 2.4 Assignment of content and management of screens ........................ 7 2.5 Player management ................................................................... 7 2.6 Proof of Play .............................................................................. 8 3 Technology................................................................................. 9 3.1 Architecture .............................................................................. 9 3.2 Server .................................................................................... 10 3.3 Agent ..................................................................................... 10 3.3.1 Fractalia Media Player....................................................... 10 3.3.2 Fractalia Manager agent ................................................... 11 4 System requirements ............................................................... 12 4.1 Server side ............................................................................. 12 4.1.1 Hardware requirements .................................................... 12 4.1.2 Software requirements ..................................................... 12 4.2 Client side ............................................................................... 13 4.2.1 Hardware requirements .................................................... 13 4.2.2 Software requirements ..................................................... 13 4.3 Network connectivity ................................................................ 13 Page | ii
  • 4. 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 About Fractalia Software Fractalia Software is an IT research and development company, a leader in the development of robust and effective solutions for managing and controlling large terminal and information screen networks. Fractalia Media is a Digital Signage or Dynamic Marketing solution for digital communication and dynamic advertising that allows managing different multimedia contents, both static and dynamic, on electronic media in an integral, remote and distributed manner. 1.2 Digital Signage Digital Signage uses the power of persuasion of graphic power and multimedia capabilities to have a profound impact on the consumer. According to data from the POPAI (Point-of-Purchase Advertising Institute) and NIELSEN: Dynamic displays generate 7 times more attention than static ones. 75% of purchasing decisions take place at the point of sale. Products advertised via dynamic advertising at the points of sale saw their sales increase by 19% to 36% (20% on average). 65% of visitors saw the advertisements broadcast on screens. And they spent 52% more time in the establishment. One of the obstacles to faster growth of the sector has been a lack of management platforms that can accommodate all functionalities without incurring in high operation costs. Fractalia Media makes up for this shortage with a platform that is powerful and flexible when it comes to scheduling and displaying contents and is based on complete management of the infrastructure (players or terminals and screens) thanks to our Fractalia Manager terminal management platform. Digital Signage projects encompass several areas: Español Inglés Page | 1
  • 5. Adaptar mensajes al nuevo entorno Adapting messages to the new setting Preparar contenidos específicos Preparing specific contents Marketing y comunicación Marketing and communication Tecnología Technology Ofrecer nuevas capacidades de comunicación Providing new communication capabilities Despliegue tecnológico con herramientas de Technological deployment with gestión y nuevas propuestas tecnológicas management tools and new technological designs Mantenimiento infraestructura Maintenance of infrastructures Verificación remota del funcionamiento Remote verification of operation Procedimientos de uso de las herramientas y Tool usage and content update procedures actualización de contenidos Operaciones Operations Fractalia Media covers the Technology and Operations areas, necessary to reinforce the communication messages and ensure the control and availability of the infrastructure installed. In a setting of high geographical dispersion, exhaustive centralised control of the infrastructure is essential. Fractalia Media is based on Fractalia Manager -the centralised workstation management platform- to allow total control of the network of players and screens. Fractalia Manager allows organising the network of players into groups, having an up-to-date inventory, massively distributing patches/drivers/codecs of the operating system itself and the Fractalia Manager agent, managing the hardware by means of Intel vPro technology, remotely restoring the system when faced with software problems, etc. This complementary quality is essential in all projects where a centralised service is required over different content broadcasting locations. Page | 2
