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On-Demand Video + CMS + Interactive Input For Museum? 131

Posted by timothy
from the free-reign-in-spain dept.
remolacha writes "I've been given the task of tech chief for a biggish art museum (1,300 m^2, or about 13,000 sq ft) in Spain. The museum's designers want 20 'terminals' that will offer on-demand video and interactive content. The terminals' content will change with the exhibits; many will have touchscreens. More interesting forms of input are planned as well (floor sensors, big buttons). It's all on one floor, and the floors are raised, so I can run cabling and set up floor ethernet jacks. Max cable run is 60m / 190ft. The museum may expand to 4 times its projected size once open, by comandeering other floors in the building. To give an idea of where the designers heads are, they were talking about a massive DVD changer in a closet somewhere. I am thinking an intranet running a web server with a CMS and Flash media server, terminals running Firefox in kiosk mode. I'd love to do everything on Linux. Does anyone have experience with a setup like this, better ideas, or advice?"
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On-Demand Video + CMS + Interactive Input For Museum?

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  • Check these guys out (Score:5, Informative)

    by alain94040 (785132) * on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:55PM (#29987400) Homepage

    Check these guys out [kersonic.com]: They are specialized in pretty much exactly what you need.

    You definitely want to use sound technologies, streaming, etc. Don't underestimate your audience, your average user tends to be really clueless, which means your terminals have to be rock-solid.

    Congrats on landing what sounds like a cool project!

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Go for SILVERLIGHT!!!

      Use what works best for the project. Dont use Linux just for the sake of using it.

      You can do all the touch screen stuff and video streaming using silverlight.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:59PM (#29987472)

    maybe hire someone that can do the job?

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      maybe his resume included "slashdot" as a skill

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Agreed. I've been doing this kind of museum work for over 20 years and currently can't get hired because I'm too experienced (read they don't want to pay a living wage.) And I've seen way too many IT people with no exhibit background fuck things up completely with excessive levels of complexity. Bottom line, if you don't know what you're doing, get out of the way and let someone qualified do it.

      Yes, I'm bitter. With damned good reason.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BitZtream (692029)

        Maybe you should consider adjusting what you consider to be a 'living wage' cause I'm pretty sure something is more than nothing.

        You are bitter because you've been replaced by someone who better fits the needs of their employers. Your fault, not anyone else's.

        As someone who is the highest paid employee at the company I'm working at, which is a struggling company, the FIRST thing I did when I found out about the financial situation is said 'a pay cut is FAR better than a layoff, talk to me before you do it!

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Hey, I like guys like him. I got my first job out of University because the other guy wouldn't budge on the wage.

        • Most people don't seem to realize that they have the option, though. When the writing was on the wall at my last job, I went on a shortened work week almost immediately. From 40h/week to 36h/week. I made it clear to HR that I'd rather talk pay cut than layoff, and ended up taking a voluntary wage freeze in addition to reduced hours.

          The result? It was a given that they'd be shutting down our location... it was with a global company that employs almost 80,000 worldwide, and closing us down in order to relocat

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by thygate (1590197)
        They took our derp !!
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by z0mb13e (1492637)
        Aw didums...

        So at some point you mustn't have known how to do all this stuff right? Or were you born with the knowledge?

        I think the GP is on to a good thing and sounds like the kind of direction I would go if I were lucky enough to be working on the project.

        A web server serving up pages and vids with kiosk mode firefox on Linux sounds like the way to go. I have worked on similar and seen various options for resetting things (the Kiosks) if they get messed up or abused, from simple restart scripts t
  • by HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:03PM (#29987542)
    Ed Tannenbaum at et-arts.com He's been doing museum video for about 25 years.
  • Buy it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly (148874)

    Get a quote, and buy it. When it doesn't work, scream at the vendor. Leave the tinkertoys at home.

    • I agree. If you can, have Akamai [akamai.com] do it. You will save yourself a thousand man-years of headaches. They have people in Spain, BTW. Also, AFAIK Flash servers are 1) proprietary and have licensing costs, and 2) run only on Windows. Somebody would end up having to be the local FMS expert, and at least one other person would have to be competent for when the expert is not available.
      • by nahdude812 (88157) *

        2) run only on Windows

        This is not true, I run Flash Media Server on Linux at home for development purposes. It's supported out of the box that way, though the scripts are RedHat specific (though it took me all of 5 minutes to fix that).

