Today I Learned


August 05, 2019

Slide Show + Contract Celebration Screen

Recently one of my managers asked if we could improve how our office announces and celebrates new contracts. The current process involves the receptionist announcing the person’s name and contract, then playing YouTube music through the office intercom system. Since intercom speakers are not designed for music this is jarring to say the least.

A Few Challenges

I also needed to incorporate the new contract celebration system into our existing LCD slide show system that displays current events and company information. This presented numerous challenges:

  • Custom audio and video is needed for each contract announcement
  • The custom content and audio for each announcement needs to be relayed to a remote screen
  • An existing slide show needs to be remotely interrupted while the announcements play then resume when the announcements are finished

My first thought was to code something but that would mean being on the hook for all future modifications. Plus devoting dev time to a non-revenue producing program. Nope. I needed something that facilities the process and keeps end users in control of content.

Our Design

The process we came up with was to combine a traditional power point deck with our existing slide show system. We would simply switch between the two progras. A product called AirTame was used to connect a workstation running our sideshow system and power point to a remote LCD. AirTame provides the ability to transmit both audio and video over the local network from a host PC to a remote LCD and play custom interstitial content when switching. For hardware its just 3 components:

  1. PC- running slide show and power point
  2. LCD- plays end user content
  3. AirTame- connects PC and LCD

Managing the system and changing content is as follows:

  1. When a contract needs to be announced disconnect the workstation from the remote LCD and manually stop the slide show. This causes AirTame to automatically show a custom filler graphic so we avoid a black screen
  2. Customize a power point slide for the sales person, queue up the appropriate YouTube song then reconnect AirTame to the remote LCD
  3. AirTame plays the customized slide and YouTube music on the remote LCD
  4. When the contact celebration is over disconnect AirTame, stop the power point and restart the slide show
  5. Once the regular slide show is running relaunch AirTame and the slide show plays on the remote LCD

AirTame or Bust

While this is a bit more manual then I would have liked the final result is 100% better then what we started with. This also provided an opportunity to work with AirTame which is one of the best cross platform screen mirroring applications I ever used. Check it out,

Ryan Kovalchick

Written by Ryan Kovalchick who lives and works in Allentown Pennsylvania creating, fixing and building.