  • 6. 1.3 Key points Español Inglés Creación, edición y programación Creation, edition and programming Distribución remota Remote distribution Emisión en el punto de venta Point-of-sale broadcasting  Presentation and updating of contents in real time. Customisation and segmentation of the contents to be broadcast.  It allows creating layers, areas, etc. on every screen with different lists of contents in each one.  It supports all types of multimedia content (photos, videos, flash animations, local web pages or web pages from Internet servers, streaming, etc.), and it is compatible with the most common standards in the market: WMF, MP3, WPF, JPG, AVI, HTML, SWF, etc.  It allows broadcasting interactive contents on touch screens and interactively managing user desktops (screen saver mode) to reinforce corporate messages.  A presentation broadcasting system that allows assigning contents, scheduling broadcasts, turning terminals and screens on and off, etc.  It manages multi-screen players independently, accepting contents and individual programmes on each screen.  A centralised management platform.  Based on Fractalia Manager, a powerful infrastructure management solution that guarantees the availability of equipment and reduces operation costs. Fractalia Manager allows the full management of players in a remote and Page | 3
  • 7. centralised manner, not only for system updates but also for updating the audio/video codecs or drivers required for any new media.  It supports any network connectivity (Internet, intranet, VPN, ADSL, 3G…). Changes are not needed in the client’s network/security, since it works through firewalls and HTTP proxies. Connectivity is always outbound (HTTP protocol) from the player to the server.  It is ideal for settings with wide geographic dispersion. It allows segmenting the network for distribution based on groups or individual screens.  Integration with complementary solutions aimed at actively or passively interacting with clients: people-counting cameras, biometric recognition devices, modules for data exchange via SMS, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, touch-screen kiosks, shift management systems, in-house music systems (integration into programming schedules), etc. Page | 4
  • 8. 2 FUNCTIONALITIES 2.1 Concepts and definitions Fractalia Media organises content, information and programming schedules according the following definitions, following the natural process for creating a presentation: 2.1.1 Media and content Medium The medium is any multimedia content existing in the library either as a physical file (photo, video, etc.) or as a reference to an external element (e.g. URL link to a web page). The media is organised in the library so that it can be used in all presentations to be made, and you can use folders, tags, etc. for better searching in the future. Every medium has intrinsic properties (owner, size, resolution, video length, etc.) and extrinsic properties (tags, appraisal, etc.). Spot Once the medium is added to a list of contents for display on a screen, you must add specific parameters for it to be properly displayed: Sound volume to be used (%) Automatic fit to screen or not (compresses/expands the medium or keeps it at its original size) Time displayed on the screen 2.1.2 Onscreen organisation of the media Template A Template defines the format or layout that an information screen will have. The templates are then used to create the presentations or playlists required by the users. The users responsible for creating the templates are in charge of generating the models to be used in the screen network, allowing defining the information blocks or areas on each screen, the types of content accepted, etc., generating screens in keeping with the corporate style to be implemented. The following can be specified in the template: Screen dimensions (horizontal, vertical) Division of the screen into areas It is possible to use multiple independent areas on each screen with different layers and properties. Each area has the following properties: Dimensions (height x width) Depth level of each layer (allows superimposing areas on top of one other) Page | 5
  • 9. Optional: Type of content accepted (allows restricting the content that can be included in each area to video, photo, etc.). Optional: Content included in each area (spots that appear in the area if they are not subsequently edited) Locked or free area (prevents users from modifying the content included in the areas. Suitable, for example, for wallpapers, video frames, etc.) Channel A channel is based on an existing template and adds all the spots in each of the required areas. The sequence of spots in each area is called a “playlist”, which allows modifying the properties of each spot (presentation length, adjustment to the size of each area, etc.) as well as the transition effects between spots. Within each channel there is also an audio area containing a soundtrack that can be managed independently from the visual contents. 2.1.3 Scheduling of information Planning Once the channels have been generated, Fractalia Media allows generating a complete schedule thereof. The full program to be assigned to a screen or group of screens is called a “Planning” and it is made up of “Schedule blocks”. “Schedule blocks” contain the channel(s) to be shown in a certain slot and the details of dates and times, defining: The slot for the block (start time, end time, or all day long) Date for broadcast Rerun (every Monday, every x days, always…) Channels to be shown in said schedule block Optionally, you can also indicate in a Planning the default content that must be shown on the screens in case there is no schedule block assigned by the user. Once published, Plannings are assigned to the desired screens or groups of screens. 2.2 Users Fractalia Media allows managing users for each company, defining the permissions and roles that each can perform. There are the following permissions: Access to the media library: permissions to add media to the central library Creation and edition of Templates Creation and edition of Channels Creation, edition and publication of Plannings Assignment of Plannings to screens or groups of screens Management of the network of screens Page | 6
