Pet health media owner The VetChannel is benefiting from instantaneous customer service and significantly greater operational efficiency across its digital signage network for waiting room TVs. This has been achieved through the integration of Camvine’s cloud-based digital signage platform, CODA, with its own media web portal using the CODA API.
After researching digital signage providers a year ago, The VetChannel chose CODA as its preferred platform to help them transfer from a manual DVD set-up to an automated, customer controlled network. In 2011, the media owner has focussed on developing its service further using the CODA API. Customers can now instantly control content on screens across an extensive geographical network directly from The VetChannel’s web portal. Very shortly The VetChannel will have over 100 displays across its waiting room digital signage communication network
Waiting room areas in dentist, doctor and veterinary surgeries are ideal environments to harness digital signage. This powerful medium presents an opportunity for such businesses to tackle healthcare issues and awareness campaigns in a captivating and enlightening manner. It can also be used to increase profits by promoting services and products to waiting clients.
The VetChannel, owned by Numed Healthcare, has been delivering personalised, non-advertising media content to individual practice and veterinary groups since 2005 and are experts in the field of practice waiting room communication systems. By paying an annual subscription, practices are provided access to The VetChannel media website, which allows each one the freedom to choose and manage the content they require displayed on the LCD screen in their waiting room. Media includes topics such as vaccinations, worming treatment, micro-chipping, leaving pets at home, pet food, animal welfare, puppy parties and poisonous plants.
Stage one – moving to CODA Cloud-based digital signage
The VetChannel had previously created playlists for practice clients on DVDs, which was extremely labour intensive and there was a large time lapse between content creation and play out on screens.
The VetChannel wanted a solution capable of managing multiple types of content remotely over several hundred sites. At the same time, it needed to be easy to use and develop, and needed to allow them to maintain use of their own content creation systems. In 2010, after an evaluation of a large number of software offerings on the market, Camvine’s digital signage platform, CODA, was selected as the system of choice for digital signage.
Jason Holmes, IT Project Supervisor at Numed Healthcare, reported, “We liked CODA because of the range of content it displays; and because it is flexible, fast and easy to configure”.
A major benefit of the new network in stage one of deployment was improved automation. Customers were able to sign in to The VetChannel web portal to create, select and edit their own video playlists. Once they clicked submit an automated email was sent to the studio manager at The VetChannel who manually implemented the changes in CODA.
Jason Holmes continued, “A process that used to take two months from content selection to running on displays was reduced to only two days”.
A further feature of CODA that The VetChannel found useful was ‘Tagging’. The ability to have different user classifications means that Head Office users, for example, can tag certain content as ‘locked’ so that it plays as default when applying the service across multiple practices.
Stage two – integrating The VetChannel with CODA
Roll out of The VetChannel’s new digital signage network is currently in progress and the number of CODA driven displays deployed will soon exceed 100. In line with the expansion of the new platform, The VetChannel is undergoing a second phase of development: integrating the VetChannel web portal with CODA.
Simon Healy, one of the directors at Numed, noted, “The ability to control hundreds of screens at the same time all from within our own web portal software is a revelation”.
The VetChannel worked with a third party web development company, Evoluted New Media Limited, to build and create The VetChannel web portal and to integrate it with CODA using the CODA API.
A fundamental element of CODA is its open design in that it is extensible and adaptable to the ever changing content and interactivity of the Internet. The CODA API, now in version 2.0, is designed to be customised, letting customers use the CODA platform to drive displays and edit content in other ways than via the traditional CODA web site user interface. It has a regimented set of API calls, allowing customers to create, add, modify, tag and remove all basic system objects: displays, sources, playlists, users, groups, and sites. It has been created so that additional capabilities can be built on top of the CODA platform by Camvine, customers and third parties.
Evoluted worked with Camvine’s technical support team to integrate CODA. The result is complete removal of manual stage by The VetChannel to action the practice requests in CODA. Now customers take control of their content directly; they sequence playlists and drive their own screens automatically from The VetChannel web portal.
“If a surgery has sales reps booked in for a visit, for example, updated marketing and promotional content can be playing out in an instant, with no more delays. This is a unique and leading-edge service in waiting room communication systems,” said Jason Holmes.
Plans for the future –greater automation and expanding to new product areas
Looking ahead, The VetChannel will continue to use CODA to inform, educate and enlighten. The platform is designed to grow with customers into the future, which for The VetChannel involves even more automation and greater control for the customer in different areas. For example, adding content relating to practice opening hours, services, staff, holiday messages, emergency notices and other instructions.
“If you get the model right, CODA can work anywhere,” concluded Jason Holmes. “The product gives us a significant competitive advantage in the industry and, in the future, we will be looking at roll out across other Numed product areas.”
RSS and social media possibilities
Capitalising on RSS media services such as news, weather and traffic feeds is of interest and The VetChannel is in discussions with several larger customers about the use of Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Incorporation of social media would enable practice clients to display more personalised content, such as pet updates, photos and videos. It will make it easier to show regularly updating content and it is foreseeable that pet owners will interact directly with content while in the waiting area, from their homes or while out and about. This is made possible because CODA can easily connect to social media accounts, filter and condense the news feeds, reformat the way it is displayed and then display it on screens in the network.
To sum up
Cloud Based digital signage is revolutionary when implemented correctly and The VetChannel is a perfect case in point. The media owner is a true success story for moving to CODA and working with the CODA API. In summary, key API services realised here include easy integration with other business systems, custom web application development, automatically updating content, incorporation of other media platforms and rapid product development.
Camvine is a cloud-based digital signage company that makes it easy for clients to show live and compelling content on digital displays. The firm is actively seeking reseller partners around the world. Based in Cambridge, UK, and established in 2007, Camvine brings the values of web 2.0, such as openness, simplicity, accessibility, extensibility and affordability, to the digital signage world. Customers benefit from a ‘drag and drop’ style CODA web service, ‘plug and play’ hardware and an open API to link with other services. Playlists automatically refresh from RSS media feeds and services like SharePoint, SAP, Google Apps, Salesforce and Twitter. CODA runs on a range of devices, including media players, integrated displays, smartphones and iPads. Camvine’s channel partner programme enables OEMs, distributors and resellers to resell CODA around the world, either straight out of the box or as a rebranded product. Camvine also offers partners a customisation service to tailor digital signage solutions to different market applications. Visit www.camvine.com
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 755155
Email: codasales [at] camvine.com
Neesham Public Relations
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Email: bekyc [at] neesham.co.uk