What is Billboard?

Billboard is an easy to use, web-based management system used for controlling digital signage. Used throughout NC State University, it is the primary management system for web-enabled digital signs across campus. Billboard v1 was created by the programmers of OIT Outreach Services. Development of the software was then taken over by WolfTech in 2008, resulting in Billboard v2 and, in October 2009, this current v3 release.

How does Billboard work?

A digital sign powered by BillboardBillboard is slightly complicated to understand, but still easy to use. At the most basic level, Billboard takes a group of user selected slides and displays them on a webpage that, when used in conjunction with webXsaver (an Apple screensaver created by OIT Outreach Services) can turn any Apple computer into a digital sign.

The program works by allowing users to create groups of slides and then assigning these groups to the computers powering their digital signs. Once assigned, the computers will be pointed to the main Billboard site, where they will display the slides in the order that you've chosen. In addition to just slide content and order, unit and group owners will also be able to choose the length of time that the slide should display for, as well as dates and/or times that the slide should appear.

What are the average specifications for the digital signs in use?

Most of the digital signs at NC State are 50" plasma televisions connected to Mac Minis running a 1366x768 resolution. Television brands include Pioneer, LG, and Panasonic. Many computers run Macintosh OSX with Safari 3, since the older webXsaver screensaver uses Safari to display the slides. A Windows alternative to webXsaver is now available and recommended instead -- all Intel based Mac Minis can be reinstalled with Windows to support this newer screensaver.

What kind of slides can Billboard display?

Billboard can display almost any publicly available web-based content available, including images, Flash movies, Quicktime movies, and HTML documents (both flat and dynamically generated with a language such as PHP). In addition, we have partnered with the folks in the WolfAlert team to allow them to broadcast all NCSU Emergency notifications using all screens tied to the WolfTech Billboard system -- any such notification will appear on top of any slides currently displaying. Tests of this system occur each month; timed to coincide with the tests of the campus loudspeaker system.

How can I post content (slides) to Billboard for others to use?

We permit ALL NC State users to submit slides to the Billboard Community -- just head to https://billboard.ncsu.edu, click on Community and login. You can then upload your slides. When asked for the unit, keep in mind we're asking who created the slide, not where you'd like it displayed -- as a content creator, you won't have any control over which board owners feel your content is appropriate for their audiences.

How can I use the Billboard system to control my digital signage?

If you have screens that you'd like to manage with Billboard, please send an e-mail to billboard@ncsu.edu with the name of your on-campus unit as well as the Unity IDs of the users that will manage your unit's screens.

How do I talk to others using Billboard?

Everyone using the Billboard system is subscribed to digitalsignage@lists.ncsu.edu. We encourage you to join as well -- besides the IT folks running the system, we have many of the folks who control the content displayed on their boards, and even a few of those who create content slides for campus. All are welcome, including those simply interested in digital signage options at NC State.