  • 10. Management of the network of players Depending on the size of the organisation, one person can play one or several roles. 2.3 Media library The media library holds all the media uploaded by the different users. The library allows storing, classifying and locating the media required for subsequent presentations in a centralised manner. The following media can be added to the library: Local web pages: MHT files Web pages (URL “http://…) Photos (JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP…) Video (AVI, WMP…) Audio (MP3…) Streaming (audio and video) Flash (SWF…) Every user has his/her area inside the library to prevent modifying or access to other users' media without the appropriate permissions. There are also common folders to share the necessary information. 2.4 Assignment of content and management of screens Once created, plannings are assigned to each screen or to groups of screens. Each player can manage from 1 to 4 screens, each with different content assigned to it. Screens are classified into groups and subgroups to facilitate assigning contents according to the chosen segments (by language, geographical classification, etc.). Fractalia Media allows to physically manage the screens connected to the players depending on the devices themselves (usually by means of a RS232 serial connection between the player and the screen). The functionalities will depend on each screen, but the parameters you can manage are the following: Turning screens on and off Controlling brightness, contrast, etc. Displaying the number of hours a projector’s bulb has been on for (for proactive maintenance planning). 2.5 Player management Fractalia Media has a Fractalia Manager-based infrastructure management layer that ensures the elimination of 100% of operational incidents caused by failures in the configuration of player software. The system is designed to recover, on-demand or unattended, a stable and known configuration in just a few seconds. Infrastructure management , the differential Page | 7
  • 11. value of Fractalia Media, allows ensuring 24/7 availability of the network of devices and dramatically reduce operation and support costs. The management of players independently from the management of contents allows guaranteeing the IT administrator-defined updates needed in each case: changes the Operating System (patches, updates…), new versions of the player itself, new codecs for displaying videos, driver updates for screen management (turn on, turn off…), etc. 2.6 Proof of Play Fractalia Media provides the ability to obtain truthful content broadcast reports, also known as “Proof of Play”. By means of a simple web interface, clients can consult the effective broadcasting of the media on each screen or group of screens. This control allows providing final clients with an exhaustive tracking of the number of broadcasts of a certain medium by slot, group of screens, etc. Page | 8
  • 12. 3 TECHNOLOGY 3.1 Architecture Fractalia Media runs on any network architecture (including private networks, Internet, fixed IPs, dynamic IPs, etc.) with any type of connection (ADSL, RDSI, 3G, VPN, etc.). Whenever the player has HTTP access to the management server, it will have all of Fractalia Manager’s functionalities at its disposal, even through intermediate elements (firewalls, proxies). Español Inglés Análisis estratégico Strategic analysis Producción del contenido Content production Media Server Media Server Análisis de datos Data analysis Administración de contenidos Content administration Broadcast Broadcast Infraestructura en PdV POS infrastructure Page | 9
  • 13. The Fractalia Media console uses smart-client technology, so it makes use of client- server development advantages but avoids associated problems regarding usability and quality of use, like a console that is run locally. The server side of Fractalia Media consists of the following logical machines: a database server and a web server. Said machines can be assembled over Windows SQL and IIS architectures respectively. The open architecture allows easy integration with other systems. 3.2 Server The Fractalia Media Server controls and manages players and screens over the Internet or the network defined. Access to the platform is over the Internet, whereupon the administrator can gain access by using a web browser and an Internet connection and, if necessary, security credentials. The server is a multicompany server, and can provide services independently to multiple instances or companies. The different functions of the servers (which can be located in independent physical machines or in a single machine depending on the desired capacity) are: - Fractalia Media server: o For managing multimedia content, designing screen formats, scheduling contents, etc. as well as for display statistics, etc. - Fractalia Manager server: o Infrastructure management, integrated with Fractalia Media, sharing the same database. It includes the following roles:  Infrastructure management  Presence server (for instantaneous commands)  Remote control server (for remote individual management) - Database server: o An SQL server with the data required for platform operation. 