For those who don’t recall my last column, Erich Brenn was “The Ed Sullivan Show” performer who impressed me as a young boy for his ability to keep numerous bowls and plates spinning. His feat required a high-degree of attention and some pretty quick feet. Absolutesignsolutions.com.au do stickers Sydney and labels printing, custom sticker, product Labels, cheap stickers, expensive gloss Stickers, and sticker design.
I envision administrators of digital signage networks without the proper tools to be in a similar space as Brenn -constantly running from one display monitor to the next to confirm playback, inspect presentation quality and identify potential problems on the horizon. Unfortunately, for the network administrators, the distance they must cover isn’t the length of a dining room table, but rather can be as great as across a mall, a campus or even around the world.
One tool at the disposal of digital signage network administrators is SNMP messaging. The idea behind SNMP is devices on the network -for instance a local digital signage player, whether it’s integral to the monitor or a standalone device connected to the display- are equipped with the ability to monitor their condition and alert a central server of problems or potential problems. Local condition monitoring of these devices is done via an agent that reports information via SNMP messaging.
So, for instance, one simple task of an SNMP agent in a digital signage network is reporting. In this example, an agent can be setup to report in to the central server at specific intervals, letting the system and the administrator know that the device is still connected to the network and on. However, if there’s a problem and the agent fails to report in at the expected time, the server immediately knows there is a status problem with the device that must be addressed. Communications in the form or an email or text message can be sent to the administrator so the issue can be corrected. SNMP can allow a variety of conditions to be monitored, reported and acted upon. Others might include temperature, moisture and even component-level warnings where available.
While SNMP messaging is a smart way to monitor, report problems and ultimately take corrective actions, it’s also stupid. Or, more accurately, SNMP doesn’t have the smarts to do anything more or less than the administrator asks.
Thus, if an administrator tells an SNMP agent to report in to the central server every minute with a status report, that’s exactly what it will do. If the action that’s tied to a failure to report is to send out an email to the administrator every time the device fails to report that administrator may one morning be greeted with literally hundreds of emails reporting the failure of that player on the network. While an annoyance, simple steps like extending the reporting interval can reduce those emails from hundreds to a handful.
SNMP is a valuable tool that digital signage network administrators can use to sidestep emulating Erich Brenn. Another is serial control, which I’ll explore in my next column.
David Little is a charter member of the Digital Screenmedia Association with 20 years of experience helping professionals use technology to effectively communicate. For further digital signage insight from Keywest Technology, visit our website for many helpful tips and examples. For more in-depth research from Keywest Technology, download our free digital signage white papers and case studies. Check this technology for digital signage.
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