        You don't really need FMS for this though; users are not likely to be jumping around in the video or needing variable bit rates changed up on the fly. A simple Apache install will do fine.

        Definitely recommend Flash for the front end, a museum isn't going to want user contro

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:13PM (#29987710)

    You may want to have a look at www.ookl.org.uk, a system for engaging people, often kids, in art and museum content. On OOKL, people use mobiles and computers to curate, share and present their own collections of material collected from the cultural venue (or world at large). I think OOKL's story-centric approach is very interesting.

    Having been involved in OOKL early on I know all the server tech is Linux based. Give them a call -- they are a friendly bunch!

  • Anonymous Coward (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    In a fixed environment like a museum put you media out on the machines and use the network for administration and control. All streaming solutions place to much stress of the network for very little reason.

    • This is a read only system for twenty clients Sounds like a routine networking task with standard file sharing.

      bulletproof, free and simple and centralized

      build the webpages and address the files from the network shares.

      people see HTML and automatically assume they have to get it and all the content from a webserver.

      that is just creating headaches and extra process. as is the parents suggestion. if your LAN poops on video, buy modern gear.

      buy a good network switch to isolate the terminal fe
  • You could just leverage all those iPhones, iTouches and the coming storm of Andriod phones... Build all your content on a mobile-phone delivery system. That kind of software-based solution is really much more scalable than you're talking about. I don't know if there are systems like that in Spain yet (maybe Layar?) but you can build that content on SCVNGRs platform right now: http://www.scvngr.com/museums/ [scvngr.com]
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's been tried.
      Visitors spent all there time staring at there phones, and ignored the museum artifacts.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        this raises an interesting consideration. you'd want to be sure that your implementation will draw people to the art, not your exhibit display. i know that stage is still down the road, once you've decided on a framework for delivering content, but keeping things low-key can carve a nice little niche whereas if your work draws too much attention curators could easily say, "this competes with the art, we want it out" and you'd possibly end up "out" with it.

  • LinuxMCE (Score:4, Interesting)

    by happyslayer (750738) <david@isisltd.com> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:15PM (#29987744)

    I've been looking at LinuxMCE [linuxmce.org] for my own home system. It looks like a really good fit for what you want: Media, touchscreen controls, multiple outputs. Plus, it's a thin-client system, so once you decide on a terminal setup, you can repeat ad nauseum.

    I would also point out that this may be a good setup for the expansion you're alluding to. For example, you could set up different accounts for either different works or different artists. Log all the terminals in one room to the account under that artist, and you could have the media for all the different pieces queued up on the menu.

    Hmmm..if you ever had a Salvador Dali [wikipedia.org] exhibit, you could have some Dark Side of the Moon playing on the sound system...

  • Sounds cool (Score:3, Informative)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:23PM (#29987842)
    Except for the DVD-player part -- it seems like it would be more reliable and easier to update if you just streamed video off of a hard drive. Some airlines are using Linux-based LCD terminals [linux.com] in every seat back for in-flight entertainment so it is definitely doable. What you want to do sounds pretty similar, just with slightly larger displays.
    • by Acapulco (1289274)
      A bit offtopic, I know, but, it's curious that you mention it, because on a recent trip to Japan, on my way back by AirCanada the movie system crashed at some point in the flight and it showed some MySQL errors. It was really a surprise for me to see this, since I would have thought they used a propietary system or something. Apparently they don't.
  • by telchine (719345) * on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:23PM (#29987844)

    I did a project like this about 10 years ago for a museum in London. We used pretty much exactly the same technology as you except we used Windows and it was IE in kiosk mode and not Firefox, and it was Macromedia Generator, not Flash Media Server.

    Don't worry too much about what technical things the designers are saying, they don't understand the technology like you do and they can only present ideas from the few technical things they understand. As long as the end user sees what the designers want them to see, then they'll be happy. Use the best technology you know how to use.

    I would disagree with the poster above regarding using sound technologies. You have to remember that museums can be pretty noisy places, especially during high profile exhibitions and on weekends (if you've been there during working hours on a workday, don't think that's as busy as it gets!). The background noise can prevent a user from properly hearing the audio, and having audio too loud can disturb and irritate other visitors.