3.3 Agent The agent-server connection is carried out by means of “polling”, with a frequency that can be configured at the individual or group level from the platform (from minutes to several hours). The agent contains different functional modules to cover the necessary recovery services, instantaneous operations, software updates, etc. 3.3.1 Fractalia Media Player Fractalia Media’s player agent is in charge of correctly displaying the programs on the different screens and carrying out actions ordered from the server. Its main functions include the following: - Verifying the schedule assigned and performing changes - Displaying the media assigned Page | 10
  • 14. - Managing media errors, preventing any improper display 3.3.2 Fractalia Manager agent Fractalia Manager is responsible for the main communication with the server, downloading the necessary content (both for multimedia playback and system updates), verifying the integrity of the system, etc. Its main modules are: 3.3.2.1 Instant Recovery System A capability for protecting and recovering the information and system, which is a key tactical point in every organisation. Instant Recovery System completely recovers the entire partition of a hard drive and discards all types of changes made by the user (software installation, configuration changes, virus-caused damage, deleted files or directories, changes in the Windows registry, etc.). 3.3.2.2 P2P software and content distribution The software distribution module will allow remotely updating and installing the software of a player or a certain group without the need to use additional resources of a piece of equipment of the network and is based on the Peer-to-Peer protocol within the local network, no security configuration in WAN networks being required. Each player can share all downloads performed inside the security of the LAN, either while downloading a portion of the package or after a full download. This allows saving bandwidth at the remote sites when distributed over several terminals. Page | 11
  • 15. 4 SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS Each instance of the Fractalia Manager software installed is capable of working with small networks of less than 100 PCs to large networks of tens of thousands of PCs. The hardware and software requirements needed to implement the solution are shown in the following sections. 4.1 Server side 4.1.1 Hardware requirements Minimum < 100 players* From 100 to More than 5,000 players 5,000 players Web application (x1) (x1) (x2) server Processor Pentium Pentium Xeon Pentium Xeon Core2Duo RAM 1 GB 2-4 GB RAM 4 GB RAM Hard drive 80 GB 40 GB 40 GB Database servers (locate in the (x1) (x1) same server) Processor Pentium Xeon Pentium Xeon RAM 4 GB RAM 4 GB RAM Hard drive 40 GB 40 GB SAN storage No 120 GB 250 GB (recommended) * This setup is the machine that makes the system run with a reduced number of PCs. Here, the web application server and the database server can be the same physical machine. ** Web servers are array assembled, whereas database servers are cluster assembled in order to balance requests. If you require “Presence” (remoting), it is advisable to set up independent servers (same characteristics as web servers) if the number of players is above 5,000; otherwise, it can be located in the same web server. All servers can be virtualised. 4.1.2 Software requirements Web server(s) will need the following basic software: Windows 2003 Server Standard Edition or above. Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 installed. Page | 12
  • 16. Internet Information Server 6.0 installed. Database server(s) will need the following basic software: Windows 2003 Server Standard Edition or above. Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 installed. Microsoft SQL Server 2005. The use of SAN-shared storage is recommended for multiserver installations. 4.2 Client side 4.2.1 Hardware requirements The minimum hardware settings for a piece of equipment to be capable of running Fractalia Manager are the following: Processor: Intel Atom or the like for simple media; Intel Core2Duo for high resolution videos. RAM: 512MB; recommended: 1 GB Graphics card. Hard drive: 2GB of free space; greater capacity is recommended for storing the media to be broadcast. Network card (Ethernet or WI-FI) RS232 serial port for screen management 4.2.2 Software requirements Operating system: Windows XP (SP2, SP3), Vista. Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 installed in XP operating systems NTFS partition for the use of IRS 4.3 Network connectivity The network connection between the server side and the clients is supported on any type of network that supports the HTTP (or HTTPS) protocol over TCP/IP. Generally, the connectivity between server and clients can be established over: Internet, extranet, LAN, Virtual Private Networks, and any type of access (ADSL, 3G, etc.). Page | 13

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