Insight & Article

What is SignStix Commander, and how do I use it?

What is SignStix Commander, and how do I use it?

Background

SignStix Commander is a web application that provides a store manager with easy control over all the digital signage in their particular store. It is intended to be run on a tablet or other smart device, and allows the store manager to choose from a list of pre-defined ‘campaigns’ that can be played on the screens. On choosing a campaign, all the screens covered by that campaign start playing the corresponding content. This ability to change content easily and rapidly means that the store manager can react in real-time to the current circumstances in the store, tailoring the signage to the audience for maximum effect.

Section 1: Store Manager User Guide

SignStix Commander allows you to choose campaigns to play on the digital signage screens in your store.

Logging into SignStix Commander

Your SignStix administrator should have already set you up on the system and provided you with a username and password. You also need to ensure that your tablet or smart device is connected to the internet.

  1. On your tablet or smart device, open a web browser
  2. Visit the URL: https://cms.signstix.com/commander
  3. You should see a login screen similar to the following:

4. You may wish to bookmark this URL for subsequent use
5. Enter your username and password then tap 'Login'
6. On successful login, you will see a page similar to the following, but the campaigns listed will be different:



If the list of campaigns is empty (apart from 'REVERT'), please check the Troubleshooting advice.


Playing a Campaign

At any time you can make the signage screens play a campaign of your choice:

1. In the Commander application, tap the campaign that you would like to play
2. A confirmation message will pop-up with the name of the campaign that you selected ('Grocery Specials’ in this case):


3. If you wish to go ahead, tap 'Play'
4. Within a few seconds, all the signage screens in your store will start to play the chosen campaign (except for any screens which are not affected by that campaign). a. If any screens do not show the content you expect, please see the Troubleshooting advice

Reverting to the Campaign Schedule


By default, all the signage screens play content from the campaign schedule. When you choose a campaign in the Commander application, you are effectively overriding this schedule. However, you can revert to the campaign schedule at any time as follows:

1. Click 'REVERT', which appears at the top of the list of campaigns in Commander
2. The following pop-up will appear:


3. Click 'Revert'
4. Within a few seconds, all the signage screens will start playing content from the campaign schedule

Monitoring Signage Devices

Each signage screen is driven by a small signage device connected to it. You can monitor the status of those devices / screens from the 'Devices' tab in the Commander application:

1. After logging into Commander, tap the 'Devices' tab
2. This will list all the signage devices in your store (there is only one device in the example below):



The columns should be interpreted as follows:


Changing your Password

For security reasons, it is advisable to change your password regularly.

1. Tap ‘Settings’ at the top-right of the Commander screen:

 
2. The following dialogue will appear:

 

3. Enter your password details then click 'Set Password'


Logging Out

For security reasons, log out of Commander when you have finished using it. There is a a ‘Logout’ button at the top left:



Section 2: Administrator User Guide

SignStix administrators can use the SignStix Director web application to control user permissions (for both Director and Commander). It is assumed that you already have a login with administrator permissions.

Preparing a Role for Store Managers

To be able to log into the Commander application, a store manager will require the following:
a) A SignStix user login
b) A role with 'Commander' permission
c) A 'Commander Site' identifying the site/store in which this store manager can play campaigns 

To address point b) above, prepare a role with Commander permission, as follows:
1. Log into SignStix Director at https://cms.signstix.com  
2. In the main menu on the left, click 'User Management'
3. Click the 'Roles' button
4. Click 'Add New Role'
5. Enter 'Store Manager' as the name of the role
6. Tick the 'Commander' permission box
7. Click 'Add Role'

Setting up a Store Manager for using Commander

1. Log into SignStix Director at https://cms.signstix.com  
2. In the main menu on the left, click 'User Management'
3. Click the 'Add New User' button
4. Enter the store manager's details, choosing a username and password for them 
5. Choose a suitable 'Role' with 'Commander' permission e.g. the 'Store Manager' role
6. On choosing such a role, a new field called 'Commander Site' will appear
7. Set the 'Commander Site' to be the site / store for which this user is responsible. Any campaigns that the store manager selects will be played within this site only 
8. Click 'Add User'
9. Inform the store manager of their username and password and invite them to log into SignStix Commander. 


Section 3: Signage Manager User Guide

A signage manager uses SignStix Director to prepare campaigns that the store managers will subsequently play from the Commander application. It is assumed that you are already a SignStix user with full permissions and have some experience of generating signage within SignStix. It is also assumed that the Commander feature has been enabled for your SignStix account. Please confirm with your supplier that this is the case before proceeding.

Background

The following sections provide some background information that may help when preparing campaigns.

Estate Terminology

A 'signage estate' means your entire network of digital signage equipment across all your business locations. An estate is broken down into the following concepts:

• Sites: A signage estate is divided into 'sites'. Typically a site represents an actual location, region or store e.g. London
• Zones: Each site is further divided into 'zones'. Typically a zone represents a finer-grained location e.g. Reception, Canteen, Corridor Left 
• Devices: A signage device plays content onto an attached screen. Each device is allocated to a single zone. The diagram below illustrates some example sites, zones and devices and shows how they relate to each other:


Content Assignments

'Content' means signage (signs, sequences, schedules) and playlists (of video files). Content is assigned to the estate at the zone level. So all devices in the same zone play the content assigned to that zone. Content is assigned to the zones using a 'Campaign', as described below.