    Sure, add audio if you think it'll enhance the product but don't make the mistake of having an interface that needs audio to function. Get some of your testers to use the kiosk for the first time without the sound on. if they can't use it then you need to fix that.

    Also remember museums are visited by tourists from other countries, you'll probably have to have translations from some of the major languages if your kiosk relies on language to be used (if you use spoken languages, you'll have to have subtitles as well because of sound difficulties)

    You might be able to reduce costs if the museum agrees to a sponsorship deal. Manufacturers may be willing to provide the touch screens and/or other hardware if they get a "powered by" logo on the kiosk.

    • by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2 @ a n t h o n y m clin.com> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:26PM (#29987884) Homepage

      I would disagree with the poster above regarding using sound technologies. You have to remember that museums can be pretty noisy places, especially during high profile exhibitions and on weekends

      I believe the previous poster meant sound as in "well-established, robust" technologies, not sound as in "audio".

      • by telchine (719345) *

        I believe the previous poster meant sound as in "well-established, robust" technologies, not sound as in "audio".

        Maybe he meant both? The product the poster was advertising/recommending is definitely an audio product...

        "The Kersonic KS-1 Listening NetStation provides a revolutionary way to access online audio resources."

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Regardless of the previous poster's intent, I've seen museums with speakers in plastic domes (above your head) that do an excellent job of localizing sound to one exhibit. The Fort Pitt museum in Pittsburgh has them. Solves most of the noise / annoyance problems you mentioned.

  • This was a fairly early implementation of a virtual museum with a fun/scary game when the T-Rex comes calling ala Night In The Museum. Use this as a minimum standard since my kids played with this about 10 years ago. Might also look around/prototype your museum and interactions in Second Life.
  • In my opinion thin clients with kiosk mode browsers, video served as h264 Flash over cheap gigabit ethernet is really the most economic, thus flexible, way to go. Your future interfaces (floor sensors, etc.) can be made to interact with Flash by just mapping them to simple KeyEvents over a simple PS/2-USB adapter, just like you get from a keyboard.
    I would dump the DVD changer though and just import all content onto a big NAS array.
  • by Peganthyrus (713645) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:32PM (#29987954) Homepage

    Why not just have consumer DVD players adapted for touchscreens, and stick them in kiosks? My day job involves working on a kiosk put out by a division of the Boston Museum of Science, and it's completely self-contained; so is most everything on the floor.

    Burn a new DVD for the new exhibit, dump it in the kiosks near it, you're done, no finicky wiring to set up. KISS.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly. I saw the original post and all I could think was "What are you actually expecting to get by running these through ethernet and setting up a central web server?"

      Look, people are mostly being nice here, but if this guy is starting with the technology and doesn't think the goals are important enough to the project to share with this question, he's already doomed to failure.

      It's outright unprofessional to turn a project like this into your personal toy. Build something that is sturdy and that museum e

    • by nmos (25822)

      Sounds pretty interactive to me.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Why not just have consumer DVD players adapted for touchscreens, and stick them in kiosks?

      This sounds like a job for a PC anyway. Have a DVD player adapted for a touch screen? It seems like it would be easier to adapt DVD player software. And it makes fine sense to deliver it via web once you go to a PC... and we're back where we started!

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      I'd use flash rather than a dvd, but I agree otherwise KISS. Flash simply because you have more options as to what you can do with interactivity. Sure, there have been some pretty complex DVD 'games', but theres a limit and you waste a lot of space and time duplicating effort reencoding the same thing.

      A dual layer DVD is probably enough for a very long highly interactive full video presentation.

  • What else can I say? Use a LAMP server? Debian, or Ubuntu, or CentOS is popular in this space. In fact you really don't need to operate your own server even. There's nothing magic about your spec., and people host stuff with waaaay more than 20 terminals' in mind. Plus Drupal gives you a decent content creation/editing workflow.

    Also you might find its multilingual capabilities, both for the staff as well as the visitors, to be very good.

