Using Content Conditions to Power Your Visual Network

One of FWI’s most powerful and useful tools for managing a large signage network is also one of the least talked about. That is the idea of using content conditions to manage what content is displayed throughout your organization.

Conditions generally use metadata assigned to a player and can be leveraged to show or hide content for any number of use cases, such as:

  • Geographic locations like city, state or country
  • Department or building location
  • Content language
  • Product pricing or availability considerations
  • And much, much more…

Essentially, conditions can be used for any criteria assigned to a player. In this post, we’ll focus on the use case of geographic location, but each network is unique. Be creative about how this can be applied to your network because the concept applies to nearly every environment. Let’s look at an example network tree.

This network tree is for ACME Corporation. ACME operates in the United States and has divided their network tree up into many locations based on Region (e.g., Pacific), or State. In some cases, there may be more than one store per city, as is the case with Denver, CO, so they have grouped those stores together in a City location.  And each player is tagged with a store number, for easy visibility.

The content for all of these locations and players is managed from a single playlist, which is seen at the bottom of the image.

Without content conditions, every piece of content would be displayed on every screen throughout their network. But what if ACME wants to display certain content by Region? Or promotional content for a certain State, or even Store?

To achieve this flexibility, each of the locations and players is assigned Variables in the network tree. To assign a variable, right-click on a location or player and choose Variables.

The Variables window allows you to define variable names and corresponding values. Important note: these variable values are also inherited based on the network tree structure.  So in our ACME example, variables assigned at the Region level are passed down to the States, Cities and Store Players in that location.

Here is an example of the Variables window from the Store 3054 - Downtown Denver player in the ACME network:

In the Name column, you see variables are defined for the REGION, STATE, CITY and STORE_NUMBER. In the Value column, you see the corresponding values for these variables. The Source column tells you were in the network tree the variable value was set. So for instance, you see that the STATE value of CO was set on the Colorado location in the network tree.

PRO TIP: While you will define the values for your variables at the location or player level, it is often helpful to create your variable names inside the Database Settings menu (Tools > Database Settings > Variables). Even if the value is left blank, variables created in the Database Settings menu are available anywhere in the network tree, or even in the content bin. This also helps you avoid having to remember the name of a variable you created or fat-fingering the name when trying to enter it multiple places.

The variables created in the ACME tree are now available to use in Content Conditions. Below is an example playlist for ACME:

You can see that the Main region contains images and videos. However, some of that content is generic ACME ads, and the other content is specific to a specific geographic region or state. These content items are controlled by conditions. Right-clicking on a content item and choosing Conditions opens the Conditions window. The image below is of the Conditions window for the “Colorado Promo - January” content item:

In this example, the STATE variable is being utilized, the operator is set to “exactly matches” and a value of “CO” has been entered into the last field. Put together, this means that the content item will only appear on players with a STATE variable defined as “CO”.

And that’s it! This functionality allows you to control what content shows on what displays based on any possible values you choose to assign. You can give a content item multiple content conditions, or play with the various operators' options for even greater control.

In the example above, we are manually entering the value that we want to match.  In the next post, I will dive a little bit deeper and show you how to expand on this functionality with single value or multi-value pick lists, allowing you to choose one or more values from a pre-defined list in this conditions window. #DoYouFWI?

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