Campaigns

The diagram following illustrates the campaign concept. Content in the 'Signage' and 'Playlist' columns has been assigned to the corresponding zones.


For example, a device in the 'Canteen' zone above will play the Speedo signage with the Snorkelling playlist. By default there is a single campaign called 'My Campaign'. In some situations, that may be sufficient. However, using multiple campaigns offers considerable flexibility and can be used to:

• Schedule different content assignments to start at particular points in time e.g. switch to a pre-planned summer campaign across the entire estate on April 1st 
• Make alternative signage available for store managers to select via the Commander application

Managing Sites and Zones

Sites and zones can be set up by logging into SignStix Director and going to 'Deployment' then 'Site Management'. There are buttons for adding sites and zones. Right-click on a site or zone to access the delete command.

Preparing Content Assignments in a Campaign

This section describes how to build up a campaign by assigning content to zones.

1. Log into SignStix Director at https://cms.signstix.com  
2. In the main menu on the left, click on 'Deployment'
3. This will open the 'Campaigns' page beneath it
4. At the top of the Campaigns page, select the campaign of interest. a. Initially there is a single campaign called 'My Campaign'.
5. You will see a list of sites in the main section of the Campaigns page
6. Click on a site to reveal the zones that it contains
7. Click on a zone to open the content panel for that zone. a. Initially the 'Signage' and 'Default Playlist' columns will show 'No signage' and 'No default playlist' respectively. b. The following steps will populate those columns
8. At the bottom left of the page, you will see a list of signage resources (i.e. signs, sequences and schedules). Click on one of those signage resources to assign it to the zone
9. The 'Signage' column for your chosen zone should now show the resource you selected
10. If you wish to assign a video playlist as well, click the 'Playlists' button in the left-most panel, then click on the preferred playlist
11. Repeat this process for each zone until all the zones have signage assigned.

Creating New Campaigns

A new empty campaign can be added by pressing the 'Add' button on the Campaigns page. However, it is generally easier create a new campaign by duplicating an existing campaign and altering its assignments where required, rather than starting from scratch with an empty campaign. A duplicate campaign can be created as follows:

1. Log into SignStix Director at https://cms.signstix.com 
2. In the main menu on the left, click 'Deployment'
3. This will open the 'Campaigns' page beneath it
4. At the top of the Campaigns page, select the campaign that you wish to duplicate
5. Press the 'Duplicate' button
6. Enter a name for the new campaign in the resulting dialog 
7. Click 'OK'

Modify Campaign Settings

Campaign settings such as Name and Description can be edited as follows:
1. Log into SignStix Director at https://cms.signstix.com 
2. In the main menu on the left, click 'Deployment'
3. This will open the 'Campaigns' page beneath it
4. In the drop-down menu, select the campaign that you would like to edit 
5. Click the 'Edit Campaign Details' button on the right-hand side
6. To make this campaign available in the Commander application, ensure that the 'Commander Enabled' box is ticked

Deployment and the Campaign Schedule

Once you have prepared your content assignments, you need to 'deploy' that content to the signage devices so they can start playing it. To do this, press 'Deploy Content' near the top right of the SignStix Director screen. This will open a window similar to the one shown below.



As the window indicates, it is the campaign schedule which gets deployed to the devices. Consequently there are three important points to consider:

1. Single Campaign Case: If you are only using the single default campaign ('My Campaign'), that campaign will already be present in the campaign schedule. So just proceed by pressing the 'Deploy Content' button at the bottom-right.
2. Multiple Campaigns Case: If you have multiple campaigns, you need to decide when you want them to be triggered, and then set the campaign schedule accordingly. If you haven't done this already, press 'Edit Campaign Schedule' to jump to the Campaign Schedule page. However, if your extra campaigns exist purely so that they can be made available in the Commander application, you can go ahead by pressing the 'Deploy Content' button.
3. Missing Content Assignments: There may be some zones which do not have a content assignment in every campaign. Devices in such a zone will take their content from the most recent campaign in the schedule which does have a content assignment for that zone. If there is no such campaign then the devices will show the message 'No Campaign'. To avoid any doubt about what will be played, it is advisable to ensure that all campaigns include content assignments for all zones.

Editing the Campaign Schedule

By default, the initial campaign ('My Campaign') is already present in the schedule. Further campaigns can be added to the schedule as follows:

1. Log into SignStix Director at https://cms.signstix.com 
2. In the main menu on the left, click 'Deployment'
3. Click on the 'Campaign Schedule' item beneath it
4. Your campaigns will be listed in the bottom-left panel
5. Click on a campaign to add it to the schedule. A new row will appear with an editor for the date and time when you would like this campaign to start


6. Click 'Save' when you have set the date and time, or click 'cancel' to abort
7. Remember that you must now 'deploy' before your campaign schedule will take effect with the signage devices


Section 4: Troubleshooting

If you encounter any problems, please check the table below for the most likely causes and solutions.

                            

If you require further assistance, please contact support@signstix.com