    Can I contact you for this development gig? Using Drupal on LAMP, your

  • A digital signage network would be a better idea, especially in the long run. Check out Popstar Networks. [ www.popstarnetworks.com ]
  • random suggestions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fred fleenblat (463628) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:47PM (#29988136) Homepage

    Find out who is going to be creating the content that will be shown, talk to them about their needs as if you care, but really pay attention when they talk about what software they use to do the authoring. then research that and find out what formats it supports. Maybe it's all flash like you said, but if someone is expecting quicktime or silverlight, you'd better find that out now instead of six months from now after you've ordered 100 linux boxes.

    The cd/dvd jukebox idea is terrible. Loading a DVD will take more time than anyone is willing to sit around and wait, furthermore what if five people at five different kiosks want to look at content located on 5 different DVDs? That level of DVD changer is way more expensive than management realizes. A big rack of sata disks under control of a NAS server is probably your best bet. Also, I would worry less about RAID and more about being able to quickly cold swap a failed NAS server.

    A "would be nice" is a way for people to walk around and interact with the exhibits without having to repeatedly press the "English" or "Spanish" or "French" buttons on each and every touchscreen. I hate that. They should be able to just grab an rfid token out of a bucket and walk around...and the whole place seems to be in their native language. Hey, maybe have a mic and the kiosk listens for common words in each language and acts accordingly.

    Museums swap exhibits in and out fairly often. Have some low-effort way for the curators to swap the kiosk content to match. Maybe the content is tied to an inventory number and the curators can just enter a (semi) admin password, then the inventory number and set the default content right there. the general idea is that the last thing you want is to have to spend the rest of your life assigning content to kiosks.

    I'd look into something wireless for the floor sensors/big buttons, like hacking into a bluetooth mouse. Then the curators can move things around a bit, change batteries, even redo the pairing if they want to move buttons between exhibits.

    If you're thinking 100 or more kiosks in the long run, I'd look into PXE booting or similar just to avoid any OS install/upgrade/patch labor being multiplied by 100.

    Firewall! Last thing you want is some 2 y/o kid to type some random museum words like "nude" or "maplethorp" into a browser and get 20M pages of confusing things on google images while their prudish american parents have a little conservative republican freak out.

    Best of luck with this. In spite of the tone of my comments I'm quite jealous. This sounds like one of the most fun projects anyone could ever get!

    • Some good points there. I'd also find out what kind of software the exhibit designers are likely to adopt into the exhibit. Some 'cool' software used in technology museums (face recognition, games, etc) is unstable, requires dedicated servers, specific environments and is a general nightmare.

      I'd go with something more than a bluetooth mouse for the buttons. Hacking in an industrial use environment often results in continuous support calls.

      Microcontrollers are a great way to go for any less complex exhibit

    • "Firewall! Last thing you want is some 2 y/o kid to type some random museum words like "nude" or "maplethorp" into a browser and get 20M pages of confusing things"

      Thats funny, i was just discussing this today. Firefox has a really nice plugin designed by the boston museum which does a really nice kiosk and you can whitelist domains.

      https://www.mozdevgroup.com/clients/bm/ [mozdevgroup.com]

      Seems as though its the brooklyn museum. Doesn't matter... It works well.

  • by brian.stinar (1104135) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:59PM (#29988284) Homepage

    Hello,

    I highly recommend "Ideum." (http://www.ideum.com/) They are based near Albuquerque, New Mexico and specialize in EXACTLY that sort of thing. I interviewed with this company during a job search I went through a few months ago, but after receiving an offer I decided to work with another small company that provided a better offer instead. Ideum has some cool table top, and desk top museum exhibits in place for major museums already. The founder, Jim Spadaccini, is an extremely friendly and nice guy.

    They have a general software framework in place built using ActionScript and C++ to make building custom, interactive, touch-screen programs very fast. Their process was quite impressive, and seemed well designed to segregate the work between the hard core coder and the hard core artist in order to quickly make an impressive exhibit. One of the coolest products they were developing was called "GestureWorks." It is designed to make programming multi-touch displays very easy in ActionScript. As a programmer, I can add an eventListener to an object for "throw away" or for "click and hold."

    If you give them a call, tell Jim that Brian Stinar referred you! If he gets busy enough, maybe I'll get a consulting or contracting gig on the side out of it.

