New Tightrope Device Management Set-Up Makes Apple TVs Commercial Digital Signage Players

June 7, 2017 by Dave Haynes

St. Paul, MN-based Tightrope Media Systems has integrated its digital signage content management software with an Apple-centric device management platform that ends up turning little $149 Apple TV set-top boxes into commercial digital signage players.

The integration with JAMF, says Tightrope, provides immediate interoperability between Carousel 7.0 and Apple TV. “As new Apple TVs registered with the JAMF management service are added to the Carousel digital signage network, the devices automatically download a Carousel player application to deliver localized content.”

The set-up is being marketed as a tool to provide customers in education, corporate, hospitality, healthcare and other AV verticals with an easier way to drive presentations, announcements, emergency notifications and other content to all displays throughout facilities. It will be demo’d next week at InfoComm in Orlando.

Says a press release:

“Centralized control of Apple TV devices via an enterprise-wide account eliminates a host of local configuration needs across device programming, user IDs and remote controls,” says Eric Henry, president, Tightrope Media Systems. “This is an immediate time-saver on a campus with multiple classrooms, lobbies, meeting spaces and waiting rooms. Removing those headaches makes scaling digital signage networks to each room a far more attractive option, allowing the business or organization to reach a much wider audience.” 

The configuration ensures that Carousel Digital Signage content can easily be disabled at each location, allowing a teacher or speaker to share a lesson or presentation via AirPlay, for example. However, the integration enables an immediate override of local content for emergency notifications and other critical content – an important feature for public safety and security needs.

Henry sees the most immediate impact of the Carousel and Apple TV integration happening in the K-12 and higher education market, noting that JAMF contracts its managed device services with approximately 4,700 schools in the United States alone today. However, the integration will similarly provide benefits on corporate campuses and other businesses and organizations that use digital signage and Apple TV devices in multiple rooms and spaces.

“The overall strategy of this integration is to make scaling digital signage networks more affordable, and simplify the overall deployment, management and workflow for customers with Apple accounts,” said Henry. “The simplicity of the user experience in marrying digital signage with the Apple ecosystem is a groundbreaking development.”

Very interesting. Using set-top boxes for digital signage is not new, with lots of networks running off Android devices built for consumer TVs. BrightSign, which sells players by the truckload, was a spin-off of the set-top box maker Roku.

But this is, I think, the first substantial effort to turn Apple TVs into commercial, scalable digital signage players. NYC’s Show and Tell got Apple TVs to work like players, but by the company’s own admission it was something they figured out, and was free, as opposed to a major commercial initiative.

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