    I hope this help,

          -Brian J. Stinar-

  • by BlueBoxSW.com (745855) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @08:00PM (#29988308) Homepage

    Don't hire an IT company. This is not primarily an IT job.

    You want someone who can design interfaces, design interesting exhibits and instructional interactivities, and who can work with technical people to make it happen.

  • Another idea might be to look at VLC for your streaming server with either IP set top boxes with a web based interface (LAMP). I know that Amino can provide IPTV set top boxes that will work work H.264 and should be able HD picture quality without having to setup a bunch of thin stations. This would allow you to use HD TVs, but it might cost you some interactivity by not having a button to push. The advantage would be that the hardware to run this would not cost as much.
    Currently, I use VLC to stream a ch
  • Why would you use DVDs? just rip everything to a hard drive so that if there's ever a need for multiple clients to access it, your system doesn't freak out. What if you wanted to also display the content on the external web?

    Other than that I'm not sure what's so hard about your project. Where I use to work had a museum, [broadinstitute.org] and they set something up something similar using multiple large flat-panels displays linked to one another with several remote controls [broadinstitute.org] for user interaction. If you contact them I'm s

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You need to talk to the folks at the Natural History Museum in the UK as they have just done what you are trying to achieve for their new Darwin Center. No need to reinvent the wheel, learn from those that have been there and done that. Pay them a visit and see what works and what does not.

  • I am all for web based, but you need to use Mozilla Prism, not Firefox. http://prism.mozilla.com/ [mozilla.com]
    Firefox is too easy for some clever punk to trick into closing down or to install plugins into though it probably does have a Kiosk mode switch but I am too lazy to Google that.
  • HP Thin Clients (Score:4, Informative)

    by Foofoobar (318279) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @08:26PM (#29988612)
    HP has thin clients built specifically for this purpose. They run Debian 4.1.1 with KDE 3 and can be integrated with touch screen.
    • thin clients are OK but ultra-thin clients are likely better - see for example:

      You get low-cost screens, the ability to add a user-tagged card that carries session info with them, and a few other advantages.

      Not sure about the touch-screen aspect, as I've never looked into that.

      have fun!

  • DNA Lounge (Score:2, Informative)

    by kylebarbour (1239920)

    The DNA Lounge in San Francisco, run by Mozilla and XEmacs' one-time developer and hacker Jamie Zawinski, has done some similar things. You can check out their code and documentation here:

    http://www.dnalounge.com/backstage/src/ [dnalounge.com]
    http://www.dnalounge.com/backstage/src/kiosk/ [dnalounge.com]

    In short, he's created secure Linux internet kiosks, streaming broadcasts, cameras, and scripts to automate much of it - in short, what you're trying to do but in nightclub form.

  • Unfortunately, you say touch-screen kiosk, and I realize that I manufacture something meant to be better than them (super attractive, reliable, durable, small, light-weight, insanely powerful, run for ages without any maintenance). But you're not here for a sales pitch, so I'll just declare the conflict of interest up-front.

    FireFox in kiosk mode is fine, but like any browser in kiosk mode, you're a fewer layers deeper than you need to be, so the reliability kind of goes to hell. It's just software running

  • by PingXao (153057) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @09:03PM (#29989064)

    I can't count the number of museums I've visited where the whizbang kiosks/interactive displays/demonstrations were out of order. From the lowliest county historical society exhibition to the Smithsonian in DC. Whatever you do, keep an up-to-date set of troubleshooting and repair procedures as you go along. Something easy to follow so that even a simpleton volunteer will be able to get the thing back up and running.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I would give this comment +1 if I could
    • I work at a large Zoo with many interactive kiosks. So I can tell you one thing, 8 year old boys are your enemy. If your hardware can survive them, you'll be in good shape.
    • by oiladdict (452441)

      I have created a few installations like you're talking about and I have to agree that this is the most important point. You have to design everything with the idea that a bunch of 6 year olds are going to be banging on it for several hours straight everyday. And likely, noone from the museum staff will come by to check it out but maybe once a week. If you're looking at using buttons, I suggest going to a company that makes elevator button panels. Those things are indestructible.

      Also, you have to remember to

  • by MacFury (659201) <me@johOOOnkramlich.com minus threevowels> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @09:06PM (#29989092) Homepage
    I used to make kiosks for museums and other public areas. Do not underestimate how much abuse these things get from the public. I would highly recommend researching kiosk enclosures and ensuring that the hardware, touch screen and pc, will fit in whatever enclosure suits your needs best. Our kiosks were constantly moved around. Access to ethernet wasn't always an option so we often went wireless. Many times we would develop software so that it stored all content locally on the kiosk. We would create an admin program that would push any content changes to the devices. The devices were then able to run even if the network/internet went down. It also gives you a speed boost since you aren't streaming 20 video feeds across ethernet/wireless. Try finding a local interactive media company that has kiosk experience. It will save you headaches in the long run, even if you only pay them to meet with you once or twice to hash out your ideas and ask for recommendations.
    • by rfreedman (987798)

      I'll second this.

      I worked in the exhibit department of a science museum for several years, and it's simply amazing how much abuse everything gets.

      We did most of our exhibit building in-house, because contractors, even exhibit design firms, just couldn't be convinced of how bullet-proof museum exhibits need to be.

      Besides making sure that you have robust infrastructure, make sure that your kiosks are designed for a war zone. And make sure that you have lots of spare parts.

    • The Newport Aquarium (across the river from Cincinnati) has an interesting interactive display in the jellyfish exhibit. A 15' video of floating jellyfish is projected on the wall (just a plain white wall). You can bump the jellies with shadow gestures to make them change direction. It's intended to be completely non-contact, but little kids still end up pounding on the wall.

      A nice mix of wow factor and secure hardware (except for the poor wall).

      For the life of me, I can't remember what the system
  • I remember the best times were had with things we could *do*, not just look at static pictures with a voice-over. At the Powerhouse museum in Sydney they had a senses exhibit where you stuck your hand in a box and try to work out what was in it. At another museum we put together a full size 2d dinosaur puzzle that was 2M high.

    How about doing something with the OLPC / Sugar? They could hand them out at the entrance and collect them on the way out, why have static stations? You could use them to find stuff at

  • Email me jgonzalez@renasi.net. Before you try to get terminals and so forth, think of what they really need? Is it mainly high quality video, will they want to display a sort of interactive art that is crystal clear or is this a kiosk with a vga display. Before your start coming up with a solution see what the end experience is supposed to be. Streaming or just copying content is not always the best solution. What is the budget for the project, and what are your deadlines? I think it is great to talk abou
  • As cool as this project sounds, and as much as many folks will argue with you, please please do NOT install some Linux variant and hack together a working system, as you'll only end up costing the museum more money after your contract has expired and they decide down the road to make some changes. Linux may be free, but linux administrators sure enjoy charging a premium. Go with the easiest to configure and most dummy proof model you can, and then simplify it.
  • let people use their smart phone as the terminal! then they can keep their language prefs etc. configured - it could even give a guided tour as they walk around. for a start i'd look at a Drupal site on the intranet with a local Kaltura install for the video delivery - both free and opensource so anyone can pickup the maintenance when you move on.
  • Some advice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Noctris (591045)
    I work in the area of digital signage and narrowcasting (wow.. 2 buzzwords ) and we do the odd kiosk project, simply because our main knowledge center is content and how to deliver it..

    From my experience there are a couple of things you need to do:

    Go central. If it needs to be managed later on, you don't want ton run around swapping DVD's just to find out someone made a typo and do it all over again ( not talking about the enviromental choice of needing to burn disks on every content change)

    Plan for
  • Almost in my backyard, Twentse Welle [twentsewelle.nl] (site is in English) is a pretty cool interactive museum. Their site is in English as well, and you may want to get into touch with them.
  • While I dont work for Scala themselves, I do work for a reseller company. Check them out http://www.scala.com/ [scala.com] They are far and wide the easiest solution out there, Editing is done from an interface called the designer, where branches can be created, events can be acted upon. You upload this data to a content manager which pushes all the data out to your digital signs. You can update all of the signs remotely given that they have network access to the content manager.
  • Hi, Silex is a CMS that works nicely with touchscreens. It does multilingual pretty well, which I think you're going to need. It's Flash based, so it will work with Flash Media Server smoothly. It's open source so it should go with your Linux ethos. Now you just need some hardware that can take the abuse. take a look! http://silex-ria.org/ [silex-ria.org] drop me a line if you want to talk about it (disclaimer, I'm a contributor) Ariel
  • "I'd love to do this in Linux"

    STOP: You're failing already.

    Don't project your wishes onto the solution space. F'er example, WTF is wrong with their DVD soln?

    You _don't_ know!

    Because you've not captured the GOALS and mapped them into REQUIREMENTS, framed by CONSTRAINTS. Then, and only then, start thinking of possible SOLUTION ARCHITECTURES.

    And first, make sure you don't have a wicked problem. (See http://www.poppendieck.com/wicked.htm [poppendieck.com])

  • I'd go around about the way you planned. Flash is actually very good for this sort of thing. I'd also look into Air, maybe that's viable for this. I'd be carefull with linux clients though, Flash and the Linux rendering stack don't allways play well together.

    Use Linux for the server and look into FOSS streaming servers like Red5. osflash [osflash.org] should be your next stop.

    See if you can go with OSx on MacMinis for the kiosk systems, they'd be my safest bet and you can do neat stuff with the IR remote and some extra s

  • congratulations on both the chance and vision. i think this is a great opportunity to tap into opensource community as well as using this as an advertising. geek opensource museum !
    i would almost visit spain for such a thing alone ;)
    personally, i would stay away from proprietary tech like flash. you wouldn't want to get into trouble because of some choices adobe makes in the next version or simply because you stumble upon a bug in the current one.
    i actually have photos of a museum system that was based on w

  • this is called interactive digital signage. there are many companies out there. Cisco and Scala are the obvious large players, but quite expensive. if you want to develop a solution, i'd recommend looking at flash with a very critical eye. Air and FlashPlayer have significant memory handling issues when running running 24/7 which is not their intended context and CPU requirement when running fullscreen . (i have hundreds of stbs deployed to customer locations and flash is 90% of my problems). as a quick
  • by benoki (1328691)

    Believe it or not, the function is the most interesting part of design something new.

    I've designed both AV systems and content management systems but to this point have found no pliable way to fit the "dream system" into my work.. None of the above recommendations are going to be a solution on their own, you need to design a 'system' made up of complimentary components to create something that is greater than the sum of it's parts. Be it turn-key or bespoke. the 'use flash/silverlight' question and others l

  • BitImpress Ltd is an european company which specializes the linux multimedia area including art installations for museums, animated sculptures etc.

    check out our homepage
    http://www.bitimpress.com/ [bitimpress.com]

    We can provide any kind of multimedia solution based on Linux (or alternatively OS X or Windows too, but we recommend Linux).
    The software can be open source or closed source. We can adapt existing software solutions too if it makes sense.
    The project needs to be analized on an individual basis. We provide t

  • Hi, I work for this guys http://www.idv.com.mx/ [idv.com.mx]www.idv.com.mx they have a streaming solutions and I know they can create the solution for you.. you migth even get the full control of the software...

    And they are no were near the price of usa or europe soluions... XD

  • Avoid floor mounted data outlets - or face unreliable performance, high maintenance costs and likely replace/refit costs. Tombstones (high quality) are slightly better and casework mounted are still better. Wall mounted outlets are best, by far. "You can lead a person to logic - but you can't make them think"
  • I own a Linux system that does everything you have described and more such as lighting, relays, etc.,. It's very simple and easy to install. The video projectors are installed in NEMA4X air conditioned enclosures so they can be located outdoors. Email me at Mikew@splashencounters.com
  • I can't comment on the hardware part, but what you say is certainly doable.

    If you go the CMS route, Drupal [drupal.org] is a very powerful, flexible and extensible CMS. It also has a couple of add ons that facilitate this. For example, there is the kiosk module [drupal.org], and the kiosk theme module [drupal.org] (I am the author of the latter). These are in use at some museums already (e.g. Science Museum of Minnesota and Arts Institute of Chicago).

    Using a CMS will allow you do do many things, such as interactive quizzes, polls and surveys, di

  • I am working on a social kiosk project which modifies on Firefox. We have used an early version of this system in some Mozilla events in Brazil where you can check a video of the used template here - http://www.vimeo.com/tag:tagvisor [vimeo.com]. This uses the Web model ( read XML, CSS, RSS feed, SVG, HTML etc... ) all in client side for the presentation parts. The main challenges we are facing ( as now we work to put this at one of the computer science department of University of Sao Paulo in Brazil ) now are related
  • Ideum is a fabulous company - I second Brian's recommendation of them. I also wanted to point you to ArtBabble - http://www.artbabble.org/ [artbabble.org] - managed by the Indianapolis Museum of Art with several large institutional partners like SFMOMA and the Van Gogh Museum. The IMA team has been developing open CMS systems for a variety of museum functions for years, and ArtBabble may provide you with a way both to organize and serve content (if you have good internet options in the museum) as well as to connect the Sp
  • Hey there, I figured I'd chime is as I work at a media production company that does work almost exclusively for museums and visitor's centers. We typically don't use Linux because as support goes, it has less hardware support than windows does for different types of touchscreens, hardware devices, etc. Not to say that it wouldn't work with all your stuff, but a thought. Also, it's much less familiar to museum staff and other folks who might be servicing these kiosks and troubleshooting. If the staff can'
  • I realize that you said you prefer a Linux box but in the event you decide\cave and use Windows, check out the SteadyState app from MS. My favorite feature is it's ability to keep what amounts to an image of itself on a separate partition that it restores from on reboot. That is in addition to all the features to lock down the interface, of course.
    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/sharedaccess/default.mspx [microsoft.com]

    - Zotdogg
  • at least not exclusively.

    Why? Because the web is a pull only method... and therefor it is up to the client when and how the data is displayed. This is great for interactive systems, but what if one exhibit requires that each of the screens in the room be synchronized to music playing on the overhead sound system. Good luck doing that with web technologies.

    I would recommend that you run HDMI and USB over Cat6 to each location. Then you have the flexibility of connecting any device you wish to the displays

  • Go X terminals (LTSP or omei ðe like) and SVG. Be happy! No need for clients, worryi about clients or ervers, or proprietary file formats or protocols.

  • Two people have already mentioned Scala and Brightsign on here, but the reality is that Digital Signage software is the key to mastering and easily managing a widely distributed network of touch-panels running interactive content that changes on a regular basis.

    This industry has been around for almost 20 years but people in the Museum and Entertainment industries are only recently starting to realize the potential this software represents to simplifying your everyday lives.

    Don't waste your time home-bre

  • Hi, We are Tripleplay Services a company specialized in this area, and we have a product suite that covers all the needs you mention. Our approach is to develop software based on Linux platform and HP hardware. From our view, one of the keypoints in these deployments is to guarantee an easy way to maintain the platform and make it grow easily. This is why our architecture is based in a central server that can be easily updated and that controls different clients (Touchscreen based on PC, Set Top boxes,etc.
  • I know one media art museum that has a video library, state of the art 10 years ago and still useful but I could make some recommendations. I am talking about the NTT ICC (Intercommunication Center) and I maybe remember it in a distorted fashion, and it was reduced in size too, but it is at the New National Opera at Opera City, Hatsudai, Tokyo. I haven't been there lately but check it out at http://www.ntticc.or.jp/index_e.html [ntticc.or.jp]

    1. The museum has a big, very expensive SGI machine (20 cpus? I forget) used for

    • by mattr (78516)

      P.S. If you go to the ICC page you can see their Metaverse / Hive project, an open video archive. I think some links are Japanese but they have recordings of seminars too. I too dislike the disc changer idea but I don't know how much money you all have. If possible do as some other posters say, bring much high bandwidth cabling around and also put in clients with much horsepower. I was thinking of quad Mac Pro with large screen at each location. The huge fast SAN someone mentioned also sounds scrumptious. I

      • by mattr (78516)

        P.P.S. Also I would recommend extending the wireless network to the seminar room. It would allow a computer assisted meeting (CAM) where audience could ask questions instead of just 1 or 2 people and 1 mic then time's up, people could pose questions to that day/time's seminar blog or to a CAM system and a moderator could pick good questions, or the speakers could also type answers, or follow up later. It would be very cool. CAM used to be too expensive for large numbers of people (I once propose one for 200

I cannot conceive that anybody will require multiplications at the rate of 40,000 or even 4,000 per hour ... -- F. H. Wales